I had two goals last week – make Naan, one using all-purpose flour (traditional way) and the other using gluten-free flours. So I perused through my cookbook collection and various food blogs. Based on my experiments and the knowledge that I gained, I think I hit upon a good recipe. Let me give you a few details about my failed experiements to make good Naan. I followed the recipe as outlined in one of the cookbooks. It said to use self-rising flour. Since I did not have self-rising flour handy, I made my own based on recommendations on the web.The Naan came out tasting more like a soft biscuit than Naan. Maybe, it is not the cookbook’s fault. The flour did not rise as much as I had expected it to. That could be because of the way I mixed the yeast with the milk and did not give it time to rise. Also, it could be because I created my self-rising flour though making your own self-rising flour is not a big deal..
So I finally found an excellent site, that said not to use baking soda in the flour (one of the ingredients for self-rising flour). The reason is when it comes out of the oven, it is not going to have the nice brown spots that you expect from the Naan. So I tried the recipe on his website for the plain Naan and then decided to make a onion-cilantro Naan. Both of them turned out excellent.
Coming to the gluten-free Naan, I will write about it in the next post this weekend. That involved a big blunder because of my dumb mistake. That is what happens when you try to cook too many things that involve a oven.
Plain and Cilantro-Onion Naan
3/4 cup warm water (around 110˚F)
1 1/2 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flax seed, ground
(mix with 3 tablespoons of water)
1 tablespoon oil or butter
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
In a bowl, combine warm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes till you see it foam a little. Make sure the temperature of the water is not more than 110-115˚F. I microwaved the water for 30 seconds or so but the microwave temperatures may vary. If the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast and the flour will not rise.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt and mix well. Add ground flax seed (that has been combined with 3 tablespoons of water) and oil or butter and mix well. Then add the yogurt and the yeast water mixture and knead the dough well. The dough should be sticky and soft and not firm. Add the dough to a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Store in a warm place for an hour or until the dough has expanded to 2-3 times the size.
Set the oven to 500˚F.
Dust a wooden board with some flour. Once the flour has expanded to almost 2-3 times the size, poke some holes with your finger and then take the dough out of the bowl. Divide the dough into approximately 8-9 balls.
Using the palm of your hands with some dusting of flour, press and shape the dough with your hands till the desired shape has reached (just like clapping motion). The flour will be very pliable. Make it into a oval or round shape or to whatever shape your prefer once you place it on the overturned baking pan. Make a few more and bake it in the oven for approximately 3-4 minutes on one side and a minute or so on the other side.
Apply some butter on the naan or eat it without butter with Dum Aloo (upcoming recipe) or any other dish you prefer.
In order to make the onion and cilantrol naan, add chopped onions and cilantro and press it against the naan. Bake for the same amount of time as above and apply butter once done.
Makes about 8-9 Naans