This soft, leavened flatbread pairs beautifully with saucy main dishes, hummus, curries and dips. Naan is a gift from old Persia (in fact the word itself means ‘bread’). My absolute favorite pairing is with Butter Chicken (Murg Makhani). While it is traditionally made in a tandoor oven, it can also be pulled off beautifully using a cast iron skillet.
1/4 cup (59 g) warm water
2 tsp granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast (rapid rise)
3/4 cup (177 ml) warm milk
3/4 cup (183 g) plain Greek yogurt or natural plain yogurt
1/4 cup (51 g) vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (you’ll need two additional cloves minced for the Garlic Butter Topping, recipe below)
4-2/3 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup (51 g) ghee (for the cooking part)
Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and let it sit until the mixture begins to bubble on top (5-10 minutes).
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the warm milk, yogurt, oil, minced garlic, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix gently until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Set some flour in a bowl and use it to flour your hands and the surface, adding more as needed, while kneading the dough until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
Lightly grease the same mixing bowl with a small spray of cooking oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest at room temperature for about an hour or until doubled in size.
When the dough is ready, roll it into a log shape and using a sharp knife, divide it into 10 equal pieces. Cupping your hands, shape each piece into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll one piece of dough into a large oval, about 6-inches long and 1/8-inch thick.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Set a small bowl of ghee* and a basting brush on one side of the stove and the Garlic Butter Topping (recipe below) with a second basting brush on the other side.
*The beauty of using ghee to oil your skillet is that the milk solids are missing so it has a higher flash point, meaning that you can oil a hot pan and it won’t smoke.
Place one piece of the naan on the oiled hot skillet and then lightly brush the top with some ghee. Cook until bubbles form on top, 1-2 minutes. While you’re waiting, you can use this time to roll your next ball of dough out.
Flip the naan and cook for another 1-2 minutes. While it’s cooking, baste the top with the garlic butter and sprinkle it with a little of your fresh herbs. It’s done when large golden spots appear on the bottom.
Remove from the skillet and wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining naan.
Garlic Butter Topping
3 T butter (42 g), melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh chopped Italian parsley or fresh herb of your choice (savory or rosemary, oregano…all great!)
Combine butter and minced garlic together in a small pan and melt over low heat. This will be brushed on each naan before coming out of the skillet. Top with a pinch of a chopped fresh herb of your choosing.
The dough can be made a day ahead of serving, wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before dividing and cutting the dough. You may find it necessary to let the balls rest as you’re rolling them out. Even a two minute rolling break will make the gluten relax.
The dough can also be frozen and thawed out before use.
Adapted from a recipe over at Cafedelites.com