Peoplewhoeat’s Weblog

April 21, 2008

Easing into the wonderful world of breads…

Filed under: Dinner, Vegetarian — Tags: , — peoplewhoeat @ 7:04 pm

When someone says baking, i immediately think of extravagant yet comforting desserts, the scent of vanilla gracing the household and of course, the warm, chewy centre of a perfect fudge brownie. While i knew there was more to this fine art than just sugary delights, i somehow never came around exploring other options until a few days ago.

Originating in central Asia, and now more popularly known as one of the many kinds of indian bread, naan traditionally cooks in a tandoor, or clay oven, from which tandoori cooking takes its name. Its common practice to serve naan with any kind of meat or bean dish that can be scooped up but there are a whole range of variations when it comes to innovating this humble piece of bread from the peshawaari naan (with mixed nuts and raisins), keema naan (stuffed with minced meat) and the aloo naan (stuffed with potatoes) to name a few.

When i stumbled upon this recipe i decided to give it a go as it looked relatuvely simple and required such minimal ingredients. I soon discovered that savoury baking is in fact a possiblity and i would recommend this recipe to anyone who is yet to venture into the wonderful world of breads.. or simply because a good naan should be on your menu anyday! 

Naan

Naan

2 cups flour

3/4 cup water

2 tbsp cooking oil (any kind)

2 1/2 tbsp yougurt

i tsp sugar

i tsp salt

a pinch of baking soda

i tsp yeast

Method:

1. Mix the yeast into the water and set it aside.

2. Measure out the flour and transfer it into a relatively lareg pot/bowl.

3. Stir the salt, sugar and baking soda into the flour.

4. Pour in the cooking oil, mix thorouhly and repeat this with the yogurt. Using your hands would be ideal for this as the dough gets pretty sticky from this point on and trying to handle it with utensils can be really annoying.

5. Add in the water and yeast mixture and work the dough untill everything is completely incorporated Rub your hands with a little bit  of oil at this point as it makes kneading the dough much easier.

 6. A few minutes of kneading will result in a homogenous blob of goodness and you have now created the perfect dough! Cover the bowl with some cling  and leave the dough to rise for about 3-4 hours.

 7. Now, the dough should have doubled in volume and we are now ready to roll out the naan. I deally, we should use a rolling pin for this but i highly doubt most university students, with our “state of the art” kitchen facilities would own one. What we often do have lying around however, are used glass bottles, with smooth, cyndrical surfaces. This will serve as a perfect substitute.

8. Preheat the oven to about 220 degrees celcius. 

9. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. 

10. Dip each ball in flour before rolling them out.

11. Roll them out in any shape you fancy, but remember that they should be at least about 1/4 of an inch thick.

12. Depending on the size of your oven/baking tray, use your discretion to determine how many naans you want to bake at any one time. Keep in mind that they will puff up slightly.

13. Bake the naans for about 7-8 minutes, or until they look gorgeously tanned in most areas.    

14. Once out of the oven, brush each piece with a thin layer of butter, ghee or even margerine if thats what you have. The spread will melt beautifully, leaving the naan glistening with goodness.. and you can now serve it with any curry/chutney/dish of your choice!

 

Eat well…. because life’s too short not to !

Tina                                                          

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