Homemade Naan Bread
Bread again I know, but the simple dough is so versatile and a quick comfort food. The homemade naan bread is no more difficult than basic bread recipe. Wait a minute, I know not everyone has a tandoori oven in the kitchen or the back yard but that should not stop you. I confess that I haven’t managed to convince the wife yet that we need one in the garden to impress the friends and neighbours.
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Naan Bread The Origin
Today the word Naan has become synonymous with Indian cookery and especially a curry. Surprisingly the word “nan” originates from Middle Perisian and it wasn’t until 1979 the familiar word of Naan was established. Naan today literary means flat bread and can be associated with many cuisines of the world. The best ever naan bread I ever bought was in Stoke on Trent and made to order. The queue was usually outside the door but it was well worth the wait. I would buy at least 10 at a time and freeze what I did not use. I hope that they are as good today as they were, I have now moved away from the area hence the reason why I opt for the homemade naan.
Why Homemade Naan Bread
Everyone loves a Ruby Murray and I must confess that it was quite late in life that the eureka moment came. The dish I had to break my virginity was a lamb pasanda made with mild spices and almonds. Eventually I was adventurous enough to work my way through the menu to more spiced flavorful dishes. The lasting memory of that first Indian meal was mopping up the pasanda curry sauce with bread. In fact it was quite a liberating experience eating with ones fingers having been raised on the 1960’s table etiquette practices. The bread of course was the naan bread, but ignorance is not always bliss. So why no shop bought bread? well every time I do have one it leaves me feeling bloated, it must be the additives.
Homemade Naan Bread The Flour
A hot debatable subject according to some experts but it is quite easy to clear up. The best flour for the perfect homemade naan bread is the one you prefer. Experiment a little try the different variations after all another persons opinion is just “their opinion”. I use simple bread flour (Aldi) as it works well for me and my family. If you want to discover the complexities of the flour combinations there is a great article in the Guardian.
Homemade Naan Without a Tandoori
How to get the slight charred pieces and the dough to puff up just like they were in the tandoor. Madhur Jaffery prefers to use the oven, I prefer to use my naan pan. Any good large frying pan will more than suffice. The beauty of cooking them on the hob is that you can see the magic happen. Slowly the dough starts to rise a little, then a big air pocket puffs out the homemade naan bread. As soon as the first one is done the kids grab and tear it as if they were in Lord of the Flies.
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Homemade Naan the Additions
Well you have the naan dough all ready and rising but its just plain. No need to worry as you dont have to add the extra additions whilst making your dough up. You can add them after the dough has risen but the flavour will not mature into the fluffy dough. If you do add extras at the late stage ensure there is lots to make a punchy vibrant flavour. Nigella seeds, I just don’t like the flavour of them in my homemade naan bread. One of the reasons I no longer buy them from the supermarket.
Yes one of my favourites is garlic and coriander, each mouthful vibrant, bursting with fresh flavour. I have been know to add fresh chillies to bring out the zing. If you prefer the spice a little milder then add dried chilli flakes to a chunk of butter and gently heat in a pan. Around ten minutes is enough for the chilli flavour to infuse into the butter. Once the naan breads are cooked brush on your chilli butter. You could blend any dry spices and add them to the dough to add a different dimension to your naan breads.
You could stuff them, yes literally and I use my keema mince in mine. The presentation of my keema naan’s is work in progress, it looks like I have dropped them on the floor. They taste fantastic and when they look as good as they taste I will share them here.
- Bread Flour 500g (cheapest supermarket brand)
- Yeast (Packet 7g supermarket brand)
- Vegetable Oil ( A Slug)
- Sugar 1 tablespoon
- Salt 1 Teaspoon
- Natural Yoghurt 175 Ml
- Garlic 1 Bulb
- Coriander hand full (To Taste)
- Mint (Optional) handful
- Hot water (about 100ml)
Gather all the dry ingredients in a large bowl
Flour, salt, sugar, yeast
Mix well in the bowl with wooden spoon
Chop roughly a whole bulb of garlic and add to dry ingredients
Roughly chop coriander (including stalks) and add to dry mix
Do the same with the mint ( Its not needed but it does add another dimension)
Mix herbs, garlic well into flour
Add a slug of oil (I use vegetable oil) approx 3 tbls
Add water ( I use Boiling water to help it rise) about 100ml but its just by eye
Mix all together in mixing bowl with wooden spoon until all is combined
remove wooden spoon and then knead by hand in the bowl (5 mins kneading)
If your mixture is to wet as mine usually is add more flour when kneading until mixture is not tacky to touch. Keep kneading in the bowl as its easier
Once you have finished kneading the Naan dough cover with clingfilm, then cover with a towel/tea towel.
Leave for an hour or 2 until risen
Remove Naan bread dough onto floured surface
Chop a small piece of the large Naan bread dough and knead again ensuring you have enough flour so that the dough is not tacky to touch. (this will ensure it does not stick when cooking)
Place onto preheated griddle pan
Cook for about 3 minutes each side on a medium to high heat
Brush with melted butter or ghee to add extra authenticity, if your counting the calories then leave this step out. You can always use all water to mix the dough rather than the yogurt.
Some great dishes to eat your homemade Naan bread with
Got the urge to go further with your Indian cooking skills then this cooking class could be for you
About Little India Cookery Classes
Little India Cookery Classes enables its clients to take a little slice of Indian knowledge home with them, with cookery classes designed to give guests a better understanding of Indian cuisine. The company also acts as a restaurant, with a full menu of Indian curries and dishes available for fans of eastern cuisine to tuck into.