Raita, Naan, and Dal
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 English hothouse cucumber
- 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup very finely chopped red onion
- 1 medium tomato, seeded, finely chopped
- 1 fresh green jalapeño chile or serrano chile, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- Whole Wheat Naan:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (about 105¡F)
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 extra-large egg, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Cumin-Scented Red Dal
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoon garam masala (a popular Indian spice that is easily purchased in specialty food shops)
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 yellow onions, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 3 pounds red lentils
- 3 1/2 quarts (14 cups) water
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon (about) fresh lemon juice
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Toast the cumin seeds in a heavy small skillet over medium-low heat until the seeds pop and become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool the seeds and then grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds from the cucumber. Cut the cucumber into 1/4-inch pieces.
Stir the cucumber, cumin, yogurt, onion, tomato, chile, cilantro, mint, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow all the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Whole Wheat Naan:
Whisk the all purpose flour, wheat flour, cornmeal, yeast, salt, sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl to blend. Whisk the warm water, yogurt, and olive oil in a large measuring cup. Whisk the egg into the yogurt mixture.
Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the yogurt mixture into the well and, using a silicone spatula, gradually stir the dry ingredients into the yogurt mixture until the dough begins to form. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into ball.
Lightly oil a clean large bowl. Set the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a moist clean towel and set aside in a warm draft-free area until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 hour.
Gently press down the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work service. Divide the dough into 7 equal pieces. Using the friction of the board, roll the dough pieces into balls then place them 2 inches apart on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover loosely with a moist towel. Let stand in a warm draft-free area until the balls double in size, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Preheat a heavy flat griddle pan over high heat. Working in batches, roll out each dough ball on a lightly floured surface to a 9-inch round. Brush the naan with the garlic butter and place them buttered side down on the hot pan. Cook until the naan puffs and browns on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Brush the tops of the naan with more garlic butter and flip them over. Continue cooking until they brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the naan to a clean towel to keep them warm.
Cumin-Scented Red Dal:
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and stir until the seeds pop, about 1 minute.
Add the garam masala and cayenne and stir until the spice mixture looks frothy, about 1 minute.
Add the onions, ginger, and garlic to the spice mixture. Cook until the onions begin to brown and turn translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils. Stir in the water, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the salt and the turmeric.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the lentils are very tender and the mixture thickens to a loose oatmeal consistency, stirring often for about 20 minutes. Add more water as needed while the dhal cooks to maintain a thick but loose consistency.
Season the dal to taste with the lemon juice and more salt. Transfer the dal to plates. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.