Naan is a soft and pillowy Indian-style flatbread traditionally made in a tandoor, or cylindrical clay oven. The dough gets slapped against the walls of the tandoor, where it adheres and bakes quickly over a burning fire. Fortunately for all of us, it’s possible to make naan at home and replicate the high heat and charred flavor of a clay oven by using a very hot cast iron skillet or nonstick pan. I’ve tried many recipes with varying degrees of success; the first time I made this one, my husband was still talking about it the next day, so I knew I had a winner. It’s pretty quick — save for the rising time — and so rewarding, especially once you taste how delicious it is compared to store-bought. Serve with soup or Indian-style curry dishes for soaking up the sauce.
As you can see, the ingredients are very basic. The yogurt and olive oil add a bit of tang and richness. The anise seeds add just a hint of licorice flavor — not traditional at all but I love it. Feel free to leave them out, or replace them with nigella seeds (which have a subtle onion flavor), poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
Begin by dissolving the yeast and sugar in 3/4 cup warm water. Let it sit about ten minutes, until frothy.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, remaining sugar, anise seeds and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk to blend.
Add the yogurt and olive oil to the frothy yeast mixture.
Then whisk to blend.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients.
And stir with a fork until the dough comes together.
Dust your hands with flour and knead into a soft, sticky ball.
Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm spot for 1-1/2 to 3 hours, or until about doubled in size. Hint: the warmer the spot, the faster it will rise.
Fill a small bowl with flour. Dust some of the flour onto a work surface. Dump the dough on top and sprinkle the dough with more flour.
Shape the dough into a rectangle, adding more flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick. Then, divide into six equal portions.
Roll each portion of dough in the bowl of flour so they don’t stick.
Heat a cast iron or heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. While it heats, roll one of the dough balls into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick.
Place the dough in the hot, dry skillet.
Cook until the surface is full of air bubbles and the bottom is browned and blistered in spots.
Flip the naan and cook a few minutes more.
Brush the cooked naan with melted butter, and repeat with remaining dough balls.
Serve warm and enjoy!
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (not instant active dry yeast or rapid-rise yeast)
- 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
- 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with a knife, plus more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heaping 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds (optional)
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons melted salted butter, for brushing on finished naans
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar with 3/4 cup warm water (about 100°F). Let it sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar, flour, salt and anise seeds (if using). Set aside.
- Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt and olive oil to it and whisk to combine. Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and mix the dough together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, dust your hand with flour and knead gently into a soft, slightly sticky dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. Lightly oil or spray a clean bowl with nonstick cooking spray (the bowl should be large enough to allow the dough to double in size). Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let sit in a warm place for 1.5-3 hours, or until about doubled in size (hint: the warmer the spot, the faster the dough will rise).
- Fill a small bowl with about 1/2 cup flour. Dust a work surface with some of the flour and dump the dough on top. Sprinkle some of the flour on top of the dough and on your hands. Shape the dough into a long rectangle and cut into 6 equal portions, dusting with more flour as necessary so the dough doesn't stick. Roll each portion of dough in the bowl of flour to keep them from sticking.
- Warm a large cast iron or heavy nonstick pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Using a rolling pin, roll one of the dough balls into an oval shape about 1/8-inch thick (it should be about 9 x 4 inches). Pick up the dough and flip-flop it back and forth between your hands to release any excess flour; then gently lay the dough in the dry skillet and cook until the top is bursting with air bubbles and the bottom is golden and blackened in spots, a few minutes. Flip the naan and cook about 1-2 minutes more until the the bottom is lightly browned and blistered in spots. Remove the naan from the skillet and brush with melted butter. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining naans, adjusting the heat lower if necessary as you go (I usually find it necessary to lower the heat to medium after the first naan). Serve warm.
- Note: To keep the cooked naan warm, place them in a 200°F oven. Store leftovers in a Ziplock bag and reheat in a 350°F oven wrapped in foil.
- Serving size: 1 naan
- Calories: 241
- Fat: 9g
- Saturated fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 35g
- Sugar: 3g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 5g
- Sodium: 323mg
- Cholesterol: 11mg
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