Naan bread

Soft and chewy Naan bread is irresistable when served warm with Indian Dal or other curry dishes. After experimenting, I came up with this Naan recipe, which consists of a blend of fine wholewheat and white flours, yoghurt and poppy seeds.

I use wholewheat flour because it’s better for your health and when sifted with white flour, you still get that soft texture that’s typical to Naan bread. The poppy seeds give a mild crunch and nutty taste and increase the nutritional value of the Naan. For best results, the wholewheat flour should be fine and not grainy or course.

These Naans are easy to make, even if you’ve never made bread before. There’s no baking and very little kneading involved. You don’t need a tandoori oven. You only need a few bowls, a rolling pin, a skillet, a standard stove top, some background music and your hands. It’s that simple. They also freeze well.

When the Naans are done, the tops can be brushed with melted butter or garlic butter. I like them natural – without any additional butter, garlic, spices or herbs.

Here’s the recipe and bon appétit!

Naan Bread

Makes 8 to 10 Naans

Level: easy

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Fine wholewheat flour should be soft and not course or grainy.

Ingredients

For the yeast:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 7 grams (1 heaping tbsp) dry yeast

For the dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups fine wholewheat flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural unsweetened yoghurt
  • 5 tablespoons omega-3 vegetable oil
  • Some extra warm water on the side (about 1/4 cup) to add when kneading the dough*
  • Olive oil for brushing and frying

For the tops:

  • Pink Himalayan or sea salt (option)

Procedure

In a small bowl prepare the yeast. Add the sugar to the warm water. Then add the dry yeast and stir. Cover and let stand until frothy – about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, salt and baking soda. Add poppy seeds. Mix with large spoon and make a well in the middle. Once the yeast is foamy and frothy, add the yoghurt, vegetable oil and yeast in the well.

Mix the ingredients and then knead* briefly by hand until the dry and wet ingredients are blended. Shape the dough into a big ball. The ball of dough should feel moist, soft and slightly sticky.

*When kneading, you may need to add some extra warm water, a tablespoon at a time, because ingredients aren’t always the same and some yoghurts are less fluid than others.

Brush the surface of the dough ball with a little olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to rest and rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.

Flour a large flat working surface, knead the dough ball a little more and divide it into 10 portions (or 8 portions for bigger Naans). With floured hands, roll each portion into a ball and then with rolling pin, roll out each ball into an oval- shaped bread, about 1/4 inch thick. To prevent sticking, lightly sprinkling the dough and rolling pin with flour.

Heat a large non-stick pan with olive oil. When the oil is hot and smoking, turn the heat down to medium-high. Brush the top of the shaped Naan with some water and with spatula, gently put the Naan, wet side down, into the hot oil. Fry for one minute or so. When you see bubbles appear on the surface and dark streaks on the bottom, flip the Naan over, cover the pan and fry for 30 seconds or so.

Remove when done and put on a platter. Here, you can brush the tops with melted butter or garlic butter. I omit that part and sprinkle some ground Himalayan or sea salt on the warm tops.

Proceed to rolling and frying the next Naan.  Enjoy!

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Adapted from eCurry.

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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