Naan bread is a type of flat bread from Persia and Indian that is a great accompaniment to curry. Indian restaurant naan bread is amazing, but that is partly due to the fact that most of them use a tandoor oven for cooking them which creates an amazing char, but still has a soft and perfectly cooked centre. If you can get naan bread in a supermarket, it will be a very poor facsimile, and most likely quite dry. However making really great tasting naan bread at home isn’t that hard.
The secret to making really tasty naan bread is ghee and a really hot a grill (broiler). Ghee is basically clarified butter, which means that the milk solids have been removed from the butter fat. It originates from the Indian sub-continent and Persia. You can make it yourself, but it doesn’t cost that much to buy, and it lasts forever, even when not in the fridge. By removing the milk solids from the butter somehow increases the buttery-ness and sweetness of ghee, which is why you should really go the little extra mile to use it for making naan at home. It makes such a difference. You can find ghee in the ethic aisle of most large supermarkets.
Basic Naan Recipe
For other types of naan bread see below. You can make the basic naan dough by hand, a bread machine, or food mixer, however you will have to pull the dough into shape by hand and cook it in a tandoor, if you have one, or a very hot grill (broiler).
- 0.5 cup (120ml) of water
- 5 tbsp of plain yoghurt
- 2.5 cups (340g) of white bread flour
- 2 tbsp ghee (or clarified butter), melted
- 2 tsp liquid honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp of dry active yeast
If using a bread machine, add the ingredients to the pan as per your machines instructions and use a dough setting. Alternately mix the water, yoghurt, 1 tbsp of ghee, honey, salt, flour and yeast together to form a dough. Knead the dough for about 5 mins until it is smooth and uniform. Cover the dough and allow it to rest somewhere warm for about an hour or until it has doubled in size. Turn the grill (broiler) to its hottest setting. Separate the dough into 3 equal pieces. Using floured hands stretch the dough into a flat-ish naan shape roughly 10″ x 6″ (25cm x 15cm). Place the naan on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with some melted ghee.
Place the naan directly under the grill. It should immediately start to puff up a little and maybe start to char. Cook for about 1.5 to 2 minutes. Brush with some more melted ghee and place somewhere warm until ready to eat.
For even better naan bread you could use a pre heated pizza stone to help increase the heat of the grill or even build your own outside tandoor oven made from a large terracotta flower pot like Alton Brown.
Garlic and Coriander Naan
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp of black onion seeds (other names include nigella, kalonji or habbat al-barakah)
- 2 tbsp of cilantro (fresh coriander), chopped
Follow the basic naan recipe, but add the garlic, ground coriander and black onion seeds to the dough before kneeding. Once the dough has proved fold the cilantro (fresh coriander) into the dough. Cook as the basic naan recipe.
- 0.5 cup (125ml) of finely chopped almonds, desiccated coconut and sultanas (golden raisins)
Follow the basic naan recipe. Once the dough has proved fold the chopped almonds, desiccated coconut and sultanas into the dough. Cook as the basic naan recipe.
- 5oz (150g) of cooked spiced lamb mixture – Try the recipe for Lamb Kofta Kebabs
Follow the basic naan recipe. Once the dough has proved, divide the dough into portions. Stretch the dough into larger pieces than for the basic naan recipe, add some meat to the middle of dough and fold it in half. Cook as the basic naan recipe.