Naan (Indian Flatbread)

Sigh! I hate calling it Indian Flat Bread. But I must. What if I have non-Indian readers? Hah!

Ingredients:
1. 2/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2. 1 packet active dry yeast (It’s usually 0.25 oz or two and a quarter teaspoons)
3. 1 teaspoon white sugar
4. 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used wheat flour, as usual. I’ll give my suggestions on wheat versus all purpose later in the post.)
5. 1 teaspoon salt
6. 1/4 cup ghee
7. 2-3 tablespoons plain yogurt
8. Kalonji (onion seeds)
9. Ajwain
10. Garlic paste or a half dozen cloves of garlic, minced
11. Ghee/butter for brushing the naan and the baking tray

Method:
1. Mix the yeast into the warm water, making sure it has dissolved completely. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes.
2. Sift flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, the ghee and about 2 tablespoons of the yogurt. Mix into a soft dough. You might need to add some more yoghurt to make sure the dough is well bound (for lack of better words to use… and anyway, you DO bind dough, right? ALso, knead it… but that’s the next step)
3. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place for an hour and a half, or until the dough is doubled in size .
5. The dough should be ready to use now. Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Cover the baking tray with some foil and grease it with butter/ghee.

6. Punch down the dough and knead it for a few minutes (again). Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece out a few inches. Add the ajwain/kalonji/minced garlic and roll it out further to about 8 inch long/wide.
6. Brush the naan with a little ghee. Cook the naan on both sides in the oven, for about 6-7 minutes per side. The naans should puff up a little bit and begin to brown.
7. Keep a flat bottomed pan hot and ready to brown the naan, as soon as it is out of the oven. Grease the pan and lightly grill/toast the naans, for a few seconds before serving hot.

Notes:
1. Of course, now, if you have a grill, why use the oven/pan at all! Just grill the naans away to perfection. Fuck! Am I jealous of you or what!!!
2. I’ve gotten pretty good at baking breads, you know. The key is using good yeast. And by that I only mean ensuring the yeast isn’t outdated. In fact, I buy the yeast (and subsequently) use it within weeks of the packaging date.
3. The naan was soft and fluffy. Perfect, if you ask me. And I made them again a couple of days ago, to go with some mixed veggies. And then again for G one time, He claims he liked them too. I’ll take his word for it. He’s usually very nice to me about the food I cook. The true opinion/answer comes only a few weeks later, I’ve figured. When I suggest making a particular recipe again. If he says we should, that means he liked it the first time around too. It’s worked with the bruschetta, the guacamole, a bunch of the cookies… That boy, he makes me happy. 🙂
4. Oh, the part about the all purpose flour. All purpose flour aka maida will give the naan that added stretchy, restaurant-y taste. Go ahead. Do it, if you must. I prefer wheat flour. Just like that. 🙂

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