I’ve been on a naan kick lately, ever since I picked up the frozen bag of the Indian flatbread for dinner the other night. And when my last bread ran out and I didn’t have it in me to drive to the nearest Trader Joe’s, I decided to make them in my own kitchen.
I found this simple recipe with hundreds of raving reviews at my go-to site, allrecipes.com, and went to work! I absolutely love all aspects of bread making, from mixing to kneading to baking, but I particularly enjoy the baking part especially as the temperature drops outside. There is nothing more cozy than enjoying the smell of homemade bread baking slowly in the oven.
There is really nothing different between making naan and its Italian cousin in pizza dough, except that you cook the former on a grill, as opposed to an oven. Although there is no traditional, warm and fuzzy feelings that you get from baking it in the oven, the room will still be filled with wonderful aroma of freshly-baked bread. I also like the fact that you can make naan at any size you like – from one giant flatbread to an individual size, like I did today.
Here’s my version of homemade naan! Trust me, these flatbreads are amazing and addicting! I made about 20 mini breads and gave some to my mother and my sister (sharing is caring) after I had my own share.
Inspired by recipe on Allrecipe.com but changed slightly
1 (1/4 oz) package of dry yeast
1 cup luke warm water
1/4 cup evaporated cane sugar juice (Regular white sugar works just fine too)
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2-1/2 to 3 cups bread flour
In a large bowl, mix the yeast and water and let it sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy. Mix in the sugar, milk, egg, sea salt, and flour to the yeast mixture. In a stand mixer with a dough hook, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth. The dough should be pretty soft. You can do this by hand as well, by kneading the dough on a lightly flowered surface for about 10 minutes. (Note: The original recipe from the Allrecipe site calls for 4-1/2 cups bread flour which will be way too much. I reduced the amount to 2-1/2 cups, and the dough came out soft and perfect.)
Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to an oiled glass bowl. Put a damp towel on top and let it rest until the dough doubles in size, for about an hour. If you don’t have a towel, simply wet two pieces of paper towel and cover the bowl with them. The size will increase faster if you put the bowl in a warmer place, like on top of the unheated stove, or even on top of a working dryer!
Once the dough doubled in size, punch it to release gas (stress reliever!). Knead the dough for about 2 minutes. Tear a small piece of the dough (about the size of a golf ball) and roll it in your hand. Put the ball on a sheet pan. Repeat until balls are formed using all the dough. Let the balls rest with the wet towel, for about 30 minutes, or until they, again, double in size.
Heat the grill on a medium high heat and oil it lightly with olive oil. Flatten the ball using a palm of your hand and place it on the hot grill. Flatten the dough thin if you like the naan crispy, and thicker if you like it slightly fluffy and dough-y.
Cook each flattened dough on a grill until grill marks form. While one side is cooking, brush the other side with olive oil. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the dough is completely cooked through. Repeat until all doughs are cooked.
Serve immediately, or wrap them in an aluminum foil and toss them in a freezer. Simply pop them in the oven, without defrosting, when you’re ready to eat them. You can also reheat them on the same grill you cooked them in.
Indian Pizza (pictured on top of the post):
I took the cooked naan and made it into an Indian pizza, inspired by Aarti’s recipe for lunch. Since I didn’t have many of the ingredients Aarti called for in her version (like paneer, tandoori spice, etc.), I improvised by mixing non-fat yogurt with store-bought tomato sauce together, and adding crushed garlic and curry powder for the Asian inspiration, and smeared it on top of a naan. Although it was a poor man’s version of her Indian Pizza, the result was a spectacular meal with unique flavor of curry powder and tangy yogurt!
Sprinkle shredded Mozzarella cheese, thinly-sliced onion, and simply bake in the 450 degree F oven for about 7 minutes until cheese is melted. I piled my pizza with fresh Italian parsley for freshness! 🙂