Graham is a former chef and food stylist with a passion for all things food-related. She has also never been known to decline dessert.
Indian Cuisine Is a Household Favorite
Each time we prepare Indian food, it becomes a small buffet. We so enjoy all the various flavors and textures and find it difficult to decide on only two or three dishes. We try to prepare different dishes, attempting to expand our palate and try as many recipes as possible; however, one thing is always on the menu—and that is naan.
Not too long along, it seemed easier to simply purchase a package of naan at our local market. There are a few brands that we have tried, and both are fine. But then, I decided to make my own naan to determine if the extra work would be worth my efforts. I can tell you this: We have never purchased store-bought naan again.
What Is Naan?
- Traditionally, naan (sometimes spelled "nan") is baked in a tandoor oven. Using similar methods to the one shown here, the dough is slapped onto the sides of the tandoor and cooks very quickly.
- The classic teardrop shape of many naans is due to the dough being stretched during the baking process.
- If you ever have the opportunity to see a tandoor oven, I recommend that you do. It is an impressive piece of kitchen equipment. A commercial tandoor looks like a top-load washer with a clay cylinder inside for cooking.
- While the dough cooks, it takes on a smoky flavor and, due to the tandoor's extreme heat, the dough will create billowy puffs and dark spots.
- Naan can be made with different flavors, spices, or herbs. Try adding a teaspoon of curry to your dough or sprinkle in chopped scallions.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
8 (6-inch) pieces
- 2.5 to 3 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons dry active yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of saffron
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, saffron, and water. Stir to dissolve and allow to sit for a few moments or until the yeast becomes frothy.
- Stir in oil, yogurt, and egg until combined.
- In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of flour with salt. Next, add the bowl of wet ingredients to the bowl of flour/salt and stir until just combined. Continue to add more flour, a half cup at a time, until you can no longer stir the mixture with a spoon (about 1 to 1.5 cups).
- Form into a ball and turn the ball of dough onto a well-floured counter. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. The dough should be soft and smooth and should not be sticky.
- Leaving the dough on the counter, loosely cover it with a clean towel and allow it to rise until double in size. Gently flatten the dough and cut it into 8 equal wedges. Shape each piece into a small ball by stretching the dough back under itself.
- When you have formed the dough into 8 balls, heat a skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with a non-stick spray or lightly coat the skillet with oil. Working with one ball at a time, roll each ball out until it is about 1/4 inch thick or about 6 inches in diameter. (Personally, compared to store-bought, these smaller naans are preferable)
- Place the rolled dough onto the heated skillet and cook until golden brown and large air bubbles form on the surface. Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and keep warm in a preheated oven set on low until all the dough has been cooked. Serve.