Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My experiments with 'Naan'

For those who don't know what a Naan is (Where have you been living !). Its the quintessential bread in North Indian meal which is baked in a tandoor-clay oven. A soft buttery creation that looks so complex, you cannot imagine making it at home without the tandoor. Not true. Keep on reading and you'll see how you make this fluffy bread without a tandoor.

I had the best tasting Naans at two places so far. One, at a road side dhabba on our way to Agra ( no surprise !) and the other in an Indian restaurant in Pisa. Do you see the irony here? Eating Indian food 1000 miles away from the source and that too when I was in Italian food heaven. Its one of those silly things you do and then wonder why you did it anyways. The other compelling reasons were that back then, I was a new graduate on a tight budget backpacking through Northern Italy, it was very late and I could count on an Indian restaurant to serve me a decent meal ( even in Italy). Enough said that I had piping hot Naan slathered in butter with tangy chicken tikka masala while looking out in the distance at the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Coming back to my post, there are many Naan recipes out on the web and I am going to add mine to that list. Original recipe was from Sanjeev Kapoor, adapted by yours truly.


3 Cups Maida

1 tsp self raising Yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 cup of milk

1 tbsp oil

1 Egg Optional

Salt to taste

Butter per taste.

In warm water ( not Hot) add yeast, sugar, salt , milk, oil and beaten egg. Adding egg makes the Naan super moist and rich. You can also add beaten curd/yogurt to give a slight tart taste. Let the liquid mixture sit for couple minutes. Stir. Sieve maida. Slowly, add the liquid mixture to the maida to make soft dough. If you run out of the liquid mixture, just add milk. The dough should be VERY soft and sticky. Sticky dough will get you softer bread. Let it sit for 1 hour. Break of piece, the size of a medium potato, stretch it using your palms and dry flour to form the triangle shape.

To roast there are two methods

Oven: Preheat the oven to the highest temp. Keep the baking rack closer to the heat source. Spray baking sheet with Pam and place the stretched out naan on the pan. It should take 7-10 minutes, depending on the oven temp, for one side to cook completely. Flip the naan and cook the other side for couple minutes.

My preferred method -Stove top: I used the jaali that you get to roast papad. Spray it with Pam and place the triangular Naan dough on the jaali. Place the jaali with the dough directly on the flame. Carefully, without burning, cook one side just like you make phulkas. Flip and cook the other side.

Variations: Garlic naan, stuffed naan, the possibilities are endless.

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