When Will first told me he wanted to make naan bread, I thought he was being overzealous and showoffy. However, I have since discovered that naan bread, while it appears fancy and complicated to make, is fairly simple. Once again, we turned to our favorite food website, Budget Bytes, to delve into the world of breadmaking. My experience is limited to Irish Soda Bread, so naan bread was going to be a different feast. Will decided that ISB and naan would be the same type of thing to make, so he put me in charge of this experiment. I instinctively put him in charge as chief flour operator. Breadmaking requires teamwork because once your hands get sticky from the dough, it’s disastrous to try to stick your hand back in your flour container. You will be seeing lumps of that bread in there for awhile if you do that.
At first, the process didn’t seem so bad. Mix stuff, knead the dough a bit, let it sit for a couple hours to rise. Easy peasy. Well, after it’s done rising is when the trouble can begin. Apparently on our first attempt to make this, I must have left it a little too sticky before letting it rise because after cutting it up into 8 pieces, trying to roll it out was a pain. It kept sticking to everything! Luckily, I had my chief flour operator nearby and was able to bring the situation under control. Getting the naan into the pan and waiting to see what happened was nervewracking. We were pretty convinced it wasn’t going to work, but then it started to look like this:
Naan Bread (adapted from Budget Bytes; yields 8-10 pieces)
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 – 3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 large egg
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve and let it sit for a few minutes until it is frothy on top. At that point, stir in the oil, yogurt and egg until evenly combined.
In a medium sized bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the flour/salt mixture and stir until well combined. Continue adding flour a half a cup at a time until you can no longer stir the mixture with a spoon. Turn the ball of dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead the ball of dough for about 3 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking (having a helper for this can be crucial to the success of the bread!). The dough should end up being smooth and very soft, but not sticky. Loosely cover the dough and let it rise until double in size (about 45 minutes). After it rises, gently flatten the dough and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball by stretching the dough back under itself until the top is smooth and round.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with non-stick spray (if necessary). Making one dough ball at a time, roll out a ball until it is about 1/4 inch thick and approximately 6 inches in diameter. Place the rolled out dough onto the hot skillet and cook until the under side is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface. Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well. Repeat with each ball of dough, only doing one at a time and rolling out the dough right before putting it on the skillet. Serve plain or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with herbs!
Recipe: Budget Bytes: Naan Bread
Yellow Jasmine Rice (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 4)
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 whole bay leaf
2 tbsp butter
Heat the butter, turmeric, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir and heat until the butter has melted. Add the dry rice to the pot. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes to slightly toast the rice and spices (popping and crackling noises are okay). Add 3 cups of chicken broth and one bay leaf to the pot. Place a lid on top, increase the heat to high, and bring the pot to a rolling boil. As soon as it reaches a full boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes. After about 20 minutes, turn off heat and let it rest (do not remove lid) for an additional 10 minutes before serving.