Naan is a leavened Indian flatbread usually made with all-purpose flour or maida in tandoor ovens. It is one of the most popular Indian food, and the most preferred food when dining out.
Naan was rarely made at homes due to the non-availability of the tandoor, but these days people have started making them using ovens or iron skillets.
The yeasted dough is usually rolled in the form of a tear shape, water is applied on the surface and this surface is stuck on the hot iron griddle. When the dough starts bubbling up, the naan is cooked in the direct flame by turning the griddle and holding it directly above the flame. Then the butter is applied and served.
That was how I was taught in my North Indian Cookery class, years back. You can try this way if you are looking for a restaurant version. I prefer to cook it on the tawa coz I am not okay with burnt spots 🙂 .
The most common types of naan that you find in restaurants are butter naan and garlic naan. Stuffed naans are also available.
Honestly, I never preferred naan while dining out. But it was always in the menus of parties and get-to-gathers. Not that I did not like naan. Just that, by the time I finished it would become so tough and rubbery, that it became a pain to finish it off.
At least in most restaurants, it was like that. Some restaurants did use baking powder, to keep it soft. And it’s a fact that naan made with plain flour is good only when had hot or warm. I used to wonder why people are getting so hooked onto it when obviously it becomes hard to consume halfway through. I know most of you will not subscribe to my viewpoint 🙂 .
There was this friend of mine who was so much in love with it, that she cannot stop herself from ordering naan at the restaurant. And every time after having it she would get a severe toothache. She would put up with it and pop a pill before bed, but she will not stop having naan 😀 .
My ordeal with naan began sometime back when my younger one fell in love with it. It was always naan and butter chicken masala for him at the restaurant. And when we were not dining out, he wanted it ordered at home. The black burnt spots on the naan were a matter of huge concern for me.
Naan is not an everyday food, and so to make it healthy for him I started trying out whole wheat naans. Finally, I did succeed 🙂 . I never felt the need to use maida or all-purpose flour, coz this is so good. And the best thing is it does not become tough or rubbery when cold.
This is my own version. It’s so simple and easy. Try it and you will keep making it frequently.
Whole wheat Naan
- 2 cups wholewheat flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp yeast
- ½ tsp honey
- 2 tbsp curd/yogurt
- 1 tbsp milk powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 -1 tsp kalonji or nigella seeds
- butter for brushing
- Proof the yeast in half cup of warm water and ½ tsp of honey.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, take the flour, sugar, salt, kalonji, milk powder, curd and the remaining half cup of water. Mix well with a ladle. If you do not have a stand mixer, put the flour on the countertop, add all the dry ingredients first and incorporate. Make a well in the centre and add the water and curd. Mix well.
- Add the proofed yeast and mix well till there is no dry flour.
- If using a stand mixer, knead with the dough hook for 2-3 minutes on setting 2. Then add the coconut oil, and continue kneading for about 5 minutes. Knead with the hand for 8-10 minutes if you are not using a stand mixer. The dough will be sticky. Add the coconut oil in between the kneading process. You may add a bit of flour if the dough is too sticky.
- When the dough becomes tacky, transfer to an oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place till it doubles in size. I normally prefer to keep it in the stand mixer itself for rising.
- After it doubles in volume punch it down. Can you see the gluten strands formed? Now gently knead a few times to redistribute the gases.
- Pinch balls the size of a tennis ball, and roll on a board using rolling pin to about ¼th of an inch. Cut into 3 portions.
- Transfer 1 piece to the hot tawa or skillet. When bubbles start forming on the surface, flip over. Apply butter generously and cook on both sides, till golden brown specks are formed. Remove from the skillet and sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves on the naan. The naan usually puffs up well.
- Serve with Butter chicken masala or paneer butter masala.
- You can also make garlic naan , by spreading chopped garlic randomly on top of the rolled out naan, and then rolling out one more time so that it gets stuck on the surface.
Storing leftover dough
- The leftover dough can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- When ready for use, just keep it out for half an hour. No need to knead. Pinch the dough, roll out and make naans as usual.
- It also freezes well, just that you have to thaw completely to activate the yeast.
- This is definitely not the authentic version but for my family its the best of all.
- I have purposely used coconut oil when kneading as anyways lots of butter will be applied while cooking. You can replace it with butter or any other oil of your choice.
- You can opt to replace the milk powder with milk. In that case, replace half a cup of water with half a cup of milk. Or you can omit the milk and milk powder altogether and just use plain water.
- Kalonji is generally strewn on the surface and gently pressed down, but I prefer this method so that it is mixed thoroughly in the dough. Kalonji or black seeds are considered very good for health, so this is one way of consuming them.
- But if you are not sure of kalonji/black seeds, reduce it to a minimum of 1/4 tsp, when you are attempting naan for the first time.
- You can double or triple the recipe as per your need.
- In the restaurants, they make a big sized tear-shaped naan and cut it into two pieces. So if you order 1 naan it comes with two pieces or sometimes three pieces. When making at home since we do not have such a big girdle/tawa, I prefer to roll it out big and cut into pieces as fits my skillet/tawa.
- This time I used 24 mantra organic wholewheat flour. For people in Qatar it is available at LuLu hypermarket.
From now on enjoy guilt-free naans and every time you have them think of me 🙂
You may also like my other breakfast recipes