Without a doubt one of my favourite cuisines has got to be Indian. A few years back I used to hop over to London very regularly and because there is a big Indian community there, I must say I have a lot of delicious memories at some fantastic Indian restaurants (here in Paris on the other hand, it's much more difficult to find a good Indian restaurant!) And of course, what is a meal at an Indian restaurant without naans on the table... those addictive soft buttery flatbreads delicious plain, and maybe even more when oozing with melted cheese or jazzed up with garlic, coriander, or chilli... mmmmm!
So until now I thought the only moments in my life where I could enjoy a naan would be when I eat out (or the day I finally get to visit India!!), but last weekend I decided this would not be my fate! The thing is, there is something so intimidating about naans that I've never dared to make them from scratch, but with some courage, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
The recipe I used was the one featured in this month's Elle à table (a French culinary magazine).
However being the research freak I am, there was no way I was going to rely on just a piece of paper with a recipe written on it. Just to make sure this first attempt wouldnt be a fail, I spent almost my entire afternoon youtube-ing videos on naan recipes, just to make sure I get the technique right. So after hours in front of my computer screen, I took a deep breath and headed to the kitchen... and here's what happened:
Mixing all the ingredients...
Rolling out the dough:
Made some with cheese, and sprinkled them with sesame seeds:
And off goes a cheese naan onto the pan!
Close-up with the cheese oozing out, yum!
Here's what happens with plain naans:
Then it gets bubbly:
And with each naan you make, more and more bubblies and pouffies in different shapes:
Flip it over to the other side:
And here is your naan, ready to enjoy!
Recipe for Naans (from Elle à table, Jan/Feb 2010 edition):
The recipe reads for 4 servings- from my experience this made about 10 medium sized naans
1 tablespoon neutral oil (I guess they were referring to the acidity of the oil, I used sunflower)
La Vache Qui Rit type cheese (optional)
Butter for glazing at the end
+ Oil for the pan (not in recipe, but I recommend)
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the cheese and butter. Knead dough until it becomes supple (you can gradually add some warm water to obtain this texture). Leave to rest for 15 mins. Break out a tennis-ball size portion of the dough and roll-out on a floured surface- the thickness of the dough should be about 3mm thick. If you want to add some cheese, spread it at this point and close the naan by folding it in half and sealing sides together. Heat up a pan on a medium/high heat. The pan should preferably be very lightly brushed with some oil. Once heated, place a naan and flip it onto each side every 1 minute- you will have to just stay close and observe to know when it's ready. Remove from pan and brush with butter. Enjoy!
P.S: the recipe reads that after kneading the dough, you should leave it rest for 15mins- I left my dough out for 3 hours. From the research I did, it seemed better if you leave it out longer.
P.P.S: If you wish to add toppings (like sesame seeds, chopped coriander, etc) and it doesnt stick on the rolled out dough easily, you can use a rolling pin and very very lightly roll it over the dough (already topped off with your seasoning of choice) so that the seasoning "sticks" on the dough
P.P.P.S: when you place the naans on the pan, it will form voluminous bubbles, just tap it down with a large flat spoon or knife to then flip it on the other side.