Wrapped naan doesn’t match The Eat Factory’s chef’s recipe for soft, versatile flatbread, which is best served hot off the grill.
Next to curries, naan is best known in your favorite Indian restaurant. But the simple recipe by journeyman chef Michael Burgin, which he perfected at Beholder, goes well with almost every dish, from roasted vegetable spreads to soups and chilli, whether you spice it up or opt for the original item.
(Editor’s note: Naan can also be cooked at home on a flat-top grill or electric grill if desired. For added flavor, combine one of the recommended condiments with olive oil and crushed garlic or melted clarified butter, then brush warm naan with the mixture .)
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 cup of warm water
- 1/4 ounce active dry yeast (not instant)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and, if desired, in addition to the final brushing
- Grapeseed oil or another neutral oil for frying
- Spices and herbs such as ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, curry, parsley, thyme and / or mint to taste, optional
- Mix the sugar, warm water and yeast in a small bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature until it becomes frothy and smells like bread.
- On the counter or in a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and any additional spices and herbs you might add.
- Mix the oil and yogurt in a small bowl or measuring cup, then add to the flour on the counter or in the bowl. Using your hands or a large rubber spatula, mix all of the wet and dry ingredients together until they form a shaggy mass. Knead the dough with your hands for about 10 minutes until smooth, adding minimal flour if necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or flip the large bowl over the batter on the counter and let it rise for an hour.
- Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces and lightly roll it into balls. Cover and let rest for another 45 minutes.
- Work with one ball at a time and cover the rest of the batter with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Use a rolling pin to roll it to a thickness of about 1/4 inch and about 6 inches in diameter.
- Drizzle a little oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat until it just starts to smoke. Wipe most of the oil off the pan with a paper towel. Put the dough in a pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the dough base starts to brown in places. Turn the naan over and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the back is well browned but the bread doesn’t feel crispy or dry to the touch.
- Remove each naan on a plate, cover with a clean towel, and repeat with the remaining dough balls. Serve warm.
Terry Kirts joined Indianapolis Monthly in 2007 as an editor. As a lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poems and creative non-fiction books in magazines and anthologies such as Gastronomica, Alimentum and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, the author of the 2011 To the Refrigerator Gods collection.