Welcome to part IV of the series of component dishes to make the transcendent ‘Second to Naanwich’ that still has me obsessed almost three weeks after eating it. (Don’t forget to peek at Part I, Candied Jalapenos a.k.a. Cowboy Candy, Part II, Homemade Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Yogurt Salsa [Raita] and Part III, Homemade Ghee !) Tomorrow I’ll share the recipe for the Tandoori Style Grilled Chicken and directions for putting together the you-know-what!
You know how I feel about bread.(You can find proof is here, here, here, and here for starters.) It’s no mystery that I would do just about anything for a hot, fresh loaf of crusty bread. And I’m about to share with you one of the most instant gratification perfection breads you can possibly make; Naan*. We all know that bread is the closest thing to perfection in the food world, but this particular version of naan takes it one step closer; it’s fried. Can you think of something better than chewy bread that was fried in a pan with butter? I’ll give you a minute to think about it.
*The hard-working grandmothers of an entire sub-continent just collectively gave me the stink-eye for suggesting their dietary staple is a convenience food.
Still thinking? It’s alright. I’m not in a hurry. I’ll just nibble my naan here.
Got anything yet?
I didn’t think so. Bread. Butter. Fried. That’s really all you need in life.
There is an advantage to this version of naan; it uses the super versatile Master Bread Dough (that I’ve evangelized about many times before; here, here, here and here.) That means that you can satisfy your naan cravings -and believe me, they will occur- in mere minutes because the dough is parked in the refrigerator awaiting your beck and call and ghee and pan. In five minutes flat, you can be scorching your tastebuds on a perfect naan straight from the frying pan. That is serious convenience food. It makes me look good to whip up bread in about as much time as it takes to rip open a bag of chips and a container of dip. That makes me very popular with
This is a job for ghee. Sure, you could fry it in oil or plain butter, but there are a couple reasons that ghee is superior here. First, oil is just bland in this application. B-o-r-i-n-g. And that is a sin with bread. Go forth and sin no more.
Second, if you read my post on homemade ghee you might remember that I said turning butter into ghee raises the smoke point. That’s a very good thing when you’re frying bread. It gives you longer to cook the bread before it scorches. The result is naan that is cooked all the way through; chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside and a wee bit charred around the edges vs. carbonized on the outside and gummy on the inside.
This is good-for-the-soul food; happy-from-the-inside-out food. Do yourself a favor and make some today. I boss you around because I love you.
For a photo-free, printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here!
The Dough recipe is reprinted from ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ and the Naan recipe is gently adapted from the same source. This does make a lot of dough. You can use it to make the recipes found here, here, here and here or you can halve or quarter the recipe.
Ingredients for the Master Bread Dough:
- 6 cups warm (but not hot) water
- 3 Tablespoons Kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce to 2 teaspoons)
- 3 Tablespoons active dry yeast (or SAF Instant Yeast)
- 13 cups (3 pounds, 7.25 ounces by weight) all-purpose flour
Mix all ingredients together in a 12 quart bowl or container until an even but shaggy dough forms. You do not have to knead it. Simply cover loosely with plastic wrap or a lid. Do not cover tightly or this might happen to you! Allow the dough to rise for two hours at room temperature or until the dough has more than doubled in bulk. It may collapse back in on itself or it may not. Either way, after it has doubled you can either put it into the refrigerator to use within the next two weeks or you can use part of it immediately.
Ingredients for the Naan:
- Master Bread Dough
- all-purpose flour
Dust the surface of the dough with a generous amount of all-purpose flour.
Pull up a portion of dough with your hands and use a sharp knife to cut off a portion about the size of a golf ball. Place on a clean, lightly floured counter top.
Use your hands or a rolling pin to spread the dough out as thin as you can get it. If the dough is fighting you a lot (i.e. springing back to its original form) you can let it rest for a couple minutes and tackle it again. It will stretch eventually! For the naanwiches, I stretched the naan to about the shape of a single chicken breast. That is totally unnecessary, but it made the sandwiches prettier and (I think!) easier to eat.
Place a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid over high heat. I used a hard-anodized cast-aluminum pan, but cast-iron works really well here, too. When a few drops of water flung onto the pan from your fingertips skitter across the surface before evaporating, the pan is ready to use.
Spoon about 2 teaspoons of ghee into the hot pan and swirl to coat. Gently place the stretched dough into the pan and cover with the lid immediately.
Lower the heat to medium/ medium-high. Fry for one to two minutes before lifting the lid. This allows the underside of the bread to fry while the top side steams.
Lift the lid to check the bread. If the top is puffy and the underside is a rich golden brown around the edges and on large areas of the center, flip the bread.
Cover again and cook for an additional two minutes or until the second side is also a deep golden brown. Remove naan to a rack and repeat until you have the desired number of naans. These are best served within an hour of being made.
Don’t forget that tomorrow we make these: