Naan: The Indian Flatbread

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I’m sure you all have heard about one of the most beloved bread, if not, the most beloved bread in India…the Naan bread!

If not…

Well…

Welcome to the Indian Cuisine, where naan bread is on almost every single restaurant menu and, is one of the most popular items on the list. It’s roots dig deep back all the way in 1500’s, where the naan bread used to be served only to the Mughal royalties at the time, which soon became one of their favourite dish alongside kebabs (Cafe Asia).  Many still believe to this day that naan bread was actually invented by the Persians, as that is where the word naan, is derived from the Persian word of “non”, which means bread. (DESIblitz).

Now…lets talk about the fun part of how naan breads are made:

Traditionally naan breads are made in their special oven called a tandoor. These tandoor’s are not only the home for naan breads, but, also host a variety of other Indian dishes such as chicken tikka and tandoori chicken. To see how Naan breads are made in a traditional way at most restaurants, watch this short clip by clicking here. However, naan breads could also be made at home in an oven, when set on broil mode.

Before we plunge ourselves into the secret of making a delicious homemade naan bread, here’s a fun fact for everyone: Did you know, that there are more than a dozen different varieties of naan bread? The ingredients and cooking procedures below are the basic steps for a regular naan bread. But, if you want to be adventurous, and spice up things a little bit, click here!

Today, I made lunch for my family which includes: naan bread, chickpea curry, and some seasoned potatoes alongside mint dip (chutney). I will break everything down into individual parts, but for now, lets look at the ingredients and steps for our delicious naan bread!

The ingredients for a naan bread are as follows:

  • All purpose flour – 3 cups
  • Warm milk – 3/4 cup
  • Yogurt – 1/2 cup
  • Instant yeast – 2 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Grated Garlic – 2 tbsp
  • Nigella seeds – 2 tsp
  • Finely chopped cilantro leaves

Method:

  • Sift flour along with salt and baking powder.
  • Put sifted flour, sugar and yeast in the mixing bowl.
  • Add yogurt and warm milk and start mixing on 1st speed for 2 minutes (I’m using a KitchenAid mixer).
  • Mix on speed 2 for 3-4 minutes.
  • Cover the dough and leave at warm place to rise (double the size). It takes approximately an hour and a half to rise up perfectly.
  • Divide the dough into small sized balls.
  • Roll the small sized ball with a rolling pin into a circular shape. To get a teardrop shape, simply place the naan on the palm of one hand, and stretch the other end of the elastic dough.
  • Season the naan with nigella seeds, garlic, and cilantro leaves.
  • Turn the oven on to the broil mode, and cook the Naan for 5-6 minutes.
  • Take out the naan, when it’s sides start turning brown.
  • Serve hot with a pat of butter on top.

Now that we have our flatbread good to go, lets take a look at the dish that it is most commonly served with…chickpea curry; or, as us Indians like to call it, chole! Chickpea curry is most commonly served with a kulcha: a thinner flatbread derived from the naan bread, which is more relevant in Northern India, as supposed to the naan bread which was only a huge success for the royalties in the southern parts of the country (The Indian Express). No matter the flatbread, the recipe for delicious chickpea curry is always the same. Here is a short clip of how it is made, before we dive down into other nitty-gritty details!

As a second item on the plate, I cooked some seasoned potatoes. The reason for this item is very simple: we love the savoury flavour with our flatbread. A simple dish as this one, requires simple ingredients and an even simpler cooking procedure! The potatoes were boiled, and seasoned with cumin seeds, parsley, basil, and cilantro leaves.

Lastly, virtually all Indian savoury dishes are incomplete without some sort of mint dip which we call chutney. This dip is a combination of cilantro leaves, mint leaves, lemon juice, onions, chopped green chillies, and salt all blended together. As per everything, additional toppings could be added for taste! (Mint dip recipe).

With the last bit of finishing touches, viola! Your hot and sizzling naan bread, with chickpea curry, seasoned potatoes and some mint dip is served!

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Thank you all for reading the blog!

Hope you all have a Naanlicious experience!

Narinder

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