I know, I knowwww what you are thinking…..that I am supposed to be on a sabbatical from Blogging…so what am I doing here….Right?
Let me assure you that the sappy, emotional post that I wrote a few days ago announcing my sabbatical, still stands true. Yes, I am on a break from blogging for a couple on months because of another project but I have come back for this one last post because of a very sweet reason.
I am sure you guys remember the wonderful FoodieMonday Bloghop group that I joined some time back where we would prepare a dish based on a set theme and post it every Monday. Now, because I am on a break from blogging in general, I had to sadly be on one from Bloghop too, obviously.
Then last Monday I realized that the coming week would have been the one where I was supposed to give out the theme to the other members. I had been eagerly waiting for my turn to arrive for ages but now that it was here, I thought that it wasn’t fair for me to decide the theme, as I wasn’t currently contributing to the group. Sigh!
but guess what….Surprise! Surprise!
The wonderful ladies of the FoodieMonday Bloghop very sweetly asked me to still give out the theme of the week, irrespective of the fact that I was on a break from blogging. Needless to say, I was extremely touched. So, I thought I’d take a little sabbatical from my sabbatical and decided to participate in the bloghop this week, to return their sweet gesture! 🙂
I gave the group a theme of Fusion fiesta…. but with a twist! Yes, we were supposed to merge Indian cuisine with an International cuisine for our respective dishes but just for the fun of it, I decided to prohibit the most common combinations that we all are too comfortable with. That meant..
Apart from these, cuisines of the whole world were open for us to merge with Indian food and create a beautiful Fusion dish. I am super excited to find out tomorrow what my friends whipped up, taking the ingredients and concepts from around the globe.
For my dish, I have made Persian style Kebabs- Kabob Koobideh, classic Indian Naan bread with cheese stuffing and a creamy yogurt dip called Labneh. I originally wanted to make potatoes stuffed Naans for this platter but then decided that the flavors would be too intense and may not all necessary work well together. So I substituted the heavy potato stuffing with a lighter layer of chilly-cheese stuffing instead. Soft, cheese-filled Naans instead of your standard Pita bread, complimented the juicy kebabs so well.
The Koobideh Kebabs are traditionally made with beef mince but because hubby has a high-cholesterol and I am as it is not too fond of meats other than chicken, we nowadays reserve the use of Beef for rare occasions. Using chicken for these kebabs are light on your stomach and trust me, as delicious. So you can (and should) use Beef if you prefer it more!
Saffron adds lovely flavor and color to these kebabs but the star ingredient here is easily the middle-eastern spice called Sumac.
Ground Sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavor. It is a widely used spice in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cooking and is used in everything from dry rubs, marinades, and dressings. Bright red Sumac makes a nice topping on dips like hummus and also adds a beautiful pop of color to any dish. It is nowadays very easily available at the grocery stores.
I also made a creamy dip called Labneh to accompany the Kebab-Naan Combo.
So, give this vibrant and diverse platter a go guys, and enjoy!
For the Kobideh kebabs:
– 300 grams Chicken mince
– 1 large Onion
– 1 heaped tbsn Sumac ( Middle-eastern spice powder easily available at grocery stores these days)
– 4-5 strands of Saffron
– 1 tsp turmeric
– 1 tbsn Red chilly powder
– 1 tbsn coriander powder
– 1/2 tsp Garam masala
– 1 tsp Mango powder
– 1.5 tbsn Ginger-garlic paste
– 2 tbsn finely chopped fresh Mint leaves
– 2-3 tbsn finely chopped fresh Coriander leaves
– Two tbsn of ghee or melted butter
– Salt to taste
For the chilly- cheese Naans-
– 1 cup All purpose flour
– 1 cup Whole-wheat flour
– 1 tsp quick-action yeast
– ¼ cup lukewarm water
– 2-3 tbsn yogurt
– 2 tbsn olive oil
– 1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese or any cheese of your choice
– 1 tsp green chillies
– 1 tbsn chopped fresh coriander
– 1 tsp Sugar
– 1/4th tsp Baking soda
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Some melted butter to brush
For the yogurt dip-
– 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
– 1/2 cup fresh chopped dill (you can also use fresh mint instead)
– 2 cups natural yogurt
– ¼ cup peeled and grated cucumber (optional)
– 1-2 tbsn extra-virgin olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tsp Sumac powder to garnish
– 2 tbsn olive oil or any vegetable oil of your choice
– Let us prepare the creamy yogurt dip Labneh first.
– Place the yogurt in a clean muslin cloth and tie the ends. Let the yogurt drain for several hours over your kitchen sink or in a sieve over a container. When the yogurt looks completely drained of water and rather dry, flip over onto a bowl.
– To this dried yogurt, add all the mentioned ingredients except for olive oil and mix well.
– Season with salt and pepper and pour your fragrant extra-virgin olive oil on your dip. Garnish your dip with some lovely sumac powder. Labneh is ready to be served! Refrigerate to chill.
Prepare your naans next!
– Firstly, let us activate the yeast. In a large mixing bowl, take luke-warm water, dry yeast and sugar. Mix well and keep to rest for 10 mins. Remember, water should be strictly lukewarm. Not hot or cold. That will kill the yeast.
– When you see a foamy layer on top of your mixture, that indicates that your yeast has activated well!
– Next, add your flours, yogurt, baking powder, salt and oil. Combine it into a soft dough. Add 1-2 tbsn water more, if needed.
– Dust some flour on the kitchen platform and knead your dough very well for 8-9 minutes. Look up ‘stretch-and-pull’ method on the internet. This step is very essential as we need to activate the gluten in the dough. Knead into a smooth ball.
– Grease a deep bowl with oil and place your dough in it. The bowl should be large and deep as the dough will rise and get doubled in size. Coat the dough surface all over with some more oil and cover the top of the bowl tightly in a cling-wrap.
– Rest the wrapped bowl of dough in a warm place for 2 hours.
– Prepare your cheese filling next. Grate the cheese and combine it with green chillies, chopped coriander, salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning as per your taste. Set aside.
– After two hours, take the risen flour out of the oven and punch the dough lightly with fist to release down the air.
– Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes more on the dusted kitchen platform.
– Divide the dough in eight equal parts. Lift each part and roll in a round ball. Repeat with every part and keep covered under a damp paper towel.
– To make your naan…Dust a dough-ball with some flour and with a rolling pin, roll it out in 3 to 4 inch diameter circle. Place around 2 tbsn cheese stuffing on it and bring all the sides together to seal it into a round ball again. The stuffing should be completely enclosed within the dough-ball with no cracks. Dust this stuffed dough ball with some dry flour again and roll into a thick circle.
– Heat a non-stick pan and place your naan on it, over medium-high heat.
– Once you see some bubbles on naan’s surface, pick it up with tongs and place the other side of the naan directly on the stove’s flame. Be careful and once you see the surface nicely browned in certain spots, place it again on the pan to the initial position. Your naan is done when both the sides look well-toasted and nicely browned. Brush the bubbly surface with some butter and transfer to a plate.
Prepare all the naans this way. Our yummy chilly-cheese naans are ready!
Let us make the delectable kebabs next………
– Soak the saffron strands in 1/4 cup of boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Set aside.
– Grate your onion and squeeze out as much water out of it as you can. Discard the water and set the grated onion aside.
– Put all the remaining ingredients under the Kebab list in a large bowl.
– Next, add the grated onion, saffron water and the saffron strands to the mixture.
– Knead it all together like a dough till everything is well combined.
– Assemble mince on skewers and put veggies of your choice like capsicum or onion pieces on each end.
– Take a non-stick pan and heat 2 tbsn olive-oil in it.
– Gently place your kebabs in the pan and pan-fry each side till it is nicely browned and well-done. You can also bake these kebabs in a pre-heated oven, at 200 degrees C, for around 30-40 minutes.
– Once done, serve these succulent kebabs immediately with piping hot chilly-cheese naans and chilled Labneh dip. It’s a combo made in food heaven! Enjoy!
– Replace the chicken with beef mince to make the traditional Koobideh Kebabs.