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!