Naan is leavened, tandoor baked (oven baked) flatbread popularly eaten in India, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, the some parts of China, and Indian restaurants in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Naan is also popular in Saudi Arabia due to the huge population of Indian and Pakistani labor there.
The word ‘naan’ finds its roots in the Persian word ‘nan’ meaning bread. Flatbreads are called ‘nan’ in Turkish languages. In Burmese, flatbreads are called ‘nan bya’, while the Chine call it ‘nang’. The mention of ‘naan’ in English literature dates back to 1780 in a travelogue of William Tooke.
To prepare naan bread, the wheat flour dough is leavened with yeast and cooked on a clay oven called ‘tandoor’. This distinguishes it from the popularly eaten ‘roti’, which is baked on a flat or concave iron griddle called a ‘tava’. Many naan recipes also use baking powder instead of yeast. In some naan recipes, milk or yoghurt may also be added to the dough to give it more volume and thickness. Naan bread is also prepared with a filling or stuffing.
Popular Naan Recipes
Plain Naan Recipe
For naan recipe, yeast is dissolved in warm water in a large bowl. It is allowed to stand for some time, until frothy. Sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour is stirred in this to make a soft dough. The mixture is kneaded until smooth. The dough is placed in a well oiled bowl, and covered with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. It is then allowed to rise, until the dough has doubled in volume.
The dough is punched down and kneaded in garlic. Small parts of the dough are now taken, about the size of golf balls. They are rolled into balls, and placed on a tray. These are covered with a towel, and allowed to rise until doubled in size.During the second rising, the grill is preheated to high heat.
At grill side, one ball of dough is rolled out into a thin circle. The grill is lightly oiled. The dough is placed on the grill, and cooked until puffy and lightly browned. The uncooked side is brushed with butter, and turned over. The cooked side is brushed with butter, and cooked until brown. It is removed from the grill, and the process is repeated until all the naan bread has been prepared.
Stuffed paneer naan recipe
The dough for making naan bread is first kneaded and allowed to rise. A small portion of the paneer stuffing, consisting of paneer, onions, spices and chopped green chillies, as well as salt to taste, is placed in the center of each dough ball prepared as mentioned above for naan recipe, and the edges of the dough ball are closed, making it of pear shape. The Pear shaped dough is now rolled out thin and baked as before. Delicious stuffed naans are prepared in this manner.
The naan bread is served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be served as a bread with any of the Asian on Middle Eastern curries, dals, meat dishes and raitas. In Burma, Nan Bya is is a popular breakfast choice and served with tea or coffee.
Different Varieties of Naan
Plain naan bread discussed above is the most popular kind of naan. However, there are other delicious variants as well.
Keema naan is filled with minced meat mixture (usually lamb or mutton).
Peshawari naan and Kashmiri naan are filled with a mixture of nuts and raisins.
Roghani naan is popular in Pakistan, it is sprinkled with sesame seeds. Amritsari naan is filled with mashed potatoes, onion and spices.
Karack, or table naan, is very large in size and can be shared by a number of people.