Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Keema (Spicy Lamb Stuffed) Naan #TwelveLoaves

Most folks are familiar with naan, a soft yeast dough traditionally brushed with butter or ghee and baked to brown-spotted perfection in a tandoor or cylindrical oven. A few charred bits are considered essential. Just as traditional but less well known in the western world are variations like keema naan, which is stuffed with seasoned ground meat, or Kashmiri naan, stuffed with nuts and raisins.

This month’s Twelve Loaves challenge was to create a bread with herbs but I decided to take that one step farther along the herbaceous road and use cilantro in my dough AND in a stuffing, making a savory keema naan with ground lamb and curry spices. This is perfect summer food, cut into wedges as a starter for a party, or to take along for a picnic. I don’t have a tandoor – nor would I want to hover over one in this heat – but, though far from traditional, a non-stick pan with a tight-fitting lid works beautifully.

Many thanks to our host this month, the delightful Sherron of Simply Gourmet. If you haven’t met her yet, you need to stop on by. I love her honest life storytelling as much as I enjoy her beautiful recipes.

Note: I’ve given approximate weights for some of the ingredients in the filling, just to give you an idea of the size of my tomato, for example. Don’t dwell on this too much. A little more or a little less will not make a difference. It’s all going to cook down anyway.

For the dough:
1 cup or 240ml tepid water
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 level teaspoons or one 7g sachet dried yeast
1/2 cup or 125g active natural yoghurt at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 125g strong bread flour
3 cups or 375g plain white flour
Small bunch cilantro or fresh coriander (about 3/4 oz or 20g)

For the filling:
Olive oil
7 oz or 200g ground (minced) lamb (Beef can be substituted.)
1 thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger (about 1 oz or 30g)
6 garlic cloves
1 fresh hot red chili pepper
1 medium-sized tomato (about 3 1/2 oz or 100g)
1 small carrot (about 2 oz or 55g)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup or 70g frozen peas, thawed
3/4 or 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Small bunch cilantro or fresh coriander (about 3/4 oz or 20g)

To cook the keema naan:
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter)

Add the sugar and warm water into a big mixing bowl with the yeast and allow it to sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy. If it doesn’t get foamy, you need to start again with new yeast.

Cut the hard stems off of your cilantro and chop the leaves and tender stems finely.

When the yeast water is all foamy, add in the bread flour and stir well.

Add in the yogurt and salt and mix well again.

Now add in the chopped cilantro. And you know the drill: Mix well.

Add the rest of the flour, a little at a time until you have a nice medium firm dough. You should be able to poke a finger in like the Pillsbury Dough Boy commercial and it'll slowly puff back out. You may not use all of the regular flour.

Knead the dough for several minutes, either by hand or with a dough hook, until it is smooth and elastic. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes in a covered bowl, somewhere warm.

Meanwhile, peel and mince your garlic and ginger. Mince your red chili pepper. Dice your carrot into tiny cubes and chop your tomato. If your peas are still frozen, go ahead and take them out of the freezer to thaw.

As before, cut the hard stems off of your cilantro and chop the leaves and tender stems finely.

To make the filling, drizzle a little olive oil in the your pan and add the lamb. Cook it over a medium heat, breaking the lamb into tiny crumbly bits. If the pieces are too large, they will try to break through your naan when we get to the rolling out stage. Keep cooking the lamb until it is nicely browned and kind of crispy in places.

Add in the garlic, ginger and chili pepper. Cook until these soften, stirring often.

I kept mashing the meat, even at this stage, so the bits were smaller by the time this finished cooking.

Now add in the carrot and tomato, plus the cayenne and curry powder.

Cook for a few minutes and then add about a half a cup or 120ml water. Cover the pan and simmer this mixture for about 20-25 minutes. Stir the pan occasionally.

After the time is up, remove the lid and add the peas. Cook for a little while longer, until the peas are hot and all the moisture has evaporated.

Add in the salt and stir.

Mine seemed a little greasy so I drained the mixture on some paper towels. If your lamb wasn’t very fatty, you might not need this step.

Add the chopped cilantro to the mixture and stir well. I tipped mine off the paper towel and into a bowl to stir. Allow the mixture time to cool a little.

Your dough should be a nice puffy ball now! Knead it again and then divide it into four reasonably equal balls.

On a floured surface, flatten one of the balls and then roll it out into a circle of about five inches or 12cm across.

Spoon one quarter of the filling into the middle. Draw each side up to connect at the top, trying hard not to trap any air inside. Pinch the sides together and then set the ball aside, pinched side down, to rest.

Continue until all four balls are stuffed and resting. Sprinkle them with flour and cover with a tea cloth. Set your timer for 30 minutes and let them continue to rest.

When the time is up, melt your butter and start heating a non-stick skillet over a medium heat on the stove.

Gently roll out each ball to about 7 inches or 18cm in diameter. Brush lightly with the melted butter.

Place butter side down in the heated pan. Cook for just a couple of minutes until you see browning happen when you check the bottom side, then cover with a lid for a further few minutes.

Remove the lid and wipe the condensation dry with a towel.  Brush the top of the naan with melted butter. It should be puffy from the yeast dough rising in the heat.

Now turn the naan over. Cook uncovered for a few minutes or until you see that the bottom is browning again.

This was the first side down.
Pop the dry lid on and cook for a few more minutes until the naan is cooked through and golden on both sides. You can flip it back and forth if you need to. Keep drying the condensation off the inside of the lid so that the naan stays crispy on the outside. We want dry heat, not steaming, to go on in that pan.

This was the second side down.

Repeat the process for the other three balls. You can keep the finished naan warm in a slow oven until they are all done, but these are great at room temperature as well. In fact, I ate leftovers cold the next day, straight from the refrigerator. Divine.

Cut the keema naan into wedges for serving. Serve this with some cucumber raita. That would be a very good thing.


If your garden is growing herbs like weeds this season, you’ll want to make a few of our wonderful herby breads! We have a great selection for you this month.

Would you like to join us this month? Choose a recipe featuring your favorite herbs! Whatever you bake (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, grissini, braids, flatbreads, etc.) have fun and let's have a delicious month of herby bread. Let's get baking!

If you’d like to add your recipe to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!

1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!

2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to this month’s Twelve Loaves theme – Herbs.

3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this August 2014, posted on your blog by August 31, 2014.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess. Once again, thanks to our host this month, Sherron from Simply Gourmet.

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