Friday, September 27, 2013

Daddy's Naan with Mint Sauce

There used to be an Indian restaurant in town where my parents and I would order take-out. For quite a few years, it was "a thing we did." It was something that we did on our own, and also when people came over for dinner. In particular, we often got Indian take-out when my best friend Jenna was come over... so I definitely think of her when I think of those nights.

We each had our favorite dishes. My dad has always loved spinach, so he would order Saag Paneer. My mom loved the eggplant dish Baingan Bharta, so that was her order. I always ordered Chana Masala. And then we would all share. I can't believe that I remember that after so many years. One thing we all loved above all else was the naan bread. In fact, I think the whole reason we ordered Indian food in the first place was just so we could scoop it up with torn-off pieces of that fresh naan. The naans came in big rounds with huge bubbles with little burnt bits on them and other parts where the bread was thick and chewy. The thick, chewy parts were my favorite parts.

We would all sit down at the long coffee table in my parents' living room and spread out the big take-out containers of yum. The naans came in a separate container of their own (maybe they were wrapped in foil?), and I remember that the pretty much the whole time we ate, someone was always asking "can you pass the naan?" Ha ha! And the take-out order always came with a small plastic container of "mint sauce." My dad was NUTS about that stuff. In fact, my bff Jenna and I would always laugh, because every time my dad took a bite of the mint sauce he would exclaim "MmmmMmm! Have you tried the mint sauce?! You've gotta try the mint sauce!" As though it was a fresh revelation each time! Ha ha.

Now, I have a terrible confession: I don't think I ever actually tried the mint sauce. I was afraid that it would be too spicy for me. And I guess maybe I was just a stubborn little teenager, happy with my Indian take-out the way it was. But I definitely enjoyed my Daddy's over-the-top enthusiasm for the stuff.

Many years later, when I decided to become a vegan, I was pretty bummed to learn that naan bread is almost never vegan. I mean rotis are okay, but y'know... "roti roti blah blah blah." Naans are where it's at. When I first tried the Naan recipe from Vegan Eats World, I was so super happy to be reunited with this special bread-from-the-past and I couldn't believe how perfectly delicious and chewy and bubbly it was!

long live kalonji seeds! kalonji seeds for president! viva kalonji seeds!

Tonight, I made a big batch of my most favorite dal (recipe here!) and a batch of the "VEW" Naan AND a batch of mint sauce!! I made the naan the way I like them most, with lots of kalonji seeds on top. For the mint sauce, I followed a recipe online... which was only so-so... So then, I looked up another recipe and modified my batch a little. Sadly, I didn't really love it, and since I never actually tasted it before, I'm not really sure what I'm shooting for. Do you have a good mint sauce recipe to recommend? Still, I'm happy because, at the very least, I can finally tell my Dad "Yes! I tried the mint sauce!"


  1. Once again, a real gem. I shouldn't be, but I'm still amazed at your visual memory of things that happened 20-30 years ago. You get all the little details right on the mark, evoking the whole experience all over again. Such fun! (heart) (heart)

  2. I love this! My mum usually tried to make something out-of-the-ordinary when I had friends sleepover as a kid. We didn't have access to any good Indian take-out, but we did have curry night. Jay thinks I'm a weirdo but I long for the little bowls of raisins, cilantro, and dried coconut she put out for garnishes.

    I can't believe I still haven't tried the VEW naan. Would you say it's a favourite recipe? I haven't made naan for so long that I can't remember what recipe I use!

    1. yes, I would definitely say this is a favorite recipe!! The naans come out SO perfectly! I think it's because the recipe calls for bread flour! DO IT!! :) I love that your mom made such unusual things for a bunch of kids. How cool!!

  3. Naan has got to be chewy and bubbly! I don't have VEW (yet..) but have a recipe I like which uses banana. I haven't seen mint sauce served with naan but maybe something like this mint chutney?
    I've made the whole cauli recipe before and it is so delicious.

  4. Oh, yes kalonji seeds for president. That naan looks perfect.

  5. I LOVE naan and that looks amazing! I discovered vegan version in the health food shops here in the UK so I normally buy those but I think I should probably make naan at some points because yours looks so fluffy and delicious!

  6. pillowy naan dream:) the usual mint sauce(chutney) shouldnt actually be spicy. it depends on the restaurant i guess. those pillowy naans looks amazing

  7. O man, I do love naan. And I have VEW so I think I know what I have to do.

    I don't usually do a mint sauce but I do mint in drained soy or coconut yoghurt with a little salt and toasted cumin. Sometimes with cucumber - I guess that's just raita though!

  8. Man, that's pretty awesome that your family is into Indian takeout! And good call on the channa masala being your favorite. :) That naan looks amazing, and I've never tried making homemade mint sauce, only ever had storebought (for shame).

  9. I love how many awesome foodie memories you have! I also don't think I've eaten naan in about 10 years which is something I'm gonna have to change asap!


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