Have you ever tried out a new recipe or technique that you were sure was going to fail? A time when, every step of the way you thought to yourself “there is no way this is going to turn out”?
And then it turns out perfect?
Somehow, someway, by some strange stroke of luck that’s what happened to me on my first attempt at making Naan. It was awesome :).
A week or two back my mom flew down to visit me for a weekend and she made a request of my boyfriend. By now, my family is well aware that my man is an awesome cook. Not only does he grill a mean steak, he is also a master of layering flavors to make a rich and complex dish (i.e. he also makes some amazing curries, even if the copious amounts of capsaicin occasionally burns off all the taste buds on my tongue).
I’m off topic. To make a long story short, my mom requested that my boyfriend cook her an Indian dish when she came to visit. For as long as I can remember, my mom has loved Indian food. When I was young, I was quite resentful of being forced to eat at Indian restaurants just to please my mom. At the time I pretty much stuck to white food. Not just white-person food, but white-ish colored food: mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets, buttered noodles. My palate simply could not handle those aggressive spices.
But oh, how things have changed. I would say for the better.
Anyways! Off topic again! My mom requested Indian food and I suggested that my man make her something that she is unlikely to find in restaurants. After some debate he settled on Shahi Paneer, a cashew based curry with fresh cheese. He used this recipe from Show Me the Curry for guidelines but doubled all the spices and made his own garam masala spice blend.
He planned to buy naan, but somehow I got the idea in my head to try and make it for myself. Part of the reason is simply that I like trying new things in the kitchen and I have some extra yeast on hand from making the bread from my previous post.
But another reason is that some part of me hoped that learning to make naan would impress my boyfriend’s family. He has warned me several times that his extended family has been somewhat, well, skeptical of his dating a white, American girl. I secretly hope that learning to make a few Indian dishes may endear me to them somewhat. Perhaps it will make up for the fact that I am an utter failure at pronouncing anything in any Indian language….
This naan recipe comes from Next Food Network Star’s Aarti Sequiera. I chose this for several reasons. 1.) It looks easy and doesn’t require me to turn on the oven. While the rest of America is freezing in the polar vortex, Los Angeles just declared an emergency drought situation due to the sunny, 70+ days. No-oven cooking is good. Also, it has great user reviews. 2.) I love Aarti. I followed her every week on Next Food Network Star. She has amazing recipes and I love her quirky personality. 3.) Probably most importantly, this recipe used yogurt in place of eggs. Not that I have anything against eggs. I just didn’t have eggs on hand. Work with what you have.
I had no idea how this would turn out so imagine how excited I was when this came out perfectly! I rolled these out wide and thin so they blackened nicely and bubbled up with those pretty little air pockets. I brushed a little butter and sprinkled on some garlic powder for some extra flavor.
Garlic Naan (adapted from Aarti Sequiera’s Naan)
Makes 12 flatbreads
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 cup hot water
- 3 Tb plain yogurt
- 2 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
- Melted butter for brushing
- Minced parsley
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, yeast, salt, baking powder, sugar and garlic powder.
- Add water, yogurt and olive oil.
- Gently mix with a fork until dough comes together slightly. Then continue to mix with your hands until dough comes together in a soft, slightly sticky but pliable dough. You want the dough to be sticky but if it seems impossible to work, add flour, 1 Tb at a time until dough is only slightly sticky.
- Cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place 2-4 hours (your kitchen should work just fine).
- After your dough has rested, separate your dough in to 12 equal portions with well-floured hands. Lightly coat each dough ball in flour. *NOTE*
- Using a well-floured surface and rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into an oval shape (technically it should be a “teardrop” shape, but I sort of failed at this). Dough should be 1/8 – 1/4-inch thick. *NOTE*
- Heat a large, dry cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s nearly smoking. Do not grease or butter your skillet! Have a large lid, melted butter and chopped parsley on hand.
- Gently lay one rolled naan on skillet and cook on high for 1 minute. Dough will start to bubble.
- After 1 minute, flip naan. Cover with the lid and cook for 30 seconds to a minute more.
- Remove from skillet and brush with a bit of butter and sprinkle with parsley.
- Repeat with each naan and serve immediately.
- These are definitely best right out of the pan, but if you plan to save these for later you can reheat them in the oven. Save the naans unbuttered. When you serve them, brush with a bit butter and reheat in a 350F oven for 5-7 minutes.
The original recipe says to divide the dough in to 6 equal portions, which makes huge naans. I opted for smaller, thinner naans.