The naan I buy comes in a big plastic bag. It’s t heavy, garlicky, and never the freshest, either. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that I should see how to make naan bread at home instead. I like to use naan as a handy accompaniment to mop up fiery curry sauces, but it can be served just on its own and topped with meat, cheese and roasted vegetables. It’s typically eaten brushed with butter, but olive oil is also acceptable.
There are many other recipes out there and I noticed that some suggest substituting baking powder in place of the yeast. I think it’s worth to spend a bit more time and make naan the traditional way to get that flavor and texture of a yeast dough. The upside is that you can make a big batch – naan freezes very well.
If you’re not familiar with naan, a perfect one is round, soft and blistered. It has that specific taste that can only come from cooking a leavened dough in a cast iron skillet. Below is a basic recipe, but you could also flavor the dough with roasted garlic paste, cumin, coriander, or raisins.
I plan to experiment with a yogurt based dough too – I will post an update to let you know how it turned out.
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup olive oil (approximately)
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast, salt and sugar in warm milk. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy.
- Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough, about 2½ cups. Use a food processor, or knead by hand for about 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a plastic wrap, and let it rise for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
- Flatten the dough with your hands and pinch off 8 small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
- Roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil a cast iron pan. Place dough on pan, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Turn over and brush cooked side with butter, or olive oil. Continue cooking until nicely browned, another 2 minutes.
- Remove from pan, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared. Keep warm.
Adapted from the Food Network