Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tikka Kebabs with Homemade Flatbread and Cucumber Raita

I'm not sure what drew me to this assortment of recipes, but I have been thinking about making these Tikka Kebabs with some homemade flatbreads or naan for some time now.  I originally wanted to make the Home-Style Tandoor Naan from Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent so that the entire meal would come from the same cookbook, but I didn't have the patience (or the time) to begin preparing the dough for the naan about 4 1/2 to 10 hours before I wanted to eat the naan.  So I went with a recipe for homemade flatbread that I cobbled together from a bunch of recipes I found online.  There are hundreds of recipes for homemade naan or flatbread online so I had a lot of resources to work with.  If you don't want to make homemade flatbread or naan, the kind you pick up at the grocery store will work just fine.  Alternatively, you can serve the tikka kebabs with basmati rice and a nice salad, instead of serving it with flatbread.

I was very happy with this meal.  The lamb was tasty and very tender.  The flavors were very simple, but delicious.  If I were to make the tikka kebabs again I would probably add some more cayenne pepper to the marinade to give the dish a little more kick.  The yogurt in the marinade, plus the yogurt in the raita cooled down all hint of spice and I wouldn't mind if just a little more heat had come through (although I didn't really miss the heat, Alex did bring up that criticism/comment so I thought I would pass it along).  I also might add a little more garlic or something to the marinade - perhaps a little ground cumin?  I don't know.  It smelled delicious while it cooked and it was really nice, but it could be improved.  Our homemade flatbread turned out better than our last experiment with Instant Flatbread.  I might play with the recipe in the future and try to use different toppings with the flatbread.  Or brush it with melted butter once it's done to make it taste more like naan.  I thought that the Cucumber Raita was a very nice accompaniment, particularly if you are planning on serving the tikka kebabs with flatbread.  If you are serving the kebabs with basmati rice I think that the raita would be unnecessary and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice would be more than sufficient.  We added some scallions for color and flavor to the kebabs, but again if you were serving them with basmati rice I'm not sure that they would be necessary.

Recipes after the jump!

Tikka Kebabs
Adapted from Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
By Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

1 1/2 to 2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup plain yogurt (full or reduced-fat)
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
lime or lemon wedges
3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
Homemade Flatbread (recipe below)
Cucumber Raita (recipe below)

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, coriander, oil, 1 tsp salt, caynne, and black pepper.  Pour over the lamb, then stir with the spoon or with your hands to get all of the meat surfaces coated with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or for as long as 12 hours (we went for the full 12 hours).  Remove lamb from marinade, draining off excess marinade.

Slide lamb onto flat metal skewers, leaving room between the lamb so that they can cook evenly.  Grill, or cook on a grill pan, over moderate heat, turning occasionally until browned on the outside and pale pink in the center. 

Just before serving, sprinkle about 1 tsp salt over lamb.  Serve with lemon wedges, scallions (if desired), Homemade Flatbread and Cucumber Raita.

Homemade Flatbreads

1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 large egg
olive oil for cooking

In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.
Stir in the flour, salt, oil, yogurt and egg and stir to combine.  Gently knead just until you have a soft, pliable dough.  Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
Divide the dough into 6-8 balls and on a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin circle or oval.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil (not evoo) and cook each flatbread in hot skillet until blistered and cooked, flipping once when the naan has big blisters and is golden on the bottom, about 1-2 minutes per side.  Repeat with remaining flatbreads, adding more oil as necessary. 

Makes about 8 flatbreads.

Cucumber Raita

Adapted from Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
By Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

1 cup plain (full or reduced fat) Greek yogurt or plain yogurt(if you use regular plain yogurt, drain it in a cheesecloth-lined strainer for 20 minutes to get rid of excess moisture)
1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
black pepper

Place cucumber in strainer over a bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.  Toss and set aside to drain for 20-30 minutes.

Combine yogurt and water in a medium bowl.  Stir briefly to combine.  Add drained cucumber and stir to combine.  Add cilantro and stir to combine.  Season to taste with s&p.


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