What is the perfect accompaniment to a traditional slow cooked veg-non veg meal?
The Naan, of course!
The naan is a variety of Indian flat bread that uses a proofing and leavening agent and is cooked in a traditional tandoor.
There are many methods to make it, with yeast or without yeast. The naan turns out fluffy and tasty in the recipes that use yeast and you also need to proof the dough for a lesser amount of time. But, not many of us use yeast in everyday cooking or even stock it at home.
I assure you that the without yeast method turns out delicious and is super easy to make at home. Yes, without the traditional tandoor. All you need is an cast iron tava/skillet (the result is much better in this as compared to the non stick pan)
This is how I make my traditional garlic naan.
GARLIC NAAN (with onion seeds)
For the naan
2 cups all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup sour curd (if you do not have sour curd then just use regular)
2 tbsp refined oil
1 tsp garlic powder/ finely minced garlic
Water for kneading the dough
For the garlic butter
3 tbsp butter
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced finely
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp onion seeds (kalonji) optional
1 tsp sesame seeds (white or black) optional
Note – this recipe makes eight naans in total. If you want more then tweak the recipe accordingly
- Making the dough– In a large mixing bowl combine the all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, garlic powder/minced garlic, sour curd, oil and knead that into a dough with some water. Add water only as per need. The dough needs to be kneaded into a smooth-ish consistency (that should take about 7-8 minutes). Pat the dough with some oil. Grease a bowl with some oil, drop the dough into it and cover with a wet cloth. Keep this aside in a warm place to proof for minimum 2-3 hours.
- The baking soda and powder will do their work in this time and the dough will double up in size. Now, this is your basic dough for the naan.
- To make the garlic butter, simply combine all ingredients together. Make sure that you use melted butter.
- After 2-3 hours you will find that your dough has doubled in size. Punch it down and knead it again till it comes back to its original size. At this stage it will feel spongy and slightly elastic.
- Pinch the dough into 8 equal sized balls.
- To make the naans we need an iron pan or a skillet. Preferably use one with a handle attachment. My iron tava does not have a handle so that makes it a tad difficult for me when I flip it over. There is always the danger that I may burn my hand. Note – we need a cast iron tava/skillet only. Do not use a non-stick one. Most Indian households use a cast iron tava for making chapattis. That is what we need here too.
- Heat your tava and reduce the heat to low. Keep it ready before you roll out the dough.
- To roll the dough into the shape of a naan you can either use a greased kitchen counter top and rolling pin. Or, you could (like I do), sprinkle some flour on the kitchen counter top and on the rolling pin and use that.
- Keep your garlic butter ready in a small bowl on one side. On another side keep a bowl of tap water.
- Take the first ball and roll it. A point to note is that we are not going to roll this like a chapatti or a tortilla. It does not need to be round in shape or even on all sides of its edges. Remember the naans that we eat at restaurants? Are they even? No…right? so, to roll the dough just roll it twice – once lengthwise and once breath wise. That is enough. If any particular side is a lot thicker than the other then you may roll it a bit on that side but otherwise, leave it.
- Smear some tap water on one side of the rolled out naan and lay the naan on the hot tava by keeping the side with the smeared water at the bottom. Press down gently with your finger tips (gently, mind you) so that the naan sticks to the hot tava. The water will help it to stick. Cook this on a low heat, uncovered for about a minute. A tip – How to know if your naan is ready to be cooked on the other side? It’s simple – just look for air bubbles appearing under the naan on the tava side. Remember we smeared water on that side? On the hot tava the water will evaporate and create bubbles. That’s how you know it’s time to flip the tava.
- To cook the naan on the top side DO NOT TAKE OUT THE NAAN AND FLIP IT ON THE TAVA. THAT’S A NO. What you have to do is to smear some garlic butter (as much as you like) on the top side of the naan and then gently invert the hot tava directly on to the flame of the burner.
Does this create a mess? Yes, it sure does but not much. And, you can clean up easily afterwards. Now, why I recommend using a tava with a handle for this is so that it makes it easier to invert it over the flame. Also, makes it easy for you to move the tava around (shift it slightly) to ensure even cooking on all sides of the naan. If you do not shift the tava then the flame will burn the middle portion of the naan and the sides will not get golden or crispy.
- Once the naan turns golden, put your tava back in the original cooking position. Gently pry the naan off the tava with the help of a flat spatula and smear some more garlic butter on top.
- That’s it! That is your naan done.
- Serve this hot with some chicken curry or paneer makhani. For the chicken curry recipe check this – https://onsonalstable.com/dhaba-style-chicken-curry/ , for paneer makhani check this – https://onsonalstable.com/paneer-makhani/)
Note – if you have some dough left over the simply pack it in an airtight box and refrigerate. But, before using it again, bring it out and bring it to room temperature. Knead it again for a few minutes to make it elastic again and then use.