Naan and Chana Punjabi

12 Feb

This Chana Punjabi from The Wednesday Chef has become a favorite of mine, especially in these bitterly cold days of late winter. It’s hearty, spicy, and so satisfying.

I usually serve it with brown rice, but recently decided to attempt naan.  I love bread in all forms, but particularly love soft and chewy naan. I used to be able to get takeout naan to eat with my homemade Indian food, but now I live in the country about 15 miles from the nearest Indian restaurant. Now that I have this recipe I’ll never be without naan!

I adapted my recipe from 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. This is an amazing book–a must for anyone who loves Indian food! I looked at naan recipes online and they were all extremely complicated, with yeast, eggs, multi-hour rises, etc. This recipe is very simple, and very delicious. I don’t have a pizza stone or a griddle and had to improvise a bit. They turned out perfectly, especially since I burned them a bit under the broiler! That added a little authentic tandoori-style char!

Naan

3 cups all purpose flour (mine was a mixture of white and wheat flour), plus extra for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt (once I only had vanilla and it tasted fine!)
1 cup warm water
Canola oil
Melted butter or ghee

1. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.

2. Combine the warm water and yogurt in a measuring cup. Pour over the flour mixture, and mix. It will seem too dry but will soon come together into a soft, sticky ball.

3. Using your hands, gather the dough and knead it into a smooth, soft ball. You may need to dust your hands with flour, but don’t add too much.

4. Cut the dough into four equal portions. (I use my digital kitchen scale to make sure they are perfectly equal!) Lightly grease a plate with oil. Shape one portion of the dough into a bun-shaped round and put it on the plate. Repeat with the remaining dough.

5. Brush the tops of the dough with melted butter, cover with a plastic wrap, and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

6. Pre-heat broiler in your oven. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a heavy cookie sheet. I use commercial steel half sheet pans.  Put the pan under the broiler and heat for about 10 minutes. When the pan is nice and hot take it out of the oven and put the dough pieces on it, letting them stretch into long ovoid shapes. Put the dough back under the broiler for about 5-10 more minutes.  Keep an eye on them, because the dough will puff up!

7. You can top them with more melted butter if you want, but I don’t.

8. Devour.

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