TANDOORI GARLIC NAAN
This leavened bread is probably the most famous amongst Indian breads. Growing up in North India, I was introduced to the wonderful world of naans early on and I have fond memories of enjoying these hot straight out of the tandoor at the local roadside restaurants that line the highways in Punjab or at my grandfather’s farmhouse where we would cook these in our home tandoor in the backyard during summer holidays.
My most treasured naan memories are however of the times when we would have cousins visiting and my mum would ask us to get a takeaway of naans from a local tandoor while she prepared the curries at home. The local tandoor guy who had got to know us quite well by then would offer us kids a bowl of spicy yogurt curry along with hot naans straight from the tandoor that we would happily dunk into the curry while we waited for our takeaway to get ready. I still remember the taste of those soft naans soaked in the tangy and spicy flavours of the curry and I think my love for naan may have started right there.
Nowadays I mostly cook these at home for my kids who love a good butter naan every now and then. You can easily cook these breads at home in a grill and I am sharing a recipe below which works very well for me. My favourite thing to enjoy a naan with is a classic Dal Makhani (slow cooked black lentils) – it really doesn’t get any more Punjabi than that!
I love using ghee in my breads so for a soft chewy Naan try using ghee instead of oil. You can also brush the finished Naan with ghee or butter and it will stay soft for longer. A little yoghurt added to the dough brings out a hint of tang and richness in the Naan.
The trick to a good Naan is soft dough but one has to be careful not to knead the dough too much as it can also end up being too stretchy. Naans should also be cooked at high heat and very quickly just like they are cooked in the tandoors which gives them a crispy exterior while keeping the inside soft and chewy.
Plain Flour – 300gms, plus a little extra for rolling
Yogurt – 2 tbsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Baking powder – ½ tsp
Ghee/Vegetable oil – 3 tsp
Milk – 140 -150 mls
Butter – 1-2 tbsp, for brushing
Fresh coriander – 1 tbsp finely chopped
Garlic cloves 5-6, finely chopped
- Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, yogurt and oil in a large mixing bowl. Now slowly add the milk to this mix until it forms a medium soft dough. Add the milk gradually depending on the consistency of the dough as you might not need all the milk. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes and put into an oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and set aside the dough in a warm place for about an hour.
- Chop the garlic cloves and fresh coriander leaves finely and set aside.
- Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Now divide the dough with your hands into 7-8 equal portions.
- Roll each dough ball into a round or oval shape dusting lightly with flour. Pull it from one end to get the elongated shape of a naan. Sprinkle some garlic, coriander leaves and press it into the dough. You can even gently roll over it one last time.
- Cook in the preheated grill for 3-4 minutes. Cook until a few brown spots appear on the surface of the naan and turn to cook the other side for the last one minute. Remove and serve hot brushed with butter.