Naan

Naan is leavened and oven baked bread, cooked in a tandoor (clay oven) and is very popular in India, Pakistan and other countries. Naan though traditionally cooked in a tandoor (clay oven) and served in restaurants, we can prepare the naan in our home and whenever we desire in an oven or a grill. There are different kinds of naan like plain naan, garlic naan, chilli naan, peshwari naan (with nuts) and stuffed naan with kheema.

Naans are different from other breads like roti (chapati), which is unleavened bread. Naan can be leavened using yeast. As the dough is very elastic (stretchy) and smooth you will not require a roller pin for rolling the dough, instead you can press and stretch using your hands.

I have an electric hob so missed on gas. But I have tried my naan in the oven, grill and also on normal tava over the electric hob. Naan can be eaten with any curry you like and even use it as a wrap for kebabs with salad.

Naan needs to be cooked at a very high temperature and is the reason why it is cooked in a traditional clay oven. We can use our oven or grill or tava to cook at home. I have even heard that naan can be cooked in a pressure cooker. I was not convinced and would not recommend as I was quite satisfied with what I got from my oven/grill.

I have made small naans rather than the usual big ones you get in the restaurants. You can see different naans in the pictures like chilli naan, garlic and chilli naan, paneer and nuts stuffed naan and coriander naan. You can make yours as per your taste.

The naans I am showing you here is a substitute for the traditional clay oven naans. The home made naans are tasty and soft but will not be like the ones you get in the restaurants as we miss the traditional clay ovens that make them special.

Ingredients

  • Plain flour (Maida) – 2 cups
  • Warm milk – 150 ml
  • Warm water – 30 ml
  • Dry yeast – 1 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Curd – 2 1/2 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil/sunflower oil
  • Butter for applying

Method

    Making the dough

  • First activate the yeast. For this, take some warm milk, add some warm water, sugar and yeast. Mix with a spoon and keep it for 10 to 12 mins. The mixture starts bubbling and will look cloudy and bubbly. This means the yeast has been activated.
  • Put the flour in a wide and big container, make space in the middle and start adding yeast mixture, curd and salt. Mix slowly.
  • Add the liquids little at a time as per the requirement.
  • Start mixing from the centre and go outwards until the dough is properly mixed well.
  • You can use a few drops of oil to the dough mixture and also apply on your hands so that the dough does not stick to your hands much.
  • Knead well until it is elastic (stretchy) and smooth. It should not be hard like the dough for chapati or roti.
  • Close the bowl in which the dough is with a cling film to make it air tight and keep in a warm place.
  • I kept the dough for about 2 hours and the dough raised and became double the original size.
  • Remove the cling film and punch it. It will come to the original size.
  • Apply some oil to your hands and knead the dough again for about 2-3 mins. Divide the dough equally into small balls according to the size you need.
  • I made small naans as per my need. So I divided into little balls of the size of a big lime. You can see it in the picture.
  • Put the dough ball on to the surface. I sprinkled some flour before that to avoid the dough from sticking to the surface. Oil can also help here.
  • Roll the dough with the help of a rolling pin or you can just flatten it by pressing it with your fingers and then stretching it, according to the shape of the naan you want.
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  • Apply oil in your fingers and then stretch it to avoid the dough from sticking to your hands.
  • I did oval, rectangle and other shapes which were easy for me. Just roll it round and stretch to one side to form an elongated shape.
  • Keep the naan about one centimeter thick not very thin like roti.
  • Cooking in the oven

  • Preheat the oven to high temperature - above 240 degrees celcius for 10 mins.
  • Grease the oven tray with oil or butter and then place all the naans which were rolled.
  • Sprinkle your chosen toppings and press it with your fingers on the surface of the naan.
  • You can brush the naan with ghee or melted butter and place it in the tray.
  • I have used garlic, green chillies and coriander leaves for my toppings. Just chop them finely and sprinkle on top of the naans and press it.
  • You can make chilli and garlic naan or just garlic naan or chilli and coriander leaves naan or coriander leaves naan, Sometimes I sprinkle kalongi (nigella seeds).
  • I also made stuffed naan with a mixture of nuts and grated paneer and sprinkled on the top of naan. You can see this in the picture.
  • Place the tray in the oven on the upper row.
  • Bake it for 5 to 7 mins until the naan puffs up (raised) and becomes golden brown in colour. Turn it and leave it further for another 3 to 4 mins until it is lightly browned.
  • If your naan is small, then it will take less time. So keep an eye on your naans while it is cooking to avoid burning the naans.
  • Apply butter on both sides when it is almost done and bake for a few seconds and then remove it. Alternatively apply butter just before serving.
  • Wrap the naans in a tea towl or aluminium foil. By doing this it will stay warm and soft for longer.
  • If you want your naans to get those dark black spots like we get in restaurants, place the cooked naan on a really hot tava for a few seconds. Do not overcook.Otherwise the naan can become hard.
  • When the naan is cooked, you will get the aroma of the toppings aroma and of the naans, which will make you really hungry.
  • In the pictures, I have shown you the naans which are cooked on both tava and oven. You can also see the naans with different toppings and stuffings.
  • Cooking on a tava

  • I tried garlic and coriander leaves naan and kalonji naan.
  • Place the naan after applying butter/ghee (optional) on a hot tava.
  • Close the lid (optional) and after 2 to 3 mins you can see that the naan starts to puffs up (rise).
  • Now turn the naan on the other side and cook until it is cooked and lightly brown.
  • It will not take more than 4 to 5 mins each side and will depend on the size of your naan.
  • When it is almost done, apply butter and cook for just a few seconds on each side. Or you can apply right at the end just before serving the naan.
  • Optionally when the naan starts to puff up use tongs and place it directly on the heat on the other side. Turn the naan from one side to another until both sides are cooked evenly. When brown spots appear on the naan it means that they are cooked.
  • Serve naans with paneer or chicken dish or any curry you like.

Notes

  • If the dough becomes very loose you can add a little more dry flour and mix in the dough.
  • While kneading the dough, add few drops of oil into the dough and also apply on your hands to avoid the dough from sticking to your fingers.
  • The dough should not be very dry and hard but should be elastic and stretchy.
  • Cook the naans on a very high temperature and remove it from heat as soon as it is cooked. If it is overcooked, then it will become hard.

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