Sri Lanka, India and a Recipe for Naan Breadby matkonation | 17.10.12
By: Deanna Linder
My husband and I went travelling in India in 2005. We both felt a deep connection with the country, and promised ourselves we would be back within three years. Three years later we were deep into preparations for our wedding and our honeymoon didn’t include a stopover on the subcontinent.
A few years later, when I was still pregnant, I knew that when the kid was about one and half, we would go as a family to India. And this past month we did.
We started in Sri Lanka, which included reveling at some of the beautiful beaches, an elephant safari, where coincidentally all the kid wanted was his Ipad. We hiked in quaint hill station towns and visited the Tooth Temple, where Budda’s tooth is said to be buried. We took a train through the fragrant tea fields where the famed Ceylon tea is grown.
From Sri Lanka we flew to Delhi and from there headed up north to Dharamsala, the Tibetan safe-haven where the Dali Lama temple is located. There we relished in the slow pace of things, me doing a cooking course, and my husband meditation.
Our last destination and my favorite was Pushkar, in the colorful state of Rajasthan. It was there that we watched the sunset every evening from the holy lake, while the kid fed the pigeons, all while listening to a father/ daughter duo- him on the sitar and her singing melodiously off key.
I’ve always been a girl who loves adventure and this was definitely one of them. This experience empowered us as a family as a whole, and me as an individual, proving to myself that life doesn’t change as much as I thought when I became a mother almost two years ago.
Needless to say, food is always a big part of my travels and both Sri Lanka and India didn’t let down. Since we’ve already done an elaborate post on India food, and I didn’t get a proper explanation on the preparation of Sri Lankan cuisine, I decided I’d let the pictures here do most of the talking. I’ve always loved photography but this trip allowed me to take it to another level. Photographing on the trip was both an easy and fascinating task; easy because there were amazing subjects from every corner of my eye and fascinating because through the lens, I was able to study from up close the beauty of the colors, textures, images and beings that make up Sri Lanka and India.
But I thought it would be nice to share my all-time favorite India fare, Garlic Naan bread, which I don’t think I went a meal without.
Garlic Naan Bread
Ingredients for 6-8 breads:
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup warm water
½ cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ teaspoon salt
For the topping:
¼ cup melted butter
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
- Place the yeast, sugar and water in a bowl and set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes. Add the yogurt and oil.
- Place the flour and salt in a food processor and process until mixed. With the motor running, gradually pour in the yeast mixture until a slightly sticky dough is formed.
- Transfer dough to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
- Once raised, working on a well-floured surface, divide the dough into 6-8 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into a teardrop shape, narrower at the top than at the bottom. It should be 8 to 9-inches long, 4-inches wide at its widest point and about 1/4-inch thick.
- Warm a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s nearly smoking.
- Dampen your hands with a bit of water and pick up one of your naans, flip-flopping it from one hand to the other to lightly dampen it. Gently lay it in the skillet and cook for one minute, until it starts to bubble.
- After another minute, flip the naan. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened. Cook for another minute. Remove the naan from the skillet and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle on fresh garlic. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve.