Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How To Make Yeasted Naan


After 3 long years, I'm finally going on a vacation to India. I have been trying hard to picture my little brother as not my 'little brother' but a teen boy whose voice has changed. And how much ever I try, I just can't picture it. My mom has been reporting white hair since a couple of years and how she has slowed down in her cooking ventures. I can't imagine how that can be. I only remember my mom as beautiful young and spirited woman with four young kids, managing to look that great and cook great new food every day.

My heart is filled with curiosity and a hope to find the old and a hope to find something new. I'm ready to finally face the changes that I have not been able to imagine. I'm equally nervous to see how different they find me. But I have a feeling that as much things change, they still remain the same. While I'm gone, some lovely friends will be sharing their talent and food on Journey Kitchen. I hope you shall be warm and stay around.


I prepared my entry for monthly mingle which I'm hosting weeks back. I knew I had to make the famous Indian yeasted flat bread - Naan. To me, naan should be puffy with crisp crust spotted with bits of smoked char that breaks open to reveal airy and slightly chewy and stretchy bread perfect for dunking in gravies and sauces.


But when David Lebovitz  recently tweeted asking about why some naan bread use baking powder, I decided to experiment with my own recipe by adding other leavening agents and see the difference. In theory adding baking powder, helps to leaven the bread when it’s baking while yeast leavens it before it cooks. But I added about 1/2 tsp of baking powder and noticed no difference. As for baking soda, the theory is baking soda should cut the acidity of yogurt and neutralize the flavor as well as help leaven the bread.  I decided to go with 1/8 tsp as baking soda can be strong. Now I could not make out any difference with this addition but M said it was slightly tender than the original. So I decided to make it again, this time without telling him which is which. And we didn't think baking soda made any difference either. Over the next few days, I kept experimenting so much M finally said 'I really think your naan bread is awesome, can we move on with life?'

I hope my torturing M will help you people make great naan bread at home. Here's also wishing everyone who celebrates a very happy and prosperous Eid. 

Yeasted Naan 
Makes 6 


2 cups bread flour or strong white flour or all purpose flour*
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp active yeast
2 tbsp ghee
5 tbsp yogurt
1/2 cup lukewarm water

Things you need

A heavy bottom skillet with lid or Pressure cooker


* I use bread flour whenever I have it around because it creates much better naan but when I don't all purpose flour works just fine. Sometimes I also use 1 cup chapati flour instead of all white flour for nuttier flavor.


Mix the water, yeast and sugar and leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to come alive. It’s necessary that you don't get confused between a yeast that mixes and rises to the top and an yeast which actually proofs with bubbles of air forming. 

Measuring Flour

Add salt to the flour and keep aside. Once the yeast has proofed, add it to the flour along with yogurt and ghee. Knead the dough well for about 10 minutes. The dough may feel sticky at first, apply some ghee on your hand and keep kneading till it’s soft and supple. Keep it in a greased bowl covered with wet towel to rise. 


It may take any where between 2-3 hours to rise.


Once it rises, knead it for another 5 minutes and divide it into equal size balls. If you want to make garlic or cumin flavored naan, add it while kneading the dough at this point.


Roll each piece into a flat ball.


Dust the work surface with flour and start rolling the balls with a rolling pin.


After the intial rolling it become much easier to handle it with hands.


Try to give it a tear drop shape by stretching it from one end. Don't stretch too much as it may tear. 


Heat the pressure cooker or skillet on high heat for 3 minutes. Put this rolled naan on the skillet and cover with a lid. If using a pressure cooker, remove the whistle and tighten the lid. In less than a minute bubbles with pop up.  Reduce the gas to medium high, flip the naan on the other side and cook for few seconds till the bubbles char. Alternatively, with tongs take the naan and put the other side on an open flame to cook and char the bubbles. Naan cooks very quickly at this point so don't let it be on flame for more than 30 seconds. 

Brush immediately with butter and sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves.

Remember about the "pack a bag'' campaign I posted about? It is started by a fellow friend blogger from Kuwait and I think it's a fabulous thought. Here's my bag (box). I actually had two, one which I gave away earlier during Ramadan and here's another. It's amazing how realize how much we have when you look at it from giving perspective. I hope it shall inspire you too a little something for the others too. I tried to really close into the picture so that you don't see the mess around it. 



  1. THIS IS WICKED! Can I have a garlic naan please?

  2. Lovely photos, Kulsum -- I adore seeing the process of bread making. I find it calming. Is that totally weird?

    I really need to try making naan, too.

  3. Wow...this looks incredible! I've always wanted to make naan. I always just buy it from the grocery. Yummmm!

  4. Wonderful!! I am making these nans this week :)

  5. omg this is a wonderful post! I can eat naan everyday and volunteer to be your tester! :D

  6. buon viaggio-sending you best wishes and warm thoughts for your trip-three years-wow-enjoy every hug-and moment. eid mubarik! beautiful post. x shayma

  7. what a lovely post. first i do hope you have an awesome time in india! enjyo each moment with your brother and mother.
    next - the naans look sensational and are absolutely the perfect addition to the monthly mingle!

  8. Yay for going on vacation -- I'm sure your mom is still lovely and aging gracefully =). This naan looks great -- love the mood of all the photos, including the process shots. Can't wait to see the guest post =D.

  9. Kulsum,

    Naan has been our favorite when we eat out at Indian restaurants, but I've never made one at home though I am very curious to. hope your recipe is an excuse to give it a go now..
    Three years feels like a long wait to see your mom and brother. Eid Mubarak and wish you a fun filled and memorable vacation! I'm sure you'll be back with a bagful of new recipes :)
    BTW, the flour measuring shot(falling off) is simply cool!

  10. Wow looks perfect and nice stepwise too

  11. lovely!! amazing clicks and the step by step!. Naan is definitely one of the measures to use to ensure u visit the restaurant again or not! All those rubbery, hard, crumbly naans.. meh. Yours came out all puffy, soft and charred all perfect!

    totally true about siblings, my younger brother got married recently, and i am still in shock.. cant believe he is grown up enough to have a family:)

    have a fun vacation!
    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog

  12. Yummy. I lurve naan. And I never knew it could be made in a pressure cooker. Now all I need with this naan is a plate of butter chicken!

  13. Oh man Kulsum..this is ultimate, I wanted to do naan too for the mingle, but then got lazy and super lured by proper baking :) Looks lovely.
    Have a fun & safe vacation in India..will miss ya. And I m so J :)

  14. Yours look FANTASTIC!! :) I do use the baking powder and soda (never experimented with each alone), and have tried w/out with only yeast.. the only diff. I noticed is w/ the powder and soda, the naan is a little less stretchy and little more flaky on the inside than without. love all the photos, esp. one of the flour.

  15. Wow, I can't imagine being away from home for 3 years! I live abroad now but still haven't gone longer than 6 months. I hope you have a wonderful visit! This naan looks just incredible. I am so glad to have stumbled upon your blog! The photos and recipes are just sensational.

  16. It's fantastic. I made something similar a few weeks ago. The flavor and texture was so much better than regular naan.

  17. What a great explanation for making naan. Your pictures are divine and the end result - oh so yummy. Will have to try to make it now, especially love how you turn it over and can char on an open flame. Have a great time during your trip home Kulsum ;D

  18. What better entry for the Mingle than everybody's fav Naan :) I made it twice so far .. but not veru successful yet.
    I hope you have a fantastic time in India and have loads of fun!

  19. Your photography is addictive! That Naan looks absolutely adorable. :)

  20. WOw,i didn't know Naan can be made in pressure Cooker..looks delicious...Have a fun filled trip back home!

  21. Beautiful and perfect naan! Your pictures are fabulous, too.

    Wishing you safe travels on your vacay.

  22. I honestly just fell head-first to the ground, this looks SO AMAZING.

    Gonna have a bruise.

  23. Your naan looks AMAZING Kulsum!!! I love naan, it is simply delicious!

    Have a fantastic holiday!

  24. Move on from Naan?! He cracks me up, he should be thankful he married a woman who is willing to perfect her Naan recipe so much! Have a fabulous time with your family.

  25. I am spell bounded Kulsum. These are picture perfect Naans. I felt the same when I met my folks after 2 1/2 years. Have a super duper vacation in India.

  26. thank you for posting this again :* and your killing me softly with your naan post , its definitely on my to do list!

  27. Those naans look amazing! Really beautiful and tempting. Love your pictures too.



  28. Great lookin' naans! And in a pressure cooker no less. I remember those gas tandoors that were popular a long time ago and my mom used to make tandoori rotis in them. Wish you a lovely time in India!

  29. I made these for dinner, but on a griddle/tawa. Accidentally put one cup of yogurt in instead of 5tbs! The dough was really sticky and I had to add quite a bit of flour. I put chopped garlic in the dough from the beginning with the other ingredients. Also, I got impatient and only let it rise for about 45 minutes. But they were so good! I'm keeping this recipe, but next time I will have to decide--my version or yours? :)

  30. Thank you for this recipe! The naan turned out great as a post-engagement dish for my new fiance. I really loved the texture.

  31. Loved your idea of cooking naan in a pressure cooker! Will try to do that, somehow my naans always turn out bready, which I don't like. Will try this recipe and method and let ya know!

  32. hello, I just found your blog and feel so inspired by all your wonderful recipes and pictures. Thank you for sharing!
    I have one question. Is it possible to make the naan some hours before a dinner, or should it be eaten very fresh and still warm?

    1. Sandra - I usually start making it 15-20 minutes before the meal and keep them wrapped in an aluminium foil so they are warm till the time to eat. They are usually best eaten fresh but if you plan to make it ahead don't go beyond an hour. Wrap them in aluminium foil and before serving tuck them in a hot oven for 5-6 minutes. Hope that helps.

      Thank you for reading :-)

  33. thank you so much for your prompt reply!

  34. The naan looks absolutely delicious,but as a vegan I don't eat yogurt. Is it necessary to put it in or can I substitute it? If so, what would you recomend?

    1. You sure can use dairy substitutes or just water. Yogurt yields richer and softer naan but I haven't honestly tried substitutes. Please do let us know abt the results.

  35. I am also vegan and this is my favorite naan recipe. I sub the dairy yogurt for soy yogurt 1:1 ratio. In addition, instead of ghee, I use olive oil also at a 1:1 ratio. It works great - hope this helps.

  36. ok- short of leaving my house to buy ghee-- can I just melt butter and skim the clear stuff off? And when you talk about yeast...what do you mean "It’s necessary that you don't get confused between a yeast that mixes and rises to the top and an yeast which actually proofs with bubbles of air forming." I'm using Bob's Red Mill Active Dry Yeast. Is that acceptable? And lastly, I know many will cringe, but can I just use my kitchen aid mixer instead of kneading? It's a busy time of year and I need to multi-task!

  37. I have just stumbled upon your blog but I'm definitely sticking to it :)

  38. Hello I have tried your recipe. It came out very well. Have posted the pictures on my blog and of course I have share linked it to your page. What a wonderful blog. I'm just a beginner. Here it is
    Would love to know what you think.

    1. thank you so much Nami - your naans look perfect!


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