Naan is best served warm. It can be kept covered by a large bowl for a few minutes after baking, but avoid keeping it there too long, since this leads to excess moisture buildup and softening. If you want to make your own naan follow this one delicious recipe.
- Dissolve the sugar by adding it to water which has been warmed in the microwave for one minute. Then add the yeast and allow to sit during preparation, which should take no more than 10-15 minutes.
- Pour the flour into a medium-sized bowl and sprinkle on the salt and seed. Make a small indentation in the center to hold the yeast mixture. Pour on the yeast liquid and allow the dough to soak it up for a moment.
- Knead the dough into a ball. Place it into a large bowl and cover with a clean, damp cloth for 2-3 hours. During this time the dough should rise as a result of the action of the yeast.
- Now separate the larger ball into smaller ones 2-3 inches in diameter.
- Coat another bowl with ghee (a type of butter) and roll the balls around to coat them. Lay them onto a wooden cutting board.
- Pre-heat the oven to 450° F / 230° C while you perform the next step.
- Now flatten the naan dough balls, making the edges a little thinner than the center. Bake for 10 minutes, monitoring carefully at 3 minute intervals to look for excess charring of the rims. If that happens, try covering the rim with a bit of aluminum foil the next time.
Like the cuisine of most cultures, bread is central to Indian food. It can be a meal by itself, but more often it is a complement to a main dish. It can be eaten plain, buttered with ghee, or even stuffed with mutton, as in keema naan. But however it is prepared, it is delicious, when done well.
There are several traditional methods for improving the odds of that outcome.
The basic recipe calls for mixing white flour with salt, then cooking in a tandoor, a traditional Indian clay baking oven. Yeast is typically mixed in to make the bread rise, though baking soda is sometimes substituted today. Once the dough has risen, it is divided, rolled, then flattened. Sometimes yoghurt or milk are added to provide more bulk.
But that is only the starting point of a fine naan. Surrounded by delicate scents like khus, the bread takes on some of the wonderful aroma of that natural oil. Additions such as raisin and nuts help elevate the experience, to make a variety called Peshawari. Central to it all, though, are the magnificent spices of India that often make their way into a good naan.
(The preparation time does not include standing time)