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This recipe for Naan comes from India and was commissioned to compliment the earlier published article entitled Indian Cooking . . . how did it become so popular?

The famous tandoor flat breads from North India are getting very popular in Europe, America and other parts of the world due to the influence of south Asian immigrants. It originated from Persia; the meaning of naan in Persian language is food.

It is cooked in central Asia and south Asia with different regional varieties. It resembles pitta bread and just like pitta bread it is leavened with yeast. In some modern recipes they use baking powder instead of yeast. Milk or yoghurt can be used to knead it. It is different from roti, which is cooked on a heavy bottom griddle. But at home it can be cooked on a griddle, non-stick pan or home oven. But for professional chefs, a tandoor is a must.

In different parts of south Asia it is cooked differently. Amritsari naan which is called Kulcha in the local language is stuffed with mashed potato, onion and spices. Keema naan is stuffed with minced meat (generally of lamb or mutton). Peshwari naan and Kashmiri naan are stuffed with dry fruits and raisins. It is served with different toppings of meat, vegetables or cottage cheese (paneer). Plain naan can be eaten with daals, vegetables or meat. One of the most popular combinations is butter naan with palak paneer. In many places it is eaten as a fast food.

The most popular form of naan in Britain is the south Asian version of naan and nigella is used in most recipes. It is a popular breakfast choice in Burma, usually eaten with tea or coffee. There are so many different recipes for making naan and one can experiment as per their taste.

Ingredients for Naan

Ingredients for making Naan in an oven:
1 cup white refined powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
½ cup milk
4 tbsp oil
½ tsp baking powder
1 egg
Nigella seeds

Ingredients for making Naan on a griddle or tawa:
¾ tsp yeast
4 cups wheat flour
Butter or ghee

How to make Naan in an oven:

  • Sieve the flour and mix with the baking powder and salt.
  • Mix the sugar, egg, milk and half of the oil in a separate bowl and then mix in the flour and knead to make a soft dough. Add water if necessary. Add the remaining oil and knead again, cover and leave for 20 minutes.
  • Knead again and leave it aside for 2 hours.
  • When you are ready to eat the naan, turn the oven on to the highest temperature. Sprinkle nigella seeds (or cumin seeds) onto a baking sheet. Make balls of dough, roll it into an oval shape and bake in the oven until golden brown.

How to make Naan on a griddle or tawa:

  • Mix the yeast with luke warm water until it dissolves. Mix in the wheat flour and salt, no need for kneading just mix with fingers and leave it covered for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, it will be doubled and a bit sticky.
  • Take the dough and make balls and roll it with dry flour in the desired shape.
  • Put a non-stick griddle or tawa on a high flame, grease it with ghee or butter then put the naan on it carefully and cook it on both sides until golden brown.

Serve with butter chicken, palak paneer or any of your favourite dishes.

"Just a comment about the quantity of ingredients in this series of recipes, I would say that most people add in different amounts according to how they like it. Recipes are either normally passed on or people learn by experimenting with different amounts of spices until they get the taste they like, for example, I know I put different amounts of thngs into curries than my family and friends do, everyone does tend to work out how much they like."

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Harpreet Virdee



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