“I took a survey of our staff and asked what they would really like to learn to make in an Indian cooking class,” Grand Cayman sous chef Tony Rozario explained yesterday on the phone. “Most people wanted to do naan. It was the most popular response, and I was so happy to hear it, too!” Tony’s naan is special. It’s soft and buttery, with just the right elasticity and a little tang from yogurt in the dough. Magic pillows, with a little char from the grill and crisp on the edges. A heavenly balance. Two weeks from tomorrow, Wednesday, May 7 from 6-8pm, Tony teaches us how to make this treat and more as he leads a two-hour course in Indian cuisine at a Camana Bay neighbor of our island restaurant, the Bon Vivant culinary showroom. On the agenda are a handful of building blocks and the dishes they create that we have grown to know and love at Indian Tuesdays, Tony’s weekly three course prix fixe menu at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman. And it’s not just the naan, for which he’s provided the recipe below. Always one to give the people what they want, Tony includes tandoori chicken, the second most popular dish in his survey, ahead of chicken tikka masala and butter chicken, as well as rice pilaf. The list goes on.
Here, Tony doing his caja china’d goat release thing for Slow Food Day 2014’s dinner on February 18 with guest James Bead Award-winning chef Andrea Reusing. Michael, TGHG special ops chef Thomas Tennant, and I were also the lucky benefactors of the rarely seen yet relished “Indian Saturdays” spread earlier that day. View our trip album here, including the Camana Bay Farmers Market.
“Based on this direction from the staff, I started planning the session,” Tony continued. “We’ll also do a dessert made with rice, and basic spice mixes like garam masala… It’s called for in most Indian recipes. Sometimes when you go to the store, the premixed blends are inconsistent, from different colors to quality. It’s easy to make your own, by grinding up pan-roasted whole cinnamon, cardamon, clove, bay leaf, star anise, coriander, black pepper and fennel seed. With this, you can make a number of dishes. For the tandoori chicken, simply rub the bird with garam masala and paprika first, then ginger, garlic paste, lime juice, and salt to marinate and tenderize it, and finally the yogurt to lock the juices in.” To book the May 7 class — space is limited — please contact Bon Vivant and reserve an upcoming Indian Tuesday, which resumes the week following on May 13, by calling the restaurant at 345-640-6433 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tony will incorporate more local ingredients onto his family-style menus this season, like the last of the tomatoes into chutney for naan before summer’s heat takes over and okra into stewed bhindi bhaji or even this crispy snack, local cucumber from farmers Patrick Panton and Hamlin Stephenson for raita… The May 13 menu will feature tandoori chicken utilizing Patrick’s 4-week old birds. We’ll be ogling @MGFD_GCM‘s instagram from afar this time, but will use our imagination to take the trip as Tony’s food always inspires.
makes 7 naan breads
1 1/2 pounds all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
kosher salt to taste
a pinch dry active yeast
4 ounces vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup yogurt
1 whole egg
butter to finish
Preheat an outdoor gas grill until very hot. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients with the yeast. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated, adding a little water in the bowl at the end if you need to. The dough should feel sticky. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured wooden or granite surface, and knead in a rolling and rocking motion for 4-7 minutes or until the gluten forms and it becomes elastic, adding more flour if you need to prevent it from sticking. Rest for 4-5 hours covered with a damp towel and refrigerated or on the counter. Portion out the pieces into about the size of a lemon, and roll out with a rolling pin into elongated flatbreads about 1/4 inch thick. Cook directly on the grill for best results, about 1-2 minutes to mark on one side, then flip (with tongs and a spatula if necessary) to mark the other for 1-2 more minutes. Apply butter to the top after cooking with a brush. Enjoy fresh and warm alone or with any sauce. Tony likes his the genuine way, with a little ricotta cheese and mango jam!