Many years ago when I was working in Back Bay, an Indian restaurant, Pondicherry, opened on Boylston Street. It did not last very long, despite my frequent lunch visits with work colleagues, but what did last was our waiter’s exclamation the first time he placed a bowl of naan on our table. “This is naan, which is bread!” he declared. And since then, this pita-on-steroids chewy delight has remained a pleasant enjoyment, sometimes in Indian restaurants, sometimes purchased at WF or TJ’s, but also so easily prepared at home.
Tonight we’re having Middle Eastern Spiced Meatloaf (see blog post dated March 4) with a Greek salad and this naan just seemed like the perfect accompaniment.
It’s still cold and raining, so no grilling tonight, but I’m excited about this dinner. It’s smelling heavenly right now.
Back in 2009, an Epicurious member, Sharon Lindenbaum, posted her recipe for naan, and I’ve followed it ever since. I use my All-Clad griddle pan on top of two stove burners to bring this to fruition.
NAAN (WHICH IS BREAD!)
1.5 tsp dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1.5 tsp sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
5-6 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter. Make your own by melting butter and straining off the milk solids through a fine-meshed sieve)
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
In a small bowl, add the dry yeast and sugar to the warm water and stir till the yeast is dissolved. Cover and leave aside for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth and fizz. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture, 3 tbsps of ghee and the yogurt. Use your fingers to mix all ingredients into a soft dough.
Once mixed, lightly flour a clean, flat surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and stretchy. Grease a large bowl with a few drops of olive oil and put the dough in it. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 90 minutes or until the dough doubles in volume. (Mine rose in 60 minutes).
Heat a flat griddle on medium high and brush lightly with olive oil.
Divide the dough equally and roll between your hands to form 8 round balls. Lightly flour the same surface where you kneaded the dough and roll out each ball until you have a nicely shaped circle, or simply shape into ovals by hand, as you would with pizza dough. They needn’t be uniform in appearance – rustic and odd-shaped is fine.
Place the naans on the griddle and brush with ghee. Each one will take about 2-3 minutes to brown and puff on one side, then flip over with a spatula for another minute or two.