It’s been at least a year since Ashley asked me for the recipe for naan, the traditional Indian flatbread I make regularly. It was on my list of future posts and last week I realized that my dear young friend is moving to Ithaca for grad school this month. Since I had so much fun with both Adam and Megan starring in the previous two posts, I decided invite Ash to join me for a naan blogfest. So this afternoon, while the clouds gathered and thunder began rumbling in the swampiest of skies, we got out the flour and the rolling pin.
I met Ashley through Brian when they were friends in high school. She shares my love of cooking and pottery and we forged a connection. When Sadie came to live with us as a tiny, feral rescue kitten, Ashley was smitten and offered to become her caregiver. So, for five years, this wonderful young woman has stayed here when we travel, taking care of our house, and loving Sadie as much as we do. And since cats know when people have hearts of pure gold, Sadie can never get enough of her dear friend, Ash.
Naan is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, which is a wood-burning clay oven. I was reminded of this last weekend, when I “cooked” my pots in the wood fired kiln at Canton Clayworks. So, in celebration of that firing, all the pots you see in this blog post were fired there. AND, Ashley helped me to photograph the one I have chosen for my very first Instagram giveaway this week!! Check it out!
In spite of this fun reminder, I do not have a tandoor. Or a wood kiln. Yet. But I recently acquired a stylish, new, cast iron, ridged grill pan from Victoria! I think it works just as well, and have tweaked the recipe for this delicious flatbread so that you can make it using a grill pan or skillet, since I assume you don’t have a bread kiln either.
These beautiful flatbreads are chewy, stretchy, tender, and crisp, like a good pizza crust. They are delicious in both sweet and savory applications. I served them last week with the Butterless Butter Chicken. They do, in fact, make a terrific base for a pizza. I like them dipped in good olive oil with sprinkle of salt; a slice of ripe tomato doesn’t hurt. Make a lovely cinnamon toast with butter and cinnamon sugar. Or enjoy as Ash did today, with tahini and honey. Naan can be frozen; thaw and recrisp in a hot oven or directly over a flame.
Makes 8 naan, roughly 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.
2 cups organic bread flour
½ cup organic whole wheat flour
2 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
2 tbs. cane sugar
1 tsp. fine sea salt
¼ cup yogurt
2 tbs. olive oil, plus a bit more for oiling the bowl
1 cup warm (not hot) water
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl (you may use a stand mixer and dough hook). Make a well and add wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until dough comes together. Transfer to floured board and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Oil the bowl, and place the dough in the bowl; cover with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Working on a floured board, use a scraper or knife to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and form these into smooth balls. Let stand for 5 minutes while you preheat a cast iron grill pan or skillet.
Using just enough flour to prevent sticking, roll the dough balls out into oblongs roughly 6 x 3 inches. Place carefully into preheated grill pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until you can see dark brown marks and the underside is dry. Turn bread 90 degrees to create crosshatches and cook for another minute or so. Flip and cook for 2 minutes. You should be able to develop a pleasant rhythm of rolling and cooking. If this seems too complicated, invite a wonderful, young partner to assist you like I did!
Serve hot, warm, or cool.