Saturday, April 13, 2013

Naan

 
Naan is an Indian bread that I've been wanting to try making at home for a long time. It's traditionally made in a Tandoor which is a hot clay oven. Obviously a commoner like me won't have a clay oven at home, so we usually had them at a restaurant. But my mom used to make a similar one at home on a stove top when I was a kid. It used to be one of her specials served with keema matar, made specially for her children. :)
I tried a recipe from vahchef. He shows two options - an oven technique and a stove top technique. Since my stove is electric, I couldn't follow that one, although he says its the better tasting one. I opted for the oven technique and it turned out good anyway. I may try the stove top version when I get a grill.
I served it with Shahi Paneer for dinner.

Ingredients:
All purpose flour (Maida) - 3 cups
Instant dry yeast - 1 sachet
Water - 1/2 cup (lukewarm)
Milk - 1 cup
Egg - 1 (optional)
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Oil - 2 tbsp
Extra flour - for rolling out

Method:
Sieve the flour into a bowl.
Prepare the yeast mixture first. In a small bowl filled with 1/2 cup lukewarm water, add the instant yeast. Stir with a plastic spoon to mix, the yeast will start to get activated. To help this, add in the salt and sugar. Let rest for 5 minutes. Add the milk, and egg if using. Egg will make the naan softer. Also add a tablespoon of oil in the mixture.
Pour the yeast mixture a little at time into the bowl of flour and knead with your hands. The video shows that you need to get a very sticky and smooth dough, so its ok if its sticks a lot on your hands. I did not have to use the entire yeast mixture to get the consistency shown in the video (that's why I use only 1/2 cup water in this recipe). Drizzle some oil over the top so that it doesn't dry when letting it rest. Rest for about 1/2 hour or even an hour, to let the dough rise. In the meantime, I prepared the curry that I would serve with it.
Preheat your oven to the highest possible temparature (broiler mode). Flour your work surface and your hands. Start pulling out portions of the sticky dough and form a rough ball with it. The extra flour will help prevent it from sticking to your hands. Once you've made the balls, cover them with a kitchen towel and rest again for about 10 to 20 mins. Then take eash dough ball and flatten them out with your palm. Keep tossing them between your palms like you would a pizza dough. The video shows you how to do this. Beware he's goofy, so it's hard to take him seriously at first lol!



Place them on a non-stick cookie sheet or on an oiled pan. If you like garlic naan, spread minced garlic over the naan at this stage. Bake it in the oven for 2 and a half minutes. Anymore and you will burn the naan (Oven temperatures may differ so keep a close eye on the first batch to calculate what works best). Take it out and flip it, and place it back in the oven for only 30 seconds. Get them out and immediately dab salted butter on it, if you like butter naan.
Serve hot with your favorite curry.
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