Naan is a popular leavened flat-bread which most of us associate with the Asian cuisine- in particular, Indian cuisine and cuisines from the surrounding area.
Naan also holds its own place in my heart as it brings back fond memories of going to a mamak stall at ridiculously stupid early hours in the morning for a very, very late supper. This bread pairs well with the spicy, aromatic herbs and taste of all sorts of Indian curries, and especially, when it is freshly out of a tandoor oven, along side tandoori chicken. My absolute favourite naan, which I order every single time I visit Steven's Corner in Malaysia, is the Garlic Cheese Naan (think garlicky pizza with puffy, soft, luxurious naan bread as the "pizza" base). The Steven's Corner OUG branch is still the original place I go to for that particular naan!
Funnily enough, I only decided to make my own a long time ago whilst in Australia during a Caravan, Camping, Boating & Fishing expo. How weird, right? The chef on the day won us over with his Bush Spiced Naan Bread & Crusted Roo recipe and ever since, I have been using the recipe (simplified to accommodate what I already have at home) to make naan.
So, on weekends when we are out of bread at home (and when I actually find the motivation as I am that lazy!), this is a great simple, almost fool-proof way to make your own naan at home without a tandoor.
1 sachet or 1 tsp dried yeast
500g plain flour (I used 2 cups)
3/4 cup warm water
3 tsp sugar
1 beaten egg
2 tsp salt
1/4 oil (I used olive oil. Macadamia oil was used in the original recipe as it was the feature produce of the day. Any cooking oil should work fine.)
1/4 cup of yoghurt/milk*
3 tsp spice mix of your choice* (Especially in Australia, there are many bush spice mix available in grocery stores. If bush spice isn't available, get creative and mix your favourite mix of herbs or throw in some poppy/sesame seeds!)
*:What I did not use in this batch as I
was lazy didn't have any and wanted see the result without those ingredients.
1: Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar with 1/4 cup of the warm water, then add the dried yeast. Mix the yeast in and let it sit until froth appears.
Not the best looking image of frothed-up yeast. Looking at this still give me goosebumps.
2. Whilst waiting for the yeast to froth, I quickly beat up an egg in a separate bowl.
If your egg doesn't look like this, well.. I don't know what you did wrong. Seriously! Jokes.
3. In a big bowl, mix other remaining ingredients together and the started yeast. Knead dough for a couple of minutes, into a smooth ball.
Mine isn't perfect. Don't judge! If yours looks a bit rough, like mine, it's a sign that more flour could have been added (just don't add more than 3 cups in total). Yoghurt or milk does help for a smoother dough, from what I've heard.
4. Cover the bowl with the ball of dough (I used clingwrap) and leave it in a warm place until it has doubled in size (mine took 45 minutes to an hour).
5. Take the risen dough and a)If you are
bloody awful at measuring a perfectionist, you can attempt cutting equal portions of the dough. b) If you are like me, I just estimate and pull off chunks of dough as I go along. These portions are to be rolled into balls/spheres.
6. Dust a large chopping board, or any clean surface you are working on with a little bit of flour. Flatten the balls of dough with a rolling pin until they resemble small pizza bases.
Extra sprinkled flour helps the dough not to stick to surfaces. Don't over do it. I used half a tablespoon for each ball of dough.
7. Heat up a non-stick frying pan on medium to high heat. The original recipe said to use hot BBQ plates or a cast iron pan. I used one of those small non-stick frying pans you can easily get at any grocery market! No oil needed.
8. Once the pan has heated up, put those flattened dough into the pan. Again, the original recipe stated for it to be heated for no longer than 30 seconds maximum, assuming if you are using a scorchingly hot BBQ plate or cast iron pan. For me, on high heat, I decided to play it safe (didn't want the dough to be still raw) and 30 seconds on each side.
Just a heads-up that the dough will puff during cooking. I completely forgot about that and freaked me out for a second!
The End Result:
Burnt marks on my batch as I really seared these on high heat!
I found some of mine a bit dry as due to a number of factors - I rolled some of the dough quite thin and left it a tad too long in the frying process. But the rest were good! I mean, who doesn't like fresh, hot bread? Flat or not flat!? Especially with generous portions of butter!
For breakfast, I had this with Spicy Tuna Mayo (swear I have that with everything!) and some cheese or just some butter.
I definitely can't wait to make more variations of these in the near future!