I SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO CREATE THIS OF MY OWN ACCORD.
This is the sort of thing that needs to be portioned out. Prepared and purchased in some wonderful hole-in-the-wall far from my house. Preferably somewhere accessible only by foot, after a 10k hike.
I cannot have unbridled access to a veritable buffet of moist shredded lamb and soft, chewy naan hot from the skillet, along with as much tzatziki as my heart desires. Because when this is presented to me, and there are no witnesses, it’s easy for my brain to forget the fact that my birthday suit now more resembles a sumo suit, or at the very least care not at all until I’ve had just a little bit more… another wee bite… and a few more chunks of lamb, and what’s this, another fresh naan still warm from the buttery pan? I wonder what it might taste like doused in cinnamon sugar?
There was leftover lamb; we rewarmed it and shredded it with two forks. I decided to make naan – one of the main reasons I could never give up bread products entirely – because really, aren’t all flatbreads similar versions of the same general idea? I didn’t want flour tortillas, and I could have done with pita, but I wanted something soft, bulbous and chewy to wrap around the meat and garlicky tzatziki. (Also easy to make: grate cucumber onto a paper towel and squeeze excess moisture out; stir into thick plain yogurt with two finely smooshed garlic cloves and a big pinch of salt; leave to get to know each other and intensify for a few hours.)
It’s funny that naan seems like such an undertaking, but is really as easy to make as anything else. Stir and knead the dough, roll out pieces, cook in a hot skillet. The oil and yogurt makes it smooth and wonderful to work with; more so to eat.
I couldn’t stop taking pictures of each naan bread as it cooked:
My friend and Indian cook Tahera Rawji taught me to make naan (also samosas!) – she instructs to brush each piece of rolled dough on one side with oil and the other with milk before placing in the hot pan. I’ve brushed both sides with in the past but this time didn’t bother – brushing it is a bit messy but does ensure even coverage.
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
melted butter or oil, for frying
In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. If it doesn’t foam, the yeast is inactive; toss it out!
Stir in the flour, salt, canola oil, yogurt and egg and stir, then knead until you have a soft, pliable dough. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled in size; about an hour.
Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces and on a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin circle or oval.
Cook each naan in a nice hot skillet drizzled with oil (with a dab of butter too, if you like) until blistered and cooked, flipping as necessary. (When the surface has big blisters and is golden on the bottom, flip it over and cook until golden on the other side.
Makes about 8 naan.
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