Being the most popular Indian flat bread in the world, I believe Naan needs no introduction. Yet, I don’t mind putting in a few words about it. It is leavened and oven baked flatbread, traditionally cooked in clay ovens. They can also be cooked on a hot skillet or a concave iron griddle called tava.
Baking powder is added to the all purpose flour (maida) and then a dough is made using yoghurt or milk. This gives greater volume and thickness to the naan. Some people prefer using yeast but those take time. You can call these the instant naans. Once cooked it is served brushed with ghee (clarified butter) or butter. It can be used along with foods such gravy dishes or curries and even tikkas or they can be served stuffed with a filling of your choice.
There is a great variety of seasoning/toppings that can be used – nigella seeds, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, poppy seeds, chopped fresh coriander, chopped fresh mint or chopped garlic and perhaps raisins or nuts.
Here is how I make this popular bread…
For the dough
2 cups all purpose flour (plain flour/ maida)
2 tsp Caster Sugar
½ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Baking Soda (bi-carb)
½ C – ¾ C Curd (Yogurt)
A few tbsp Milk (to make a soft dough)
Finely chopped Garlic
Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In a cup mix together the yogurt, milk and oil.
Mix the dry and the wet ingredients together and make a smooth, soft dough.
Knead well for 7-8 minutes. (although a little sticky dough is fine but feel free to dust a little flour if the dough becomes too sticky)
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with damp cloth. Leave it for about one & a half hours to two hours.
Make balls from the dough. (about the size of golf ball)
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough balls (use a little dry flour if it sticks to the pin) in oblong shape.
Roll them gently and not too thin. Sprinkle the toppings of your choice and press them in gently using the rolling pin.
Gently place the naan over your palm (topping side down) and moisten your other hand with water.
Smear the topping-free side of the rolled naan with your moistened hand.
Flip the naan over the medium hot skillet keeping the topping side up.
Cover the naan with a lid. After a few seconds uncover the naan and cook the topping side directly over low medium flame using tongs or on the skillet. Once they are cooked and slightly charred remove from fire and smear with butter and serve!
Makes approximately 10 naans (the sized shown in the post)
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