Easy Homemade Naan (Indian Leavened Bread)

Naan is the Indian leavened bread which requires a special Tandoor oven to bake. For this reason naan is usually not made at home and only available from eateries. The method I have given here allows you to make tasty, crisp, and fresh naans at home using just an iron griddle – the kind we use to make chappatis.

naan-1-kalas-kalai

Naan made at home on a griddle (tava).

I created this recipe as a simple and reliable way to leaven the dough after being dissatisfied with the results from various recipes I had come across. I had previously learnt to make naan using a metal can to imitate a Tandoor oven – a method that resulted in my hands getting burnt frequently (not to mention the naan). I discovered this method, of using a chappati griddle (tava), in a book and found that the results were excellent and the process was safe.

Nutritive Value

The naan is a moderate protein and moderate energy bread. The good quality protein comes from the curds used. As it is bread it is never eaten alone and is always accompanied by a side dish which could be vegetarian (White Channa Curry, Coorg Mushroom Curry) or non-vegetarian (Fragrant Chicken Curry, Beef and Vegetable Curry).

The basic naan recipe is not very fattening as it does not use too much of ghee, but a butter naan, while richer to taste, would add a lot of calories to your meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 C Maida (Refined Wheat Four/Plain Flour)
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¾ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 3 tsp Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • ¾ C Curds (approx)
  • ½ C Water
  • Butter to coat the naan (optional)

Method

  1. Sift maida and baking soda together.
  2. Stir in salt, sugar, and ghee. Blend the flour and ghee using your fingers till the flour resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Beat the curds and add little by little to the flour, kneading gently till you get soft and fluffy (but not sticky) dough.
  4. Cover with a plate or a wet cloth and let the dough rest for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  5. Divide the dough into large lime-sized balls.
  6. Gently stretch the balls into naans.
  7. Heat an Indian iron griddle (tava) which does not have handles attached to it.
  8. Dip your fingers in the water and spread the water droplets onto one surface of the naan. Do not grease the griddle.
naan-2-kalas-kalai

Spread water on one surface of the naan before placing on the tava

  1. Place the naan on the tava with the wet side down.
  2. Wait till bubbles appear on the surface.
naan-3-kalas-kalai

The tava can be inverted once the naan forms bubbles like this

  1. Lower heat. Hold the tava with potholders and invert it, letting it rest on the hob of the stove. Make sure the flame does not touch the naan.
naan-4-kalas-kalai

Inverting the tava to place on the stove’s hob

  1. When brown spots appear on the naan, invert the tava again.
naan-5-kalas-kalai

Once the brown spots form on the naan the tava can be inverted again. Note how the tava rests on the hob

  1. Remove the naan immediately after inverting the tava again; it does not need to cook anymore. If you wish to make butter naan, coat the hot naan with a half a teaspoon of butter.
naan-6-kalas-kalai

Remove the naan immediately after inverting the tava again

Notes

  1. If the dough becomes sticky while kneading after adding the curds, add more flour. It is critical that the dough does not become sticky or it will stick to your hand while applying water on it.
  2. If you are a beginner and find it difficult to stretch the dough balls into the naan shape by hand, you can roll out the dough with a dusting of flour and without pressing the naan hard. It should not be thin.
  3. Water is applied on the naan so that it will stick to the tava when it is inverted.
  4. The tava must not have handles or else it will not rest properly on the hob. The tava should have a curved base and not be flat.
  5. Do not use a non-stick tava or griddle, or grease. That would defeat the purpose.
  6. When making butter naan, you can melt the butter before applying but take care not to take it to the ghee stage or else it will be a ghee naan 🙂
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