What is it about the smell of freshly made bread of any sort that makes me weak at the knees? While I was in Mumbai I was exposed to a variety of culinary delights but for me simple foods are often the best and fresh butter naan is hard to pass up!
This recipe is easy, yeast-free and results in soft, buttery and moreish naan! While traditionally cooked in a tandoor, I find my everyday non-stick frying pan does the job quite nicely, a crepe pan also works well too. I also like to use a glass lid as a cover during the cooking process because it just makes it easier to see what is going on and facilitates the even cooking of the naan. Of course you can use a regular lid will work too, just check the progress of your naan from time to time during the cooking process.
While naan is traditionally served with Indian dishes there is nothing stopping you from adding your own toppings and making something truly your own. I often make mine topped with cheese and a pinch of chilli powder or dried herbs and melted in the grill - and it tastes so good! It is also the perfect accompaniment to my scrumptious Butter Chicken recipe and can also be cut into quarters and served up on your dip platter - they taste great with my Hummus recipe too. If you were to make larger round naans I think it would also make great kebab bread too because it is soft and flexible enough to be rolled once cooked.
A wonderful trick I learnt when I was staying at the lovely Mahindra Resort in India was to add different chopped herbs and seeds into the dough as you roll it out - it adds so much more depth to the flavor of the bread, you can do the same with rotis too.
These naan can be frozen after cooked and defrosted as needed. Keep well wrapped and sealed in the freezer until needed
Don't be afraid to add flour as needed to prevent sticking when rolling out your dough
Ensure you have a clean plate with a cloth kitchen towel ready to cover your naan after cooking to keep them moist.
A well floured silicon baking mat makes a good surface to roll out your dough
YOU WILL NEED
2 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of baking soda
1/2 cup warm milk (I just pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds in a glass cup/bowl)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Some finely chopped coriander/mint/parsley/chillies/sesame seed/nigella seeds and/or herbs of your choice (optional)
1-2 heaped tablespoons melted butter or ghee (either works fine)
Small bowl with room temperature water
Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar into a large bowl making a well in the center.
Pour in the milk and yogurt and combine to form a soft dough. (I like to use a spatula to combine everything and then just use my hands at the end to bring it together into a ball.)
Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 2 hours.
After two hours, knead the dough gently for a couple of minutes. It should feel soft and springy.
Melt the butter and keep aside ready with a pastry brush.
Keep your chopped herbs, seeds ready in small bowls.
Divide dough into eight balls. Use some extra flour if you need to to keep the balls from sticking too much to your hands.
Flour your working surface.
Roughly flatten dough with fingers so it is a thick oval shape.
Sprinkle and lightly press in the herbs/seeds of your choice.
Sprinkle a little plain flour over the top and roll out into a thin oval-like shape - don't worry too much if the shape turns out a bit "rustic" but it should not be too thin or two thick - around 3mm/0.1 inches is fine.
Wet your fingers and sprinkle a little water over one side of the rolled out naan dough.
Heat a non-stick pan or crepe pan over medium-high heat and once it’s hot, place the naan wet side down and place a lid on the pan and cook until you see "bubbles" form on the top side of the dough or the under side has some brown spots.
Now turn over and cook on the other side uncovered.
Brush your naan with the reserved butter over both sides of the naan (this keeps it soft and moist).
Place a clean tea towel on a clean plate and place the cooked naan inside and wrap/cover with the tea towel to keep the naan warm and prevent it from drying out.
Repeat this process until you have finished making all the naan and then serve immediately or allow to cool and wrap tightly in foil or store in an airtight container store in freezer. When ready to use defrost, warm in microwave if necessary and use as needed.
MAKES 8 PIECES