My Way: Flatbread & Naan

>> Friday, 17 January 2014

Garlic chive flat bread photo garlicfbread9_zps7f741b45.jpg

So after posting a photograph of my flatbread on Facebook this morning (Jan 17), my inbox was flooded with requests for the recipe. Rather than have to send it out one at a time I thought I that would post the recipe here and also show you how I did it. A lot of people had questions about how to cook it.

I took inspiration from how Naan is made in a tandoor with a crisp bottom when cooked, and a nicely browned and charred top. When it came to brushing the flatbreads, I just went with a variety of things that I like. Feel free to do the same. I also make this flatbread plain and by plain, I mean I don't brush it with anything. I like it this way especially if I am eating Baigan (eggplant) or Tomato Choka.

As to the Naan itself, since I do not have access to things such as a Tandoor (in which Naan is traditionally cooked), I do what I always advise home cooks like myself to do - work with what you have. In my case, it was a cast iron skillet, a glass pot-cover that helps me see the bread as it puffs up, and a gas stove. Oh the other inspiration I took was from the way I have seen the women in my family make Sada roti - just as the roti is done cooking, they shift the tawah to reveal the flames of the burner and they push the Sada roti to the edge of the tawah and the flames lick the roti, charring it slightly and giving a wonderful smokey flavor. They call it say-kay (I'm not sure of the spelling).

There are two recipes here, one for the flatbread and the other for Naan, both the way I like it, hence the title of this post. As recipes go, adjust and adapt to suit your taste, that is what I generally do.

The dough for the flatbread is one I use to make flatbread pizza too (when I don't have time to make traditional pizza dough) and Sada Roti. However, I vary the kneading times depending on what I am making.

Let's start with the flatbread. Oh, one thing before you move on to the recipe, you can brush the breads with melted butter, ghee, or vegetable oil. You can also finely chop herbs such as chives, scallion, coriander/cilantro, basil and parsley, and mix them with the ghee or butter. Gently heat the ingredients together just to melt the butter or ghee and infuse with flavor. Remove from the heat and set aside. Make this before kneading the dough so that it has time for the flavours to develop. For one of the flatbreads below, I mashed roasted garlic into melted butter along with some minced chives.

FLATBREAD

You will need a cast iron skillet or similar type of pan. Use a tawah if you have one. A pot cover to fit the skillet or a metal bowl to place over the tawah. I find the covers extremely useful as they aid in the dough rising as it cooks and also helps to start cooking the top due to the heat/steam circulating at the top.

Yield: 8 - 9

INGREDIENTS


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, oil, or ghee
  • Lukewarm water
  • 1 small bowl with tap water
  • 1 small pastry brush
  • 1 pair kitchen tongs


DIRECTIONS


  1. Line a bowl with a cloth kitchen towel followed by some paper kitchen towels (about 2 layers). Set aside.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, yeast, sugar and salt to a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Rub in the vegetable shortening first then enough water to make a dough. If you are not using vegetable shortening, then add the oil or ghee along with the water to make a dough. Knead for 4 minutes then transfer the dough to an oiled bowl (or use the same bowl). Cover and let rest and rise in a warm place for at least 40 minutes. You can leave it longer if you like. Today I left mine for 90 minutes as I did chores. But don't leave it longer than that.
  4. Punch or press in the dough to release the air/gas and cut into 8 - 9 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a round ball. Keep covered.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet or similar type of pan on medium heat. 
  6. While the pan is heating, lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin. Roll 1 piece of the dough into a thin circle about 6 - 7 inches.
  7. Lightly brush the top of the rolled dough with tap water and transfer the dough to the pan placing it water-side down. You should hear the pan sizzle. Cover and let cook for 1 and 1/2 minutes. You may need to lower the heat a little.
  8. While you're waiting for the first side of the dough to cook, turn on the flame of another burner and set it to low.
  9. When the dough is puffed up and the first side cooked (it should removed easily from the pan, that is an indication that the first side is cooked), remove it from the pan and place it face down (the uncooked side) onto the burner/flame. Let it stay in that position for about 10 seconds and then keep moving it around and resting it for 5 to 10-second intervals until it is cooked and charred in various places. Remove and flip it charred-side up and brush with melted, butter or ghee. Transfer it to the lined bowl and repeat directions 6 to 9 until all the flatbreads are made.


Rolled dough photo FBcollage_zps87181fb6.jpg

FB cooking2 photo coveredskillet_zps1d84b451.jpg

FB cooking photo breadtoasting_zps8aa57843.jpg

Roasted Garlic Chives photo roastedgarlic_zps1e73d912.jpg

Brushing bread photo FBcollage3_zps2b3e5dfb.jpg

Falt bread photo garlicbread_zps1c6c3c6d.jpg

Flat breads photo gfbread_zps7e62725d.jpg

This is a plain version. See how flexible they are? If you want both sides to be soft, skip the brushing with water at direction 7. However, if you want it crisp on one side and soft on the other then brush with water before cooking. I like it both ways.

Plain flat bread photo PlainbreadCollage_zps358a245c.jpg

Now for the Naan.

Naan photo Naan_zps4a0056b9.jpg

NAAN

Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, whole cumin and nigella seeds can be sprinkled onto Naan immediately after brushing it with oil, melted butter or ghee. Lightly toast the cumin before adding it.

Yield: 6

INGREDIENTS


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 heaped tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, oil or ghee
  • 3 tablespoons whole yogurt
  • Lukewarm water or whole milk
  • 1 small bowl with tap water
  • 1 small pastry brush
  • 1 pair kitchen tongs


DIRECTIONS


  1. Line a bowl with a cloth kitchen towel followed by some paper kitchen towels (about 2 layers). Set aside.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Rub in the shortening if using and then add the yogurt and water or milk to make a dough. If not using shortening, then add the oil or ghee along with yogurt and milk at the same time and mix to make a dough. Knead for 4 - 5 minutes then transfer to an oiled bowl and leave to rise and proof in a warm place until more than doubled in size. About 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Punch down dough and cut into 6 equal pieces. Gently knead each piece of dough into a round ball. Keep covered.
  5. Heat a cast iron skillet or similar type of pan on medium heat. While the pan is heating, lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin. Roll 1 piece of the dough into a circle or teardrop shape about 1/4-inch thickness. Don't roll it too thinly.
  6. Lightly brush the top of the rolled dough with tap water and transfer the dough to the pan placing it water-side down. You should hear the pan sizzle. Cover and let cook for 3 - 4 mins or until puffed up. Lower the heat to medium low.
  7. While you're waiting for the first side of the dough to cook, turn on the flame of another burner and set it to low.
  8. When the dough is puffed up and the first side cooked (it should removed easily from the pan, that is an indication that the first side is cooked), remove it from the pan and place it face down (the uncooked side) onto the burner/flame. Let it stay in that position for about 12 seconds and then keep moving it around and resting it for 6 to 10-second intervals until it is cooked and charred in various places. Remove and flip it charred-side up and brush with melted, butter or ghee. Transfer it to the lined bowl and repeat directions 5 to 8 until all the flatbreads are made.

Naan2 photo naan2_zps29fd9de7.jpg

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