Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Naan Bread

Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread that is popular in many Asian countries (and the UK!). This is THE bread that you should make to go with the butter chicken. It's amazing and you'll never want rice again! I've tried all sorts of different naan recipes and keep coming back to the one that I got with our Panasonic Break Maker about twenty years ago! You don't need to make it in a bread maker, in fact, it's easier and quicker if you don't.

Fast acting dried yeast - 1 tsp
Strong white flour - 1 lb
Sugar - 1 tsp (I use honey or maple syrup because it's healthier)
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Plain yogurt - 4 tbsp
Warm water - about 1 cup

  1. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor using the blade attachment.
  2. Turn on and slowly add the water until the ingredients clump together into a ball and start being 'dragged around'. If your ingredients are still dry and more like flour than dough add more warm water until they clump together, but do it slowly as it's easy to add too much. If you do and the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
  3. Continue to run the processor for a minute or so to kneed the dough until it is soft, springy and dry, not sticky to the touch.
  4. Grease a glass bowl and place the dough into it. I normally swirl the dough around in the olive oil'd bowl as it makes the dough easier to roll out later.
  5. Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour. If your kitchen is cold, put your oven on it's lowest setting, then turn it off and use that as a warming drawer.

Cooking the Naan
  1. Turn the oven back onto a low setting to keep your cooked naans warm
  2. Divide the naan into half, then half, then half (i.e. eight ok?) balls.
  3. On a clean, floured surface, roll out each naan into a long oval shape about 1/4 inch thick or less. You can't make then too thin, only too thick!
  4. If you have a skillet or large cast iron frying pan, heat it to about as hot as you can, drop in some oil and then the naan. Once the naan lifts and forms air pockets, swap to the other side (be careful of the air pockets - they are superheated steam and REALLY burn if they get you). It will take about 2-4 mins with a hot skillet. If you don't have a skillet, use a very hot, well oiled grill (I use Trader Joe's Olive Oil spray on the grill - it works a treat).
  5. Keep the naan warm in the oven while you prepare the remainder.
  6. Serve in a dish or bread bowl. I use a clean tea towel on the bottom and fold it over the naan to keep them warm on the table.
  7. Enjoy, my mouth is already watering!