Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Daily Bread: Naan

I am so grateful for my daily companion, In Conversation With God. Bringing two toddlers to mass can oftentimes distract me from being fully present. My body may be in the pew, but my mind may be contemplating how to best keep my little darlings quiet instead of the daily readings. And so it is so nice to have the second chance to reflect on the Gospel readings at home while the little ones are napping!

Lent is all about second chances. It gives us a wonderful season to reflect on our relationship with God and to come up with concrete resolutions that will bring us closer to Him.

Many people use this time to abstain from favorite foods. It is also a wonderful time to add a little more to our spiritual life. Can we try to get to mass and receive Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist daily? If we are already going to daily mass- can we try to receive the Eucharist with a greater devotion? Perhaps we can recite the words of Ash Wednesday every day this lent as we walk up the aisle to receive the Holy Eucharist: Remember man that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. After all- we are truly nothing without Our Lord and we need the Bread of Life for our spiritual nourishment. What a gift!

As we are all abstaining from meat- let’s also abstain from yeast! This is a simple recipe for and Indian flatbread: Naan. It has been taken from a great cookbook, The Food of India: Authentic Recipes from the Spicy Subcontinent. There are so many wonderful meatless Indian dishes that may be a fun exploration for our Lenten Fridays.


4 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (I didn’t have these on hand)

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Mix the milk, sugar, egg and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a bowl. Pour this into the center of the flour and knead, adding more water if necessary to form a soft dough. Add the remaining oil, knead again, then cover with a damp cloth and allow the dough to stand for 15 minutes.

Knead the dough again, cover and leave for 2-3 hours. About half an hour before the naan are required, turn the oven on to the maximum heat. Divide the dough into 8 balls and let them rest for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle a baking sheet with nigella seeds and put it in the oven to heat up while the dough is resting. Shape each ball of dough with the palms to make an oval shape. Bake the naan until puffed up and golden brown. Serve hot.

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