If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I made naan for the first time a couple weeks ago. And much to my amazement, it actually wasn’t that bad. (This shocked me because I was totally convinced that I’d screwed it up.) It all started when I decided to make my parents vegetable korma for dinner. And because I was going to wuss out and use a jarred korma sauce, I figured I should redeem myself by making naan from scratch. I have been ogling Nicole’s naan recipe for the better part of a month now. And while I, as a first-time naan maker, was a little intimidated by her notes that the dough can be a bit tricky to master, it probably wouldn’t have stopped me. What did stop me, however, was discovering that the only yogurt in the house was flavored. As I researched other recipes, I found that many of them called for yogurt and talked of a sticky dough. Eventually, I decided to just google “garlic naan recipe” (because if my naan couldn’t be made of yogurt, it would at least be made of delicious garlic), and clicked on the first thing that came up.
The naan in the picture looked a little fatter than I am used to but utilized ingredients that I actually had on hand, so I decided to give it a go. Everything seemed just fine until I accidentally added too much flour (whether it was through mis-measuring or hastiness, I’ll never know), and wound up with a dough that was definitely not sticky. And mild panic set in. I mean, one of the main reasons I was spending January with my parents was so I could dazzle them with my culinary prowess while my mom recovered from surgery, and the first thing I was going to serve them during my stay was korma from a jar and some tough chewy dough discs that would perhaps resemble naan on a visual level only. But I chilled out, added a little bit more water, and kept going. And as I flipped the naan on the pizza stone in the oven, I thought, “hmm, well at least they look like naan!” And when I removed them from the oven, I was surprised to find that they actually seemed light enough to be naan. And when they were finally all finished, I tore one in half and bravely offered a piece to my dad without tasting it first. And wouldn’t you know it, it was not bad, you guys. Not bad at all.
I will definitely be trying Nicole’s recipe the next chance I get. But if you want to try a naan recipe that’s proven to be foolproof, give this one a try. Baking this on a pizza stone was super easy, but I realize not everyone has one of these at their disposal. If you don’t, a cast iron pan is the way to go, as you want something that can get super hot and distribute heat evenly. Although I haven’t tested this and therefore can’t say for sure, it might be worth it to pop your cast iron pan in a 475° oven for about 10 minutes or so, just to get it super hot, the way a pizza stone would be. You could then remove it and keep it heated on the stove top over medium-high heat while you cook the naan. And of course, garlic needn’t be the only thing you mix into the dough. Feel free to add herbs, cheese, or other tasty bits you happen to think of. It’s a forgiving and versatile recipe.
(adapted from allrecipes)
yield: 14 servings (I halved this since I was only making it for three people, and it still made a ton)
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 3 tbsp of milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 3 tbsp garlic, minced (the original recipe calls for only 2 tsp, but I LOVE garlic — adjust according to your own tastes)
- 1/4 cup of melted butter or ghee
Combine yeast and warm water in a large bowl and let sit for 5–10 minutes, or until foamy. Stir in milk, sugar, and egg. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time, until you’ve added just enough to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 6–8 minutes, adding small amounts of flour to keep the dough from sticking if necessary. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and let rise for around 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
Punch down dough, then turn out on a clean surface and knead in garlic. Tear off small handfuls of dough (about the size of a golf ball), then roll into balls and place on a tray. Cover tray with a damp tea towel and let rise for around 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
While dough is rising, preheat your pizza stone in a 475° oven. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can follow my theoretical method of preheating your oven to 475°, then placing a cast iron skillet in the oven 10 minutes before you are ready to start working with the dough. Once your dough is ready, remove the cast iron pan and place on the stove top over medium-high heat. OR, if you aren’t sure about my theoretical method, simply heat your cast iron skillet over medium-heat heat for 5 minutes.)
Roll three balls of dough out into thin circles (or just one ball at a time if you’re using a cast iron pan). Brush both sides with butter/ghee, then carefully place on the pizza stone. Let cook for 2–3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Flip and let other side cook for another 2–3 minutes. Repeat until all of the dough has been used.
Serve immediately. If you have any naan leftover, use them to make little personal flatbreads!