February 26, 2008

Naan ( An Indian Yeasted Flatbread)


One event I have been enjoying cooking for has been the Bread Baking Day. Every time a theme is announced it makes me go look for some new bread I can try my hand at baking. This is my third BBD event.
The first time the theme was “filled breads”. I made a bread with onion, tomato and bell pepper filling and decoratively shaped into a herringbone pattern. Then the next month’s theme turned out to be shaped bread! So I decided to make a flat decorative Onion Fougasse. That’s when this month’s theme turns out to be flat breads! So what’s going on? Seems like I am making this month’s theme the previous month, if you get my drift.




That aside, this month’s theme is flat breads. I realized I didn’t have to venture out of India. We have a thousand kinds (well, I’m exaggerating a bit) of flatbreads made out every kind of grain flour. I decided to make a naan or “naan bread” as it seems to be known in many parts of the world.



A naan is a yeasted flat bread made from wheat flour, traditionally in Northern India but today can be found in every part of the country and has become synonymous with Punjabi food. It is found in many avatars all over Central and South Asia so it must have come into India with early travelers or invaders.
 
 
 
 

A naan is cooked in a clay oven called a “tandoor” which can reach temperatures of about 500C. The naan is wet on one side and slapped onto the sides of the tandoor to cook till done. The taste of tandoor cooked or “tandoori” naans, or rotis is next to none. But a cast iron griddle on the stove top also works.
Here's how I make naans at home.
Naan ( An Indian Yeasted Flatbread)


Ingredients:


2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup warm milk + a bit more, if required

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp dry active yeast

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp oil

3 tbsp yogurt

3/4 tsp baking soda

butter for brushing/ basting

nigella/ onion seeds (kalonji)

sesame seeds (til –I used a mixture of black and white)

finely chopped coriander leaves


Method:

Add the sugar and yeast to the milk. Stir and allow yeast to prove.

In a bowl, sieve the flours, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast mixture into it. Mix well. Now add the oil and yogurt. Knead well into a soft, smooth and elastic dough. Add a little more milk if required if the dough needs it.
I did all this in my food processor. Then I kneaded the dough a bit by hand. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cling wrap and allow the dough to double in size.

Punch back the dough and knead till smooth (about 3 minutes). Cover and allow the dough to rise again till almost double. Divide the dough into 6 balls for big naans or 8 for slightly smaller naans. Keep all the other portions covered while working with one.

Lightly grease your palms and and slightly flatten the dough ball. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into an oval or tear shape that is not too thin. Sprinkle with nigella seeds or sesame seeds and chopped coriander. Use the rolling pin to lightly press them into the dough.

Now take a heavy bottom pan (I use my pressure cooker) or cast iron skillet. This is important as the pan/ skillet needs to be quite hot and thicker/ heavier iron ones heat uniformly and retain the heat.
Heat the pan till quite hot. Turn down the heat to medium. Lift up the naan and wet (with water using your palm) the side without the seeds.
Now place the naan on the pan wet side down and the seeded side up. If your pan is not hot enough at this point, the naan will stick to the pan and not come off later! Allow the naan to cook till it puffs up in places (about 1 -2 minutes). If you keep it longer the underside will burn.


 

Now lift up the skillet and hold it upside down over the flame so that the heat cooks the seeded side. In a couple of minutes, the top will start browning in spots. Turn down the heat if necessary, else you may end up with a charred naan which has not cooked inside!
Turn the pan right side up and slowly dislodge the naan using a flat spoon. Immediately brush with unsalted butter.

Naan also tastes good warm without buttering it. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Serve warm with a curry of your choice. I made 8 naans, four with nigella seeds and four with sesame seeds and coriander.

These naans can also be made in the oven but I find it more complicated to do so. Maybe this is because I have a small oven and all the manoeuvring of the naan from the oven and the grill becomes too much for me. I also find the stove top method makes soft naans whereas the ones made in the oven tend to be a bit chewy.
 
These naans are my contribution to BBD # 7 being hosted this month by Petra from Chili und Ciabatta

35 comments:

Rosie said...

Hi Aparna, what fantastic looking naan breads! I remember your wonderful Onion Fougasse you baked too!

You certainly are a great bread baker!! What a great entry ;D

Rosie x

Mythreyee said...

Looks fantastic.

Laavanya said...

Naan looks awesome Aparna and I missed your post on the potatoes so wanted to let you know how delectable that looks as well! The sesame seeds must give a slight crunchiness.. beautiful pic. too.

Asha said...

The first Naan is really beautiful Aparna, great job!:)

Cham said...

Looks delicious your naan.

Alpa said...

fabulous & informative post!

Madhu said...

Naaans look gorgeous...

Red Chillies said...

The naan looks yummy. Soft and crispy and chewy at the same time.

Sagari said...

beautiful looking naans aparna

bee said...

they look fantastic. nice pics.

jayasree said...

Naan looks gorgeous. Loved the first pic. gr8 job.

Nags said...

i have to try this!! naan is somethng i always order when i eat out but never tried at home..

Jayashree said...

Looks fantastic...just like they serve in restaurants....

Srivalli said...

Aparna..the naans look great...all the pictures have come out well..

remya said...

naan looks soo gud..love that sesame seeds on top...nice shot!!!

Sia said...

fantastic looking naan...

Suzana said...

Aparna, that's a fantastic naan bread! Don't think I ever had naan... I'll have to give it a try! The first photo is great and delicious looking.

Happy cook said...

Oh thankyou for posting this naan. I've been looking for a good naan recipe, everytime i tried making them it was a real disastor.
This looks so good

Priya said...

the nan looks great. thanks for the recipe

Mansi Desai said...

wow, that piece of naan looks so amazing Aparna! I am so dying to bake one this weekend!:)

Dhivya said...

wow!looks delicious..glad u made this in home

Rachel said...

lovely pics....great work on breads!

Sig said...

That is a gorgeous Naan Aparna!

Petra aka Cascabel said...

Thank you very much for your great contribution. The breads really look delicious!

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Hi Aparna
its always nice to know the variations of the naan. Loved your recipe and visual appeal is also felt.Must be tasty, too.

Susan said...

Hmmmm...I can't decide whether I want your naan with cilantro or nigella; both seasonings are fabulous and so different from each other!

I didn't know you can make naan without an oven. This is especially tempting since I am waiting over two weeks for the utility company to repair my oven. (Sigh.)

ranji said...

HI APARNA...
i really want to thank u for this recipe.I tried it out and the naan came out good but the best part is i used the left over dough to make pizza and it came out even better.I have posted it in my blog.Thank u ones again for this recipe.

ranji said...

my blog url
http://rbcuisines.blogspot.com/

Aparna said...

Thanks, all of you. And yes, I was quite pleased with first picture myself.:D

Rosie,
No that great a bread maker, just look at my french bread! I almost gave on bread making after my earlier attempts.

Nags, Suzana, HC and Mansi,
Its really great to eat homemade naan. Hope they turn out good.

Susan,
Try them both. You can make them plain, too.

Ranji,
Really happy to know they came out well. And didn't know it worked for pizza as well. Great idea.

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Fabulous naan Aparna...it's looking so GOOD! Really nice entry for flatbreads. How long does it take to rise to double? Will try making them these this weekend. Cheers

vandana rajesh said...

Hi aparna your naan looks really yummy. Was looking out for a good naan recipe. Thanks :)

Ramki said...

Hi Aparna,
This goes in as a model recipe in the One page cookbook 1001 Naans. Thanks !

Aparna said...

Deeba and Vandana,
Do try the recipe and would be glad to know how they turned out.

Ramki,
Appreciate the linking to my recipe on your blog.
But if you are planning to publish this recipe I would have to say that it would not be acceptable to me.

Asha said...

Ranji told me you have these and I see I have been here before but didn't realize it. I will be trying this too!:))

Sunshinemom said...

Aparna, I just saw them at Aroma. Love the use of kalonji - again a favourite spice of mine! They look beautiful!