Sunday, August 26, 2007

I Heart Indian Food: Naan

I've really been on an Indian food kick. From yesterday's fantastic dinner with friends at Udupi Village in Montclair, to the 50 or so samosas I've made in the past few days, I can't get the fragrances and tastes of cumin and garam masala out of my system.

There are so many lovely Indian cooking blogs out there that it's hard to select favorites, but some that I recommend are:

Since I've been hunting online for good Indian recipes (and I'm sure there are tons), you should benefit from my wee bit of research.


One of the things John and I really enjoy about eating at Indian restaurants is the bread selection. I've always wanted to learn how to make naan bread, but having no Tandori oven, I didn't think I'd be able to make it how we enjoy it in the restaurants. I was right, however, the naan that I did make turned out to be one of John's favorites so far.

The recipe I used originates at Gourmet Indian. I made a pretty significant alteration, using bread flour for regular all-purpose flour.

That's probably why I got what seems to be an ideal pizza dough instead of authentic naan. The recipe also calls for "salt to taste." Here, it's important to actually have a measurement when making bread. I guessed at 1/2 teaspoon. It needs a little more. Additionally, I used agave nectar for the sugar and canola oil for the butter.

Here's the recipe as I did it:

Yields 7 large loaves (loaves = 7 in. long x 3-4 in. wide)


3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup low-fat yogurt
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to your taste)
3 teaspoons agave nectar
3/4 cup water (you may end up using less, depending on the humidity in the air)
1 2/3 tablespoon yeast


1. Mix 5 tablespoons of the water, the yeast and a teaspoon of agave nectar together until well blended.

2. Set aside for 10 minutes while the yeast feeds on the sugar of the agave. It will foam up during that time.

3. Add the remaining water, agave nectar, yogurt, egg, canola oil and salt, and stir well.

4. Add the flour and mix until it makes a smooth, soft, elastic dough. If you're using an electric mixer, change to the dough hook when it gets too difficult to mix. It should take about five minutes.

5. Take the dough out of the bowl and wrap it in plastic while you wash the bowl in warm water and dry it. Oil the bowl lightly and place the dough back in the bowl, using the plastic to cover the bowl. Let it rest in a warm place until the dough doubles in size.

6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Shape the dough into 8 even balls. Flatten them into circles with your fingers, much like pizza dough, so that the edges are thicker than the middle. Pull one side out so that it becomes an oblong shape.

7. Place the naan loaves on two ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Naan innards, for Robyn, because she loves innards so:

No comments: