Indian cuisine is one which we rarely eat out, simply as I can cook any dish that any Indian restaurant serves, and might I add, with bold flavors and less fat. That said, one dish to which I succumb my cravings and occasionally visit restaurants is for the coveted and elusive Naan. Puffy with a crispy crust, spotted with smoky char, slathered with butter, it’s best eaten fresh, straight out of the oven. Ooh, my heart just skipped a beat!
Without the ‘tandoor’ it’s nearly impossible to create the crispy yet chewy interior especially for us home cooks, well at least until now.
I have had the privilege of eating hot and crispy naans at my aunt’s house in Delhi. Walia aunty makes naans literally in a matter of minutes, the old school way, on her open gas stove with nothing but an upside down pressure cooker; it is an awestruck feat to watch.
Even though my recent trip to Delhi was a mere 9 days, I made it my mission to ask aunty for her recipe. Mom’s after all are the kindest souls on this earth; not only did Walia aunty share the recipe but offered to demonstrate her naan making skills with a cooking class. Of course as I couldn’t possibly walk in empty-handed, I offered to make shammi kababs for our impromptu cooking/dinner party.
Personally, watching someone cook is the easiest way to learn a recipe and grasp the tricks of the trade. And boy am I so I glad I did. Itching to try my hand at Naans, ignoring my tired bones from the 20+ hour journey and jet lag, I kneaded the dough the day I landed back in town. And the soul-satisfying sighs from my family were well worth the trial. I served these naans with my makhani dal and shammi kababs.
For all you home cooks, this recipe is a WINNER. You must try and share your experience with me. Feel free to shoot me an email in case you have any technical difficulties. Video coming soon too!
Home-Made Tandoori Naan
This recipe and method is fool-proof, guaranteeing 100% satisfaction each time. I have used a combination of half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. It’s just healthier and crisper. Feel free to create the dough entirely out of all-purpose flour for the traditional Naan taste or instead of making Naan, make Tandoori Roti by making the dough with wheat flour. Either ways, the results are a smoky, charred, tangy naan that will satisfy all your bread cravings.
Traditional naan doughs don’t call for fennel in their recipe but the addition of it not only imparts a subtle sweetness and aroma, it is also considered a digestive in Indian cuisine.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbs sugar
- Warm water
- Kalonji seeds (onion seeds)
- Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a big bowl. Stir to create a rough dough. Add water 1/4 cup at a time to create a smooth and soft dough. Knead it for a few minutes to create a smooth texture. Place the dough in a well-greased bowl, cover with wet cloth and leave in a warm place for 3-4 hours.
- Place a flat-topped pressure cooker or any other heavy metal pan which can sit firmly on a gas stove upside down over high heat.
- Roll the dough into small balls (size of a lemon) and roll the dough to a size of your palm. Make sure the pressure cooker is heated thoroughly. Slather water on top of the dough, and quickly but carefully slap it, wet side down on the inside walls of the pressure cooker. Quickly brush few kalonji seeds dipped in yogurt on the side facing you. Invert the pressure cooker back on the high flame. Keep checking the naan after 15 seconds to ensure it is cooked. The top side should be light brown with few charred spots. Using a tall spatula remove it from the cooker. Brush with butter and serve immediately.
NOTE: It will take a few trials before you can eye-ball how much water to brush to ensure the dough sticks on the pan. Be patient. Also, only over time will you be able to cook 4-5 naans at a given time. I can only do 2 at a time. Once you have mastered the art of cooking the naans over the stove, you can even stuff them or top them with herbs an garlic. Be extra careful while placing the dough on the hot pan, please don’t burn yourself.
Have you tried your hand at home-made Naans before? What were your experiences? I would love to hear from you. Until next time, happy eating!!