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.

Apple Pie Crepes with Sweetened Yogurt

Serves 4

These crepes are so soft, so elasticy, so scrumptious and yet so easy to make they’re bound to become a regular on your weekend breakfast or brunch menu.  There’s also no need to let the batter rest in the fridge so it only takes a few minutes to whip up.  The apple pie filling makes it an extra special meal that’s great for family brunches on Sundays and the sweet-tart flavour of the sweetened yogurt dip is so unexpected yet so perfectly complimentary to the tartness in the apples that it’s sensational and elegant enough to serve to gusts!  Add a gourmet touch to your morning meals the quick and effortless way due to the easy to follow pictorial guide.  Let’s get started.

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Apple Pie Crepes with Sweetened Yogurt – Recipe

Ingredients

For Crepes:

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar, or to taste
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup lightly warm water
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine plus more for greasing pan

For Apple Pie Filling/Topping:

  • 2 Granny Smith Apples, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, or to taste
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

For Sweetened Yogurt Dip/Spread:

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup condensed milk

Instructions

For crepes:

  1. In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add milk, water, salt and mix to combine.
  3. Sift in flour a little bit at a time while continuing to whisk until flour is completely incorporated.
  4. In order to ensure there are no lumps in the batter, sieve into a bowl or beaker cup and stir in vanilla.
  5. Add melted butter or margarine and stir to combine.
  6. Set non-stick pan or crepe pan over medium heat and grease little bit of butter or margarine.  Once hot, lower the temperature to medium-low and pour batter.*
  7. Swirl pan until it’s covered in a thin layer of batter.  When batter starts to set and air bubbles start to appear (about 1 minute), carefully loosen the edges and flip crepe over.
  8. Wait 30 seconds and remove crepe to plate set over warming zone of stove or place in oven preheated to 150 degrees Fahrenheit to keep warm until ready to serve.
  9. Continue from step 5 onwards until all batter is used up.

*How much batter you pour will depend on how large your pan is.  For a small pan, use about ¼ cup of batter and for a large pan or crepe pan use about ½ cup.  If batter is too thick, add more milk until desired pouring consistency is achieved.

For Apple Pie Filling/Topping:

  1. Melt butter or margarine in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add sliced apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and sauté until apples are cooked through, but still slightly crispy, 5 – 7 minutes.
  2. Remove to serving dish and keep warm.

For Sweetened Yogurt Dip/Spread:

  1. In a small bowl whip yogurt with fork until smooth, add condensed milk and continue to whip until well incorporated.  Taste test for sweetness and adjust according to taste.  Remove to serving dish.

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Set out each component separately and let your family or guests assemble these delicious apple pie crepes according to their preferences.  Some like lots of filling and some like a little bit, some prefer to dunk crepes into the sweetened yogurt dip and some prefer to spread it on their crepes so let your family/friends play around with the assembly themselves.  You can also serve the apple pie filling rolled up in the crepes with the sweetened yogurt drizzled over top for an elegant effect.  Serve these crepes with different fillings or enjoy these apple pie crepes on a regular basis cuz these are absolutely addictive.

Chicken 65 – South Indian Style Chicken Bites (Healthy Oil-Free Baked Version)

Serves 4

Chicken 65 is a favourite South Indian appetizer. It’s often served with lemon wedges, sliced red onions and yogurt based dips.  There’s a bit of mystery behind why it’s called ‘chicken 65.’  Some claim it’s because the chicken has to be 65 days old and yet others claim because the authentic version has 65 spices.  The version that makes the most sense is that it was the 65th item on the Indian Army mess menu.  Whatever the back story is, it’s the taste that matters.  This version foregoes deep frying and instead the chicken is baked to perfection in the oven.  It’s so delicious and savory and zingy and spicy that you won’t miss the deep fryer.  Let’s get started.

Chicken 65

Chicken 65 – Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks*
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp. garam Masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground dried red chilies
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • Couple drops of red food colouring (optional)

* You can cut the chicken smaller, but I prefer to keep them a bit big so they bake nice and juicy.

Instructions

  1. Make a couple of deep slits in the chicken pieces, add salt and lime juice and combine, set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine rest of the ingredients together until mixture is smooth.  Add to chicken and mix until well coated.   Cover and marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  3. When marinated preheat oven to 435 degrees on convection bake and bake chicken until tender, 25 minutes.
  4. Flip chicken over and broil for 5 minutes until darkened in places.  Remove to plate.

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Serve with lemon wedges and mint and green chili dip.  It’s so savory, slightly spicy and goes perfectly well with the lemon and mint-chili dip that you’ll be smacking your lips.  This is one of my favourite appetizers, but it can also be served as a main course with naan and a side salad topped with mint-chili dip.  For cocktail parties, serves on skewers with lemon and mint-chili dip drizzled over.  Yum!