For some, an Indian meal is considered incomplete without a piece of naan. It can be eaten plain or used to clean up sauces off a plate after a meal is finished. This food started out as an addition to royal meals but was quickly adopted into the menus of the masses. It is a simple bread that doesn’t require a person to have much skill in bread making to turn out a delicious final product.
You don’t bake this bread like you would a loaf of Italian bread or something like that. Cooking this naan in a cast iron skillet will ensure that it is browned and cooked evenly. Naan is usually cooked in a tandoor oven, which is a circular oven with a big opening that is utilized because it can reach very high temperatures and keep that heat for quite a while. The cast iron skillet is like the tandoor oven in the way that it can maintain a high temperature for an extended period as well. This allows the naan to cook quickly and efficiently and in a way that is nearly identical to how the naan would cook when pressed directly against the wall of the tandoor oven.
Jeff made some ghee, about 10 tablespoons of it, and added to it a teaspoon of each chives, mint, and parsley and then spread it over the naan before serving. The taste testers thought it was very flavorful and thought the naan was almost bouncy when chewed, since it was very light and had lots of good bubbles to it. The more bubbles in the naan, the better! For the most bubbles, wait until you are just about to cook the naan to roll it out.
You can eat this alone as a snack or as an add on to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This was a very popular item in our test kitchen, and we even used it to make some Tandoori Chicken Pizzas after we were done working with it as a standalone food. This naan can also be used to make sandwiches or as buns.
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2-1/2 cups flour, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1 large egg
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve then let sit for a few minutes or until it is frothy on top. Once frothy, whisk in the oil, yogurt, and egg until combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Next, pour the wet ingredients to the flour-salt mixture and stir until well combined. Continue adding flour, a cup at a time, until you can no longer stir it with a spoon.
- At this point, turn ball of dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. You’ll end up using around 2.5 cups of flour. The dough should be smooth and very soft, but not sticky. Avoid adding too much flour as you knead, as this can make dough dry and stiff.
- Cover dough and let it rise until its doubled in size, about an hour. After it rises, gently flatten dough into a disc and cut into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. We used an 8 inch cast iron skillet. Roll out one ball at a time to ¼ inch thickness, and 6 inches in diameter. Place rolled dough into skillet and cook until bottom is browned and large bubbles have formed. Flip dough and brown that side as well. Stack bread on a plate and cover with towel to keep warm. Serve plain, or brushed with ghee and sprinkled with herbs.