A lot goes into preparing an Indian feast. None of it is particularly difficult, but it all takes time. Naan is not at all difficult, and is definitely worth making time for. Start your naans about an hour and a half before dinner and you should be serving them hot to adoring fans. Most of the time it takes is in the rising, anyway, so you have an hour to finish up everything else.
My oven is so tiny that the two-step process Madhur describes was unnecessary, not to mention impossible. My naans puffed up enough that the broiler was able to brown them without moving them to the top rack. I couldn't have moved them to the top rack had I needed to, because in their puffed up state there was not enough room for them between the rack and the element. Oh, well, that's Turkey.
adapted from Madhur Jaffrey
- 150 ml milk
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. active, dry yeast
- 450 g flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 Tbs. oil, plus a little extra
- 150 ml plain yoghurt, lightly beaten
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Heat the milk til it's slightly more than warm to the touch. Pour it into a small bowl and add 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the yeast, stir gently, and set aside for about 20 minutes, or until yeast is dissolved and mixture is frothy.
- Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the remaining teaspoon of sugar, the yeast mixture, the oil, yoghurt, and egg. Combine into a ball of dough.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and satiny. If the dough is sticky continue to flour the work surface and your hands until it is not. Don't add too much flour, though.
- Pour a very small amount (1/4 tsp.-ish) of oil into the bottom of a large, clean bowl and roll your ball of dough in it so it is completely coated, leaving the dough in the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour, or until dough has approximately doubled in bulk.
- Preheat your oven to its highest temperature. Place either the heaviest baking pan you have or a pizza stone into the oven while it is preheating. Once it has come to temperature turn on the broiler.
- Punch down your dough, and knead it briefly. Divide it into 6 equal parts, keeping all except the one you are working with covered. Roll the ball of dough into an oval or tear-shape about 10 inches long and 5 inches at its widest point.
- Slap the naan onto either your baking pan or pizza stone and bake for 3 minutes. It should puff up. Then place baking pan and naan under the broiler for about 30 seconds, until the top of the naan browns slightly. Wrap naans in a clean dish towel as they come out of the oven. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.
Serve hot with your next Indian feast.
(Since we're on the subject of Indian food, I have to report that the apple chutney I made a few weeks ago was a success and went down very well with the Indian meal Y. and I cooked.)