Making Indian Naan at Home

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,, 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.

Homemade Naan
Inspired by recipe on 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! 🙂

Celebration Paarti with Aarti! Baked Samosas

I don’t think I have been this excited about a reality show winner since … I don’t know … I don’t really watch much of them. I watched the last several seasons of The Next Food Network Star and was very pleased with Amy and Melissa’s wins, but I was not emotionally invested in them.

In all honesty, I have been a bit disappointed with my then-favorite cable channel for a while now. It’s like when MTV stopped showing music videos and started showing game shows and other, non music-related programs in the 90s, Food Network has been spiraling down the wrong direction, in my opinion, by showing food competitions and other stupid programs that have nothing to do with cooking. Granted, I still enjoy some non-traditional “cooking” shows like Throwdown with Bobby Flay (Flay is super hot), Iron Chef (gotta respect those talented chefs), and Good Eats (the best show ever, in my opinion) that are still very respectable, but any shows that make contestants cook under pressure like this and this are just silly. I rarely watch Food Network anymore.

Then came an adorable little sweetheart Aarti Sequeira to the rescue, and got me glued to the channel all over again! I was so excited when she won the title of The Next Food Network Star, and although I haven’t really tried cooking Indian food in the past, I know that I would tune in to her show every week going forward to learn a new trick or two.  I love, love, love Aarti already and I know that she will be fantastic in her new endeavors!  I cannot wait to watch her pilot this Sunday!

For all the other Aarti fans out there, you probably already know that she is the host of a weekly online cooking / variety show called, “Aarti Paarti,” which she shoots with her equally adorable husband in their tiny but charming kitchen in Los Angeles (Culver City, I think). It is so quirky and funny, you have to check it out. The Aarti you see here are more relaxed and easy-going, I think, than the person you see on TNFNS (nerves, perhaps), but they are both lovable and Aarti Paarti is a guarantee good time. I watched all the episodes in one sitting and even though it cut my precious sleep time significantly, it was all worth it.

I just hope that Food Network will keep her quirky, wacky, slightly-odd style and not try to squeeze her into a mainstream mold just to gain some rating. I was already a little bummed that it even changed the name of the show from “Aarti Paarti” to “Aarti Party” but we’ll just have to wait and see.

To celebrate her win, I decided to cook my first Indian dish from one of my favorite Aarti Paarti episodes / recipes: Baked Samosas! I am almost certain that this recipe will be featured on her new show.

I changed the recipes for the dough and the filling pretty significantly (especially the filling, which has no resenblence of her mango-cilantro goodness) based on what were available in my fridge but the results were heavenly. Here are the recipes that I used / modified. I improvised a lot and since I have no knowledge of an Indian cuisine, I hope I didn’t mess things up, or offended any Indian cooks out there by screwing with the authenticity!

Baked Samosas
(Click here for Aarti’s original recipe. I highly recommend that you try Aarti’s version instead of mine … 😆 )  This recipe makes 8 large samosas, with some leftover filling.

Pastry Dough
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup non-fat yogurt
1/4 olive oil
A pinch of salt

For Filling
(Please note that his is completely different form Aarti’s original recipe)
2 medium-size potatoes, boiled
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/3 cups green peas, defrosted if using frozen
1 corn
6 – 8 oz. chicken breast, poached and shredded
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 475 degree F. Put the flour, yogurt, olive oil and salt together in a bowl and mix well. Knead the dough for about five minutes. Let the dough sit for about 10 minutes.

1. Okay, here’s an embarrassing confession. Instead of the poached chicken, I used shredded chicken from a can! My mother gave it to me a few weeks ago because she wanted to make sure that I’m eating well (gotta love moms!). I didn’t think I would ever use it but when I realized that I had no more chicken breast left and I was too lazy to go buy one, I decided to crack open this baby up and give it a try. It wasn’t great but it was still edible. If you have the chance to use the “real” chicken, I recommend that you do!

2. Add potatoes, onion, shredded chicken, green peas, corn, and all the spices in a bowl and mix well.

3. Cut the dough in four.

4. Roll each dough in a round shape. You can change the size depending on the size of samosas you want but I liked mine big so I made a circle about 7 x 7 inches. Cut the dough in half.

5. Put the filling on one side. Bring the top edge to the middle of the dough.

6. Water the dough and bring the bottom edge to the top to close out the opening.

7. Pinch the opening and make sure that they are closed.

8. Close the openings around the dough by pressing it with a fork. Brush the pastry lightly with olive oil.

9. Put the samosas on a baking pan and bake in the 475 degree F oven for about 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 degree F and bake for another 10 minutes.

10. Enjoy them while they’re still hot! 🙂  Mmm … they were so delicious, I ate three for lunch this afternoon.  This is my first Indian-inspired dish and absolutely loved it.  The curry powder and cumin gave a very, distinct flavors!  I will definitely try this, and many more of Aarti’s recipes soon!

Congratulations, Aarti!  YIPPEEEEEE!