A few years ago I decided to tackle homemade naan to accompany my favorite veggie curry and haven't looked back since. Is it more complicated than buying some at your local grocery or specialty store (if they even have it)? Of course it is. But if you have the time and a sense of adventure, making naan from scratch is totally worth the extra effort. You could have incredibly delicious, chewy, flavorful, fresh bread with less than two hours of [actual] active time and at a fraction of the cost. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

I love this bread with the aforementioned curry, which is adapted heavily from this recipe, or served with my favorite recipe for grilled yogurt chicken (from my awesome sister!). It also works beautifully in place of pita bread for Greek-themed meals such as Cook's Illustrated's recipe for lamb gyros. It is also incredible when simply served with your favorite hummus. The possibilities are pretty much endless. And delicious.

The naan recipe I use is from my friend, Jay, and he isn't sure where it originated, so I will share with you what I have written down on the scrap of paper I first scrawled it on. The paper is now wrinkled and stained, which I find to be the best way to identify a well-loved recipe. Don't you?

NAAN 

  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
  • 1 cup warm water (I shoot for ~110 degrees)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional, but recommended)
  • ¼ cup melted butter or ghee/clarified butter (for the grilling)

Proof the yeast in the water with a bit of the sugar. Once foamy (active), add it to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer along with the rest of the sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour. Once incorporated, knead the dough for a few minutes - it should be nice and soft. Let dough rise in an oiled bowl, covered, until doubled in bulk. Break the dough into baseball-sized pieces and massage in bits of garlic, if using. Place dough balls on a greased tray and cover with a towel until doubled. When you are ready to grill your bread, melt the butter or ghee. Make sure your grill or cast iron pan is hot. Roll out each dough ball, brush with butter, and place, butter-side down on hot grill/pan. Brush the other side with butter and flip with tongs when the first side is done (this will happen pretty quickly). Repeat the process, piece by piece (sometimes I am able to roll the next dough ball while I am grilling the previous piece, but it goes so quickly that you run the risk of burning what you are grilling). This part just takes getting used to - the first few times I did this, I was pretty flustered and my kitchen was a crazy mess (OK, so was I), but it is worth it. 

I keep my leftover bread in the fridge due to the butter and fresh garlic, but it is probably fine at room temperature if your kitchen is cool.

The dough, straight from the mixer, ready to rest and grow.

The dough, straight from the mixer, ready to rest and grow.

The dough, post-rise. Yes, it more than doubled. Yes, I forgot about it. Thankfully, the recipe is forgiving.

The dough, post-rise. Yes, it more than doubled. Yes, I forgot about it. Thankfully, the recipe is forgiving.

Forming the small dough balls and adding the garlic.

Forming the small dough balls and adding the garlic.

I made 14 pieces from a 1 ½ X batch.

I made 14 pieces from a 1 ½ X batch.

Rollin', rollin', rollin'!

Rollin', rollin', rollin'!

I have never used our grill to cook the naan. While I bet it would be smoky and delicious (and leave me with a cleaner kitchen!), I have never figured out where or how I would roll out the dough outside. So, I stick with the cast iron slab that fits over the long center burner of our stove. I imagine a cast iron pan would work just as well; you would simply need to make sure you made the dough balls an appropriate size and shape to fit your pan.

I have never used our grill to cook the naan. While I bet it would be smoky and delicious (and leave me with a cleaner kitchen!), I have never figured out where or how I would roll out the dough outside. So, I stick with the cast iron slab that fits over the long center burner of our stove. I imagine a cast iron pan would work just as well; you would simply need to make sure you made the dough balls an appropriate size and shape to fit your pan.

In the past, I used plain ol' melted butter, but Trader Joe's now carries ghee. It fulfills its promise of not scorching as much as un-clarified butter, but plain melted butter (or even oil, for that matter) is more than fine.

In the past, I used plain ol' melted butter, but Trader Joe's now carries ghee. It fulfills its promise of not scorching as much as un-clarified butter, but plain melted butter (or even oil, for that matter) is more than fine.

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