Some recipes call for yoghurt some for milk. Strong bread flour is favoured by most, but a few go rogue and opt for plain. Purists use a mix of Chakki Atta and plain flour. Ghee is indulgent and ‘authentic’, but popular opinion says plain old melted salted butter is good too! A sprinkle of Nigella Seed is enough for many, oozing garlic butter or chilli infused ghee gets others going! How do you cook your Naan? Here is my first attempt! Recipe here.
I took the lead from a basic yogurt and Yeast recipe with this first Naan trial, as part of my exploration into curries and range cookers. I have before made a ‘quick’ dough using baking soda to achieve the bubbly appearance and rise in my Naan, but felt they weren’t as fluffy as they could be…
I am a maximalist, so I plumped for ghee as well as Nigella, Sesame, Fennel, and Cumin as a seed topping. Just a smidge of all 4. I also popped 2 dry chilli into the warming ghee to infuse it and add a kick that I knew the Blake & Bull boyswould appreciate. Go with the flow on this, make them your own!
Seed alternatives could be garlic & butter, mustard or poppy seed. Or ground spices to make a sweeter one? Maybe cinnamon and clove?
Have a look at the recipe here, let's get cooking! Mix together a couple tablespoons of the warm water with the sugar and yeast. Let this sit until it bubbles, whilst this is happening there is plenty to do!
Put you’re flour and salt into a mixing bowl and mix together. Melt your ghee gently in a pan and have it ready with the remainder of the warm water. If you want seeds through your dough, then add them now too. A teaspoon or so will suffice, toasted lightly first.
Add the yoghurt to the yeast mixture, then the ghee, pour over the flour and mix. Go on to add the water. You will have a very wet sticky ‘dough’. More of a paste! Knead this for 5 or so mins until it starts to retain it's shape more, and is less paste-like.
Set to prove for an hour and a half, .. it should double in size. Mine didn’t, I think that Blake & Bull H&Q was a little chilly! The better the prove, the better the characteristic bubbles later..
Knock the dough back, and divide into 8 pieces,.. Roll on a floured surface and pull into a teardrop shape. Take your seasoned linerand place on the simmering spot. If you have an 'Electrikit' cooker set one of your hotplates to 4!
Place your Naan on the liner, turn when the first bubbles appear on one side (let the bubbles firm up a bit). You will get colour quickly, and you can flip to colour all sides. Don’t be afraid to go dark!
I then transferred mine to the oven, on one of our cast iron baking sheets to keep warm, I also found that they needed a bit of cooking through.
I put the seeds and chilli in the additional ghee as it warmed, poured this over the naan, then seasoned to taste. The Blake & Bull Boys then gobbled them up!
Things that I found tricky - The wetness of the dough, although I think the yogurt adds so much to the mix that I wouldn’t remove it. I found that because my prove wasn’t a triumph, the breads were a little flatter than I had liked.
What I found out - Cooking on the hotplate is fun and quick, and definitely gave an authentic darkness to the Naan! The dried chilli warmed in the ghee gave a really nice chilli taste and warmth, not chilli heat. And I liked the fennel A LOT! I think they offset the rich ghee too.
Please let me know how you get on! Katy x