Until a few years ago I could never think about cooking and involving myself in learning elaborate recipes. I had little patience and interest towards cooking while I was younger. But I always enjoyed food with a variety of tastes and textures. My mom is a great cook and she spoilt us by cooking such wonderful food at home that I missed it a lot when I moved away from home for studies. Then there were multiple phone calls and recipe writing sessions.
Once I started cooking I realized how much fun and addictive it was. Starting from simple dishes I started to work on more complex recipes, that I would have never thought of cooking myself. All the credit for this goes to my mom. She has always been a great teacher who has helped me learn with simple techniques and tips and at the same time taught me traditional and authentic recipes.
One such recipe was the Naan recipe I am sharing with you all today. Naan is not something that is made everyday in an Indian home. It is reserved for special occasions, celebrations or when eating out at a restaurant. The naan made in a restaurant is made in a clay oven. However, in homes this is easily replicated in an oven or a skillet.
It was one of those days when you feel like eating something since it brings along so many memories of moments spent with family. My mom makes these delicious soft naans and they are usually stuffed either with paneer or lamb mince (keema). I love them and asked her for the recipe one day. I could not believe how simple and quick it was since all the other recipes I read on the Internet had fermentation time with yeast etc.
This recipe does not use yeast or eggs but instead uses a secret ingredient – sparkling water or club soda. The carbonated water adds enough air into the dough so that the results are similar to a fermented naan. Soft and cushiony.
I have used this recipe for many years now and each time the results are amazingly soft and flavorful naans. I made a plain version for the recipe today. But you can fill the naan with stuffing’s of your choice, just like a paratha.
I hope you enjoy making and eating these as much as I do. I assure you that they will definitely will a winner on the table at your next party :-)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes Serves: Makes about 6-7 medium sized naans
1 cup flour/maida
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup yogurt (do not use fat free yogurt)
2 tbsp oil
1 cup sparkling water/carbonated water (may need more or less depending on the quality of flour)
A pinch of baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp Coriander leaves chopped fine
1 tbsp sesame seeds
To sprinkle on Naan: I used sesame seeds and fresh coriander. But you choose a topping of your choice from garlic, nigella seeds, chili flakes, carom seeds, dried mint etc.
Mix the yogurt and oil and keep aside. Sift all the dry ingredients together.
Now make a well in the center of the flour and add the yogurt and oil mixture.
Slowing combine the ingredients with your fingers and make a crumbly dough. Now bring the dough together with the help of sparkling water. Start with 2 tbsp and add more as needed. If the dough is sticky, add some additional flour (1 tbsp and add more if needed).
If the dough feels tight, add more of the sparkling water. Make a soft ball out of the dough. The dough should be soft to touch.
Smear some oil on the palm of your hands and work the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover the bowl with a wet kitchen towel and place the dough in a warm place.
If you live in a cold country, put the bowl in the oven with the oven light switched on. Now, let the dough rest for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes the dough is ready. Press a finger down in the dough and see if it comes up. If it does, it means the dough is ready.
Work the dough for 2-3 minutes on a work surface. Again, put it in a bowl and cover it with a wet cloth and keep aside for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, roll the dough into a sausage shape and cut equal sized circles off the dough. Shape each circle into a ball and keep covered with a cloth.
Heat a skillet on medium-high heat until hot. While the pan is heating up start rolling the naans.
Dust the work surface with some flour and roll each ball into a circular shape or tear-shaped naan. It is important not to place too much pressure on the dough when rolling the naan.
Sprinkle some sesame seeds and coriander on one side and press gently with your fingertips into the naan.
Now flip the naan and apply some water with your fingers to the other side. Place this side of the naan on the hot skillet.
Reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid such that it covers the naan. Once you notice spots rising on the naan, flip it over.
Apply butter or ghee on each side and flip one more time until you see brown spots and the naan is cooked.
It is best to enjoy these naans fresh and hot. But you can store them covered in a kitchen towl or foil for later use. Enjoy with a curry or lentil dish of your choice.