I’ve made several different Indian flatbreads at home, but have always felt intimidated by naan. Perhaps it is because I’ve always felt that it needed a hot tandoor clay oven? Naan is a leavened flatbread typically found in the cuisines of the Middle East and Central and Southern Asia. The name comes from the Persian word non for bread. Unlike other flatbreads, naan has yogurt, yeast, milk and sometimes eggs and butter, thereby yielding a softer dough. Traditionally the bread is slapped against the chimney wall of a clay tandoor oven or baked over wood fires. The bread puffs up and bubbles as it cooks. I was determined to learn how to make naan in my own kitchen and thanks to You Tube, I was able to pick up a few tips and tricks on making this soft, pillowy flatbread in my own kitchen. You Tube is definitely my go to source for learning cooking techniques. A few years ago I taught myself to make sushi just by watching a few You Tube videos. So why not naan?
Add yeast and sugar to warm water. Let it bloom for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, add flour and salt, then add the bloomed yeast, yogurt oil and milk to the mixture. Keep kneading till it comes together. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.
There are many different ways of cooking the naan. I cooked it on the stove top in a skillet. Some cook it in the oven, yet others cook half of it on the stove top and finish cooking it in the oven. You want those burnt brown bits. The high heat makes the dough rise and fills the middle part of the naan with an air pocket. Mine look just gorgeous for a first time naan maker don’t you think? 🙂
I decided to cook it with a split pea lentil dish which paired beautifully with the garlic and cilantro naan.
There’s nothing quite like some freshly made naan to dip into a bowl of lentils wouldn’t you agree?
Piping hot bowls of split peas and lentils ready to be devoured. Split chickpeas (channa dahl) is low in calories but high in protein and fiber. It definitely helps to lower cholesterol too.
Garlic and cilantro flatbread
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon oil
- fresh garlic chopped
- fresh cilantro chopped
- melted ghee
- In a small bowl, add the sugar, warm water and yeast together. Stir to combine well. Let the yeast activate or bloom till it gets foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Mix together flour and salt. Add bloomed yeast, oil, yogurt and milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
- Continue to knead with your hands until a soft dough comes together, about 10 minutes till it becomes smooth and shiny. Add flour as needed, but not too much.
- Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place for about 2 hours. The dough should double in size after 2 hours.
- Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces.
- Stretch dough into a long oval using your hands or a rolling pin, using a pinch or two of extra flour if necessary.
- Scatter some of the fresh chopped garlic, together with the fresh cilantro and press into the naan.
- Heat a skillet over high heat and lightly grease the surface with some oil to avoid it sticking to the pan. Place the dough on the skillet with the garlic/cilantro side up. When it puffs and bubbles and burnt spots appear, flip it over and cook the other side.
- Brush with ghee and keep warm.