Letting Life Lead
Today I’m going to share a wonderful recipe for oven made Naan from Manjula’s Kitchen. I’ve been following Manjula for quite a few years. Though her videos aren’t flashy and she doesn’t have the “in your face” stage presence of any number of Food Network stars, I still very much enjoy watching her videos because it just feels like she’s invited me over to cook like an ordinary person. I’m a fan of the flatbreads including lavash and Native American Frybread.
Naan is a yeast leavened flat bread that is normally cooked in a tandoor (a very hot clay oven) which gives it a very nice char. Ordinary kitchens, saddly, don’t have built in tandoors so the closest thing is the broiler with pizza stone, and you can get pretty close to authentic naan (unless you want to turn some clay flower pots into a makeshift tandoor or plunk $600 for a restaurant portable tandoor.)
The base for naan is a very simple mixture of flour, water, salt, sugar, yeast, and oil (Manjula’s Recipekj). You can use ghee or butter instead of oil, and yogurt can be substituted for milk (I’ve used buttermilk in a pinch), but the dough will be softer. I like my naan plain with a little butter. However, spices and other things can be added to it too. Naan, by the way, makes for a very nice grilled cheese sandwich.
The dough needs to rest and rise for three hours. This recipe makes six naan. Preheat the oven to broil at 400F. They don’t have to be perfect; mine came as fairy even circles this time but usually they look pretty rough.
If you get caught cooking by your helpers make sure you have a little piece of dough set aside to appease them. While they are fighting over rights to the rolling pin, take the opportunity to put the naan in the oven.
I know my pizza stone looks dark. It’s clean but I am afraid to use the self-cleaning oven in this new house so at best it gets left cooking in the oven even when not in use and some soap and water. My pizza stone is eight years old and well seasoned and practically non-stick. I don’t care much what it looks like as long as it is clean and does the job. If you don’t have a pizza stone, a good heavy pan or even clean bricks will do fine.
Don’t walk away. Naan cooks very fast at the high heat. You want a nice color on them.
This batch I could have left in tad bit longer for a bit of a darker color, but they were really delicious just the same.
Have you ever made naan before? Will you try this easy recipe?
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Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.
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