We don’t dine out often but when we do we love to try new places and food. Dining out beyond the family chains is a great way to expand your child’s palate too. Recently we enjoyed an Indian dinner downtown at 259 Host. It was so amazing it has inspired me to try some different things at home too.
Most restaurants we’ve dined at serve fresh handmade bread. Host was no different, adding an Indian twist by serving caraway pappadums. We’ve tried cooking these at home with the Patak’s version (which is pretty fun to do) but I’m not sure I could present them in the cone offered at Host.
Our family loves trying new things so to give us the most variety we tend to order different dishes. My husband ordered Butter Chicken served in a bowl with sauce. I loved that they gave him a plate so he could customize his meal with rice and naan. My oldest daughter ordered a kebab sampler. In my mind kebab is cut meat and vegetables seared on a stick but this plate offered jumbo shrimp, rack of lamb and chicken tikka. What a great way to try different items. My youngest two shared a butter chicken and grilled jumbo shrimp and I tried the Chicken Tikka. Our waiter pointed out that this was cooked tandori style and not served in a sauce and I was fine with that. You would expect it to be a little dry but it was so delightfully moist. Tandori ovens are amazing.
Of course my favourite Indian food has to be naan bread. Our waiter told us the secret to their amazing naan bread (and it is amazing) is that they don’t use any yeast. Plus cooking it in a tandori oven probably helps. When we bought out Green Egg (a ceramic oven that uses natural charcoal and wood for cooking) I knew naan had to be cooked on it. Being inspired by our dinner at 259 Host I collected 5 naan recipes that I hope to try at home:
- Having never made naan before Half Baked Harvest’s stovetop recipe might be a good place to start.
- Since Host makes naan without yeast I had to find a yeast-free recipe to add to my list. Checkout Tasty Kichen’s modified recipe, no yeast required.
- When I think of Naan I think of plain Nana but dining at Host we tried Garlic Naan and the kids loved it. This Garlic Cilantro Naan bread recipe from Alaska From Scratch sounds like a good bet.
- Although we don’t have any gluten issues in our family, I know many of our friends and extended family have cut gluten out of their diet. According to Gluten Free Vegan Girl that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy naan. She shares a gluten-free vegan naan recipe on her blog.
- Most of these recipes are for the stove since most people don’t own a tandori oven. But the Green Egg is pretty close therefore Bouille’s recipe for the Big Green Egg is probably one I will try.
I have yet to make naan at home but I did try my hand at making Palak Pakoda (Spinach Fritters). When planning our night out at Host I perused their menu online and was intrigued by this starter dish. Corn fritters are a family favourit and so easy to make so why not try a spinach version. I tried the recipe from Padhu’s Kitchen. They were easy enough to make (finding the chickpea flour at my local health food store) and the kids loved them, especially with Patak’s chutney.
Padhu’s Kitchen uses finely chopped spinach in her Palak Pakoda recipe but the starter we tried at Host used larger leaves, similar to the recipe found on Vah Reh Van. Now that I know the kids love Spinach Fritters almost as much as the Corn Fritters, I think I’ll make these again trying the larger leaf method.
Eating out is a great way to discover new foods, exposing the kids to things they might not eat regularly. It can also provide a little inspiration for meal time at home.
Disclosure: I am part of the Patak’s Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.