Thursday, September 16, 2010


Having successfully made this twice now, I thought I’d share one of my newest favorite recipes. I’ve heard that the dough freezes well, so I have every intention of getting on top of things this weekend and making some little frozen naan-balls for next week or beyond. Once the dough is made the cooking is incredibly fast (and the bread is so good hot), so it seems best to make the dough ahead, but cook the bread right before eating. Mmmmm….

Basic Oven-Grilled Leavened Breads (Tandoori Naan)
Adapted from 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (but you can get away with 1 tsp)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water (about 110F)
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
all-purpose flour for coating and dusting

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water and set aside about 5 minutes. Mix in the yogurt and oil.

Place the flour and salt in a food processor and mix. With the motor running, pour the yeast mixture into the work bowl in a thin stream and process until the flour gathers into a ball. Be careful not to over-process the dough! Add a little more flour if you need, but it’s better to have a slightly sticky dough than a dry one, particularly as you’ll be dusting the little balls with flour before you roll them out. Collect the dough into a ball and put it in a covered bowl in a warm place for at least an hour. (Batra recommends longer rising times, but I can never plan ahead that far and an hour or hour and a half seems to be plenty.)

Divide the dough into 10-12 balls. (At this point, depending on how long your broiler takes to heat up, you probably want to turn it on to get it warmed up.) Coat each dough ball in turn in flour and roll it out so that it is slightly thinner than your desired bread thickness. Place the naan on a baking sheet and brush them with olive oil (or water) to keep them from drying in the oven. Place the baking sheet under the broiler until small brown spots appear on the top surface. This will happen quickly – after only a minute or so! With a spatula, turn each naan over and put them back under the broiler until the other side is golden. (Or turn one naan over with your hand, run your fingers under cold water, and then get the spatula to turn the rest…)

You can baste them lightly with butter, but they are pretty good plain as well. Batra also presents some variations that I’d like to try, with extras that can either be added to the dough or made into a paste to baste the bread with after cooking: 3 large cloves of garlic and 1/4 teaspoon tumeric; 1 small onion, 1-2 fresh chile peppers, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds or kalonji; 1 teaspoon each fenugreek, mint, and curry leaves, 1/4 teaspoon ajwain seeds (ground), 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika.


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