It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Many aspects of Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine have long intimidated me when it comes to preparing them at home. My eyes glaze over as I read recipes with seemingly endless lists of spices; although I tell myself that one shopping trip is all that’s needed to set my pantry on the right track, I often wind up slinking out of the store with a jar of korma sauce or curry paste instead. But I hold my head a bit higher when I remind myself that the meal will have a redeeming quality: one helluva batch of homemade naan.
This naan is wonderfully easy to make, and the results are delicious. It can be made in the oven, baked on a pizza stone or in a cast iron skillet, but I prefer making it on the stovetop. It still cooks up beautifully and it doesn’t require opening a hot oven every minute. You can also add in a number of ingredients as well, either by incorporating them into the dough or by sprinkling them on right before baking. Fresh herbs and cheeses are best incorporated into the dough, but I think things like onion and garlic develop the best flavor as toppings that will come in direct contact with the hot skillet, even if it means losing a little to the pan.
More: Is sandwich bread more your style? Carey's got a recipe for that, too.
This recipe makes a lot of naan, but can also easily be halved for a small family dinner. Alternatively, you can always divide the dough into pieces and freeze what won’t be used right away for later. Just let them thaw, and then roll out and cook. Also, feel free to adjust the flour to use 100% all-purpose, or swap in a cup of whole wheat.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup warm milk
1 cup plain yogurt
Melted butter or ghee (for brushing)
Optional toppings or add-ins: garlic, onion, herbs, cheese
Combine yeast, sugar, and warm water and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, or until foamy. In the meantime, combine flours, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Make a well in the center.
Stir milk and yogurt together. Once the yeast mixture is foamy, stir it into the yogurt and milk. Pour into the well of the dry ingredients.
Stir with a wooden spoon to combine, then knead dough until smooth. Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap, and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
When dough is ready, punch down and turn out on a well-floured surface.
Divide in half, then divide each half into eight pieces of equal size.
Roll each piece out into a thin oval approximately 6 inches long and 1/8 inch thick. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop.
Once the pan is hot, brush each side of the naan with melted butter or ghee. (If adding toppings, add them to the second side when you brush it with butter, gently pressing them into the dough.)
Place dough into your skillet. (If you’ve added toppings, place it topping side-up.) Let cook for around 1 minute, or until dough puffs and bubbles form on top.
Flip and let cook for another minute. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Pat yourself on the back, and enjoy.
Photos by Carey Nershi.