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 refined flour 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 refined flour (plain flour)
4 tsp powdered sugar
½ tsp baking powder plus 1/4 tsp baking soda (bi-carb)
4 tbsp curd (yoghurt)
4 tbsp milk (add more if you feel the dough is not soft yet)
Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In a cup mix together the yoghurt, milk and oil.
Mix the dry and the wet ingredients together and make a smooth, soft dough.
Knead well for 7-8 minutes. (use a little flour if the dough becomes sticky)
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with damp cloth. Leave it for about one and 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 nigella seeds and press them in gently using the rolling pin.
Moisten your one hand with water and smear it the other side of the rolled naan. Flip the naan over the medium hot skillet keeping the sesame side up. Cover the naan with a lid. After a few seconds uncover the naan and cook the sesame side directly over the fire 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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