Naan – Leavened Indian Flat Bread – How to Make Naan Pictorial Guide Included

Serves 4

Most of us would not consider a visit to an Indian restaurant complete without mopping up our curries with warm, soft, fragrant, utterly delicious naan.  Naan has been a restaurant dish (as opposed to home-cooked) almost since its introduction into India from Persia.  In recent years, many home cooks have started to make naan at home, mainly to stave off the cost associated with naan breads at restaurants.  It’s much more economical – and most importantly, just as delicious – to make naan at home!  All you require are a few basic ingredients that can be found in most well-stocked kitchens.  Naan can be eaten plain, brushed with melted butter or garnished with a variety of toppings.  Traditionally these toppings include grated garlic, chopped coriander, sesame seeds and onion seeds.  I’m going to be using melted butter, grated garlic and chopped coriander, but you can use whatever toppings you usually enjoy or leave as is.

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The yeast is a very important component when it comes to making naan at home.  While you can make flat breads without yeast, you won’t be able to achieve that soft and melt-in-your-mouth restaurant taste without it.  The milk and yogurt are also very important in making your naan stand out by making it soft and delicate.  Without these three things you won’t be able to achieve the same results.  The other trick to making restaurant style naan is to let your dough rest once you’ve divided it.  This gives the dough a chance to expand a little more and incorporate more air and ensures that your naan won’t rise as you roll it out.  You can use melted butter or ghee in place of the oil, but plain cooking oil will yield a good quality naan so go ahead and use that without worry.  I don’t like to add coriander while the naan is cooking so I add it prior to serving to keep it fresh.  You can add it in with the grated garlic if you prefer.  This recipe makes really soft and tasty restaurant style naan that goes great with most saucy curries.  Let’s get started.

Naan – Leavened Indian Flat Bread - How to Make NaanNaan – Leavened Indian Flat Bread - How to Make NaanNaan – Leavened Indian Flat Bread - How to Make Naan

Naan – Leavened Indian Flat Bread

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • ½ – 1 cup warm milk
  • Melted butter, for brushing
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, grated (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, add warm water, active dry yeast and sugar and stir until combined. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth.
  2. In the meantime, sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment or into a large bowl. Stir until well combined.
  3. Add the yogurt, oil, yeast mixture and half of the warm milk and combine on low speed until everything comes together. If kneading by hand, knead for 5 minutes until a soft, sticky dough forms. If using stand mixture, knead on medium-low for 2 minutes.  Add more milk as required as you knead to achieve soft, wet, pliable dough.
  4. Drizzle a little bit of oil on top of the dough ball and spread around until dough is evenly covered. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or aluminum foil and a towel on top and let sit in a warm place for 2 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, knead dough on a floured surface for a few seconds until all the air is dispersed and then divide into 4 equal balls. Cover them with a clean towel and let them rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
  6. Heat a skillet or tawa over medium heat and let it warm up for about 2 minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into an oblong shape that’s wider at the bottom than at the top.  If using garlic, smear a quarter of it onto one side and roll into dough.  Roll out until dough is about 1/8th of an inch thick.   The dough will shrink onto itself so do not roll out too thick.
  7. Wet your hand with water and rub water onto the side that does not have any toppings such as the grated garlic and place this side down on the skillet or tawa. Cook for about 1 – 2 minutes (or until large bubbles start to form) and then flip over and cook for about 30 seconds – 1 minute until slightly scorched in places (if you’re unsure flip a corner to see).  Remove to a covered plate and brush with melted butter on one side (the side with the toppings such as the grated garlic) and sprinkle with chopped coriander on top if using.  Continue this process until all the naans are rolled out and cooked.

Pictorial Guide

Cover the bowl with cling wrap or aluminum foil and a towel on top and let sit in a warm place for 2 hours.  Dough should be soft, sticky and pliable.

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Knead dough on a floured surface for a few seconds until all the air is dispersed and then divide into 4 equal balls. Cover them with a clean towel and let them rest for 5 – 10 minutes.

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Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into an oblong shape that’s wider at the bottom than at the top.  If using garlic, smear a quarter of it onto one side and roll into dough.  Roll out until dough is about 1/8th of an inch thick.   The dough will shrink onto itself so do not roll out too thick.

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Wet your hand with water and rub water onto the side that does not have any toppings such as the grated garlic and place this side down on the skillet or tawa. Cook for about 1 – 2 minutes (or until large bubbles start to form) and then flip over and cook for about 30 seconds – 1 minute until slightly scorched in places (if you’re unsure flip a corner to see).

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Serve hot with Paneer Tikka Masala or Butter Chicken or any other thick saucy curry.  If you don’t have a large skillet or tawa, divide the dough into 6 or 8 balls and make smaller naan.  I like to make larger naan because it saves on cooking time and I’m just kind of lazy like that.  They’ll both taste delicious so either is fine.  This is a basic naan recipe that can be customized to your taste.  I like this basic version the best as I can add different toppings to create variety through a wide range of different flavours without a lot of additional work.  One of the benefits of making naan at home is that it allows you to control the fat content, which can cut calories and that’s something most of us can avoid if we can.  You can do this by using a healthier oil or oil substitute and brushing on margarine instead of butter or leaving it out altogether.  You can also use a lower fat milk or skim milk or low fat yogurt to cut more calories.  You can also add more nutrition by substituting whole wheat pastry flour for half of the all-purpose flour.  This is such a delicious dish that you may not go back to buying naan again.

How to Make Pizza from Scratch – Crust, Sauce and Topping Options

Serves 4

Pictorial guide included.

I always thought of pizza as something that you order for take-out or delivery from the local pizzeria.  Well, I thought this until I learned to make pizza at home.  Trust me when I tell you, there’s a huge difference in taste and quality when it’s homemade.  Many people consider all the different components involved in a pizza and are scared off, but here are only two things that you really need to put in any effort to make and that’s minimal effort at that.  If you have a stand mixer or a bread machine then your job just became 90% easier!  This crust is very easy to make and takes just a few minutes of actual work.  The ingredients are minimal, but the taste and texture are phenomenal.  The result is a thin and crispy crust without any fancy equipment.  You don’t need a pizza stone, or a pizza peel or even corn grits.  All you need is a large non-stick baking tray, circular (14”) or rectangular in shape.

Just like the crust, the sauce is a minimalist recipe as well, but with a well-balanced taste thanks to the oregano, parmesan cheese and tomato base.  This sauce makes itself known in the pizza, but without overwhelming your taste buds.  It’s subtle and gives just the right amount of tang and yet lets the crust and toppings take centre stage.  I’m going to show of how to make two different types of pizzas, but as with take-out pizza, the options are as varied as you can think of.  The first one is a basic pepperoni pizza and the second is a Mediterranean chicken pizza and they’re fantastically flavourful, delicious, crispy and gooey.  Let’s get started.

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How to Make Pizza from Scratch – Recipe

Ingredients

For Crust

  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp. (1/2 envelope) yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and more to grease bowl

For Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. basil, finely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese

Toppings

For Pepperoni

  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • 40 – 50 sliced pepperoni

For Mediterranean Chicken

  • 3 cups of packed baby spinach, sautéed in garlic and olive oil
  • 1 cup of roasted peppers, sliced into narrow strips
  • 1 cup of baked or pan-fried chicken breast, sliced into narrow strips
  • ¼ cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups, mozzarella cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

For Crust

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or into a large bowl if making by hand), add all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined.
  2. Add warm water and olive oil and continue to mix on low speed until everything comes together (or kneed for 10 minutes if making by hand or until dough is soft and elasticy, skip to step 4).
  3. Increase speed to medium and knead for 3 minutes.  Turn up speed to medium-high and kneed for 1 minute and turn back down to medium speed and knead for 2 minutes.  Dough should be soft and elasticy.  Turn off stand mixer or electric egg beater.   If dough is too dry add warm water 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired texture is achieved.  If dough is too watery add more flour until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Grease a large bowl with a little bit of olive oil, shape dough into a ball and drop into the prepared bowl and swirl around until dough is coated in olive oil.  Cover and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

For Sauce

  1. While the dough is rising make the tomato sauce.  Warm a pot over medium heat and add olive oil.  Sautee garlic until aromatic, 1 minute.
  2. Add tomato sauce and cook until warmed through.  Add all other ingredients except the parmesan cheese and cook until mixture comes to a boil, 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Taste test and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken, 5 minutes.  Turn off heat, add parmesan cheese and mix well until combined.  Set aside to cool.

For Assembling and Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Once dough has risen, place on baking tray and stretch (do not roll with a rolling pin) to fit.  Press dough into the side of the baking tray in order to make an edge and crust if desired.  You do not need to grease the baking tray as there’s already olive oil on the dough.
  2. Spoon sauce on top of the dough and spread until it evenly covers the dough.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
  3. If making pepperoni, arrange pepperoni slices on top (each slice touching its neighbour as the pepperoni will shrink when baking and you don’t want large gaps).
  4. If making Mediterranean chicken, then add the sautéed baby spinach, roasted peppers and baked/pan-fried chicken evenly over the mozzarella cheese sprinkle crumpled feta cheese on top.
  5. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through and crispy.  Turn off oven, remove pizza and let it sit for a few minutes prior to slicing.

Pictorial

For Crust

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  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or into a large bowl if making by hand), add all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined.
  2. Add warm water and olive oil and continue to mix on low speed until everything comes together (or kneed for 10 minutes if making by hand or until dough is soft and elasticy, skip to step 4).
  3. Increase speed to medium and knead for 3 minutes.  Turn up speed to medium-high and kneed for 1 minute and turn back down to medium speed and knead for 2 minutes.  Dough should be soft and elasticy.  Turn off stand mixer or electric egg beater.   If dough is too dry add warm water 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired texture is achieved.  If dough is too watery add more flour until desired consistency is achieved.

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  1. Grease a large bowl with a little bit of olive oil, shape dough into a ball and drop into the prepared bowl and swirl around until dough is coated in olive oil.  Cover and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

For Sauce

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  1. While the dough is rising make the tomato sauce.  Warm a pot over medium heat and add olive oil.  Sautee garlic until aromatic, 1 minute.
  2. Add tomato sauce and cook until warmed through.  Add all other ingredients except the parmesan cheese and cook until mixture comes to a boil, 2 – 3 minutes.

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  1. Taste test and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken, 5 minutes.  Turn off heat, add parmesan cheese and mix well until combined.  Set aside to cool.

For Assembling and Baking

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  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Once dough has risen, place on baking tray and stretch (do not roll with a rolling pin) to fit.  Press dough into the side of the baking tray in order to make an edge and crust if desired.  You do not need to grease the baking tray as there’s already olive oil on the dough.

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  1. Spoon sauce on top of the dough and spread until it evenly covers the dough.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
  2. If making pepperoni, arrange pepperoni slices on top (each slice touching its neighbour as the pepperoni will shrink when baking and you don’t want large gaps).
  3. If making Mediterranean chicken, then add the sautéed baby spinach, roasted peppers and baked/pan-fried chicken evenly over the mozzarella cheese sprinkle crumpled feta cheese on top.
  4. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through and crispy.  Turn off oven, remove pizza and let it sit for a few minutes prior to slicing.

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Serve with a simple side salad and chili flakes on the side.

Homemade Butter in 10 Minutes

Serves 10

Making your own butter is quick and easy thanks to modern appliances.  Using your stand mixer or blender, you can make your own homemade, creamy, smooth, perfectly spreadable, edible, cookable, bakable butter in 10 minutes.  Let’s get started.

Homemade Butter

Homemade Butter in 10 Minutes – Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cream, full fat (increase quantity for larger batch)
  • Couple pinches of salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Method 1:  Add cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until cream thickens.  Increase to medium speed until butter starts to separate from buttermilk.  When you see first traces of buttermilk appear, cover the mixer with a clean towel to catch splattered buttermilk or else it will be everywhere.  The whole process should take about five minutes.
  2. Method 2:  Add cream to the container of a blender and blend on medium speed until butter starts to separate from the buttermilk.
  3. Place a clean bowl underneath a strainer and pour butter and buttermilk in.  Buttermilk will strain into the bowl and your butter will remain on the strainer.
  4. Take the strainer and run it and the butter through cold water in the sink.  Use a wooden spoon to slightly knead the butter until all traces of buttermilk are gone and water runs clear.  This is important as your butter will not keep for more than a few days if all buttermilk is not removed.

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Place in a clean butter dish, add salt (if using) and mix until well combined.  Chill in the fridge and enjoy with warm bread or use for any other purpose you would use store-bought butter!  You can use the buttercream for pancakes or even drink it with a little bit of salt or replace it for milk in mango lassi.

Homemade Quick, Easy No-Knead Artisan Bread

Serves 4

I’ve been told that there’s something very calming and satisfying about making your own bread.  It’s something so basic to human survival, something with such extensive prehistoric roots, something so comforting that I had to try to make it myself!  Breaking bread together is a big part of family life for many people so add making bread together to your daily routine as well.  It’s so quick and easy to make that just about anyone, of any age can do it.  Let’s get started.

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Homemade Quick, Easy No-Knead Artisan Bread – Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour (you can use plain flour or bread flour and any combination of white and whole wheat flours to suit your taste)
  • ¼ tsp. instant dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients together with a wooden spoon until a messy, wet dough comes together.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and leave on your countertop overnight (at least 12 hours) for the yeast to do its work.
  3. 1 hour and 30 minutes prior to baking, turn dough out onto a floured surface.   Wet hands with warm water and shape dough into a tight ball.  Tuck it in on itself from the sides to achieve this effect.
  4. Line your bowl with parchment paper and plop dough on top.  Cover again with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, toss a towel over and let it rest for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  5. Half an hour prior to baking, place a large, deep baking dish with lid (large enough to fit dough, which will have double in size and deep enough to accommodate as it will rise during baking) into the oven and begin preheating it to 450 degrees.
  6. When oven has been preheating for half an hour and dough has been resting for 1 hour and 30 minutes, remove the baking dish from the oven and take the now risen dough (parchment and all) and place it carefully into the baking dish.  Trim parchment if necessary and place lid over and put it back into the oven to bake or 30 minutes.
  7. Remove lid and bake for another 10 minutes.  Turn off oven and remove baking dish.  Take bread out (lift it by the parchment paper and it should come out without any issues) and let it cool for a few minutes.
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Dough after it has been sitting on the counter top 12 hours.

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Turn out dough on to floured surface

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Tuck in dough on itself until a ball forms.

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Cover and let rest

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And hour and a half later.

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Lift with parchment and put in heated baking dish

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Cover and bake, use a larger baking dish than I did.

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Uncover and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes

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Remove from oven once crust is golden brown

 

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Once slightly cool, you’ll hear the crust crackling, remove parchment paper, slice with a bread knife and enjoy your own, homemade, warm bread with good butter or to mop up saucy Singapore Chili Crab or Sambal Tofu.  It’s one of the most comforting and satisfying food experiences you can have.  The bread will be perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft, dense and slightly chewy on the inside: the perfect artisan bread.