I confess. In the past when it came to making Naan, I used Sharwood’s Naan mix. It was convenient and the end product was a decent looking Naan. I’ve come a long way in the bread making stakes and now whip up batches of pide, pizza and bretzels with no problems at all. I recently made some Naan from scratch for an Indian meal and whilst they looked and tasted great, they were more like a bread roll that Naan. With family coming over to partake of Anthony’s now famous Butter Chicken, I decided I needed to go on the hunt for a better recipe.
I didn’t need to look far. Twitter friend @TheCurry Guy is a big fan of Indian food. When I say big, I mean: Dan cooked and ate Indian food for 365 days in a row. He creates his own recipes and has a great website with easy to follow recipes, tips and instructional videos – all from deepest, darkest North Yorkshire. Obviously he was my first choice for recipe research and he didn’t let me down. I’d never have thought of making Naan on the stove rather than baking them in the oven. They were a big hit and best of all, I have another three balls of dough in the freezer for Emergency Naan. The original recipe is here, my adapted recipe is below with, as always, notes at the end.
- 500g plain white flour
- 1 x 7g dried yeast (= 1 Tandaco packet)
- 1 x tbsp sugar
- 1 x tspn salt
- 1 x tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup water, tepid
- 1x egg, lightly whisked
- 1/4 cup milk, tepid
- 1/2 cup natural yoghurt
- 3 x tbsp melted butter or ghee (optional)
Method – Prep
- Place yeast in a bowl, with sugar and tepid water. Whisk and set aside in warm place for approx 15 minutes to allow yeast to activate.
- Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.
- Whisk egg and combine with yoghurt and milk.
- Add egg/milk/yoghurt mix to flour.
- Check yeast, which should be frothy and add to the mix.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture combines.
- Turn out onto a floured board or bench and knead for around 10 minutes, until you have a soft, pliable, slightly sticky dough.
- Wipe out the bowl, oil it and then place the ball of dough back into the bowl. Cover with damp towel of lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap.
- Allow to rise for one hour but the longer the better. You can allow this to rise for up to 24 hours.
- If you are allowing to rise for more than a few hours, take the dough from the bowl, knock out some of the air and knead again for a few minutes before returning it to the bowl. You only need to do this once.
- When you are ready to make the Naan, divide the dough into 6 balls.
- Flatten each ball and roll it out in a vaguely oblong shape (round is fine too). It needs to fit in your frying pan so don’t roll them too big.
Method – Cooking
- Heat a frying pan on a medium heat. Cast iron is preferable but as you can see from the photos, I used stainless steel. Do not oil the pan.
- Place a piece of the Naan into the pan and let it cook for a few minutes on one side. You will start to see bubbles form as the bread cooks and air creates pockets inside.
- Continue to cook on the same side, pressing down with a tea towel or paper towel so there is plenty of contact between the bread and the pan surface.
- Check the bread regularly so that it does not overcook or burn. A few tandoori like ‘black spots’ are fine, a crispy charcoal coating is not.
- Turn the bread over (use a spatula) and cook the other side. It won’t take as long to brown as the bread will already be nearly cooked. The colour on the second side will probably not be as dark.
- When the bread is cooked, transfer to a plate with paper towel and place in a low oven (100c) until all the Naan are cooked.
- Optional – just before serving Naan, brush with melted butter or ghee
- I thought I was being all tricky using Atta flour, which is used for Indian Roti. Whilst the Naan tasted fine, they were not as puffy or flaky as they could have been so next time it will be plain flour for me.
- A cast iron pan helps to give the authentic tandoori look with black spots. Take a look at The Curry Guy’s short video on his website, to see how they should look. I will hunt out my frying pan from the camping equipment for next time.
- I only cooked three Naan on the night and have frozen the other the dough balls. When I need one, I’ll remove it from the freezer and allow to it defrost in the fridge for 24hrs or on the bench for 1/2 a day. Either way, you want to make sure the bread has warmed back up to room temperature before you roll it and place it in the pan.