I vividly remember my first sweet taste of a Peshwari naan while living in London.  Not surprisingly then, this fragrant bread – and all the various accompanying curries – was sampled at one (and then many!) of the delicious curry houses in Brick Lane.

In fact, Brick Lane became a regular haunt for me.  Well, actually, only when I had spare cash after trying to live on my lowly salary of an account co-ordinator (read: do anything around the office girl) while in London in the early 1990s.

It is firmly because of my South Asian discoveries at Brick Lane, that I can unequivocally declare that my favourite cuisine in the whole wide world is …. Indian.

Are you shocked?

Even though you will never see a sampling of my favourite curries on this blog, I extend a gesture towards my most favoured fare here through this Indian flatbread.

Without the addition of a tandoor in my house to bake naan, fortunately all the recipes I researched confidently stated I could replicate this famous bread at home in the domestic oven.  Great news!

But after quite a number of trials, with a range of recipes and then extending to my own experimentation, I was finding it difficult to reproduce the soft texture.  The cooked bread was coming out too firm.  I played around with the ingredients to try and create a softer, more moist dough.  I tried baking the bread with steam and without steam.  I attempted a water bath at the base of the oven, and without a water bath at the base of the oven.  I tried baking the dough at different temperatures ranging from moderate to hot.  And I varied baking times from just a few minutes up to 10 minutes.

Batch after batch was a disappointment.  But the solution was ultimately staring at me in the face, literally.

Enter, the stovetop.

A light went off and I excitedly tested the use of a nonstick fry pan to ‘bake’ the dough.  The result?  If you do not have a tandoor in your house, this could be the next best thing.  Probably not a surprise seeing traditionally naan bread dough is slapped to the side of the tandoor oven – directly on a surface more similar to a fry pan than on a tray in the oven.  (So not sure why so many recipes call for the oven?)

Anyway, I certainly plan to bake more of this bread, and would just love any feedback on any other techniques fellow naan lovers out there have found successful.

I hope you enjoy this first fruit and nut installment!

{ Peshwari Naan } Original recipe by Julia @ Mélanger

* Ingredients *
1 1/2 cup whole milk
14g instant yeast
5 cups maida flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup thick Greek yoghurt
4 tablespoons melted and cooled ghee (or oil)
1 egg
50g each of pistachios, almonds, dried coconut and sultanas

* Directions *
Heat the milk in a saucepan until bubbles appear around the edges.  Remove and allow to cool to 45C.  Once cooled, add the yeast and set aside for a further 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook, add the flour, sugar and salt.  Mix until just combined.  Then add the milk and yoghurt and continue to mix until the dough starts to come together.  With a fork, beat the egg into the melted and cooled ghee and then slowly add to the dough.  Continue to mix until your dough is uniformly soft and silky smooth.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Set aside for 1-2 hours or until the dough doubles in volume.  In the meantime, prepare the filling.

Lightly toast the nuts in the oven, cool slightly then place in a food processor with the coconut and sultanas.  Blend until coarsely chopped.

Once the dough is ready, weigh out individual pieces (mine are around 70g each).  Roll out each piece into a circle and place 1-2 tablespoons of the filling mixture into the centre.  As if you were about to create a dumpling, fold up the sides of the dough all around the filling pinching the centre to close in the contents.

Place the filled dough seam side down and set aside covered for 30 minutes.

To prepare the naan for cooking, place a ball of dough on the counter seam side down, and gently roll out to your desired shape (traditional is a tear drop shape).  I roll my naan out to around 12 x 25 cm.

Heat a non-stick fry pan over a medium to high heat.  Once heated, brush lightly with oil.  Place one naan into the pan and cook on each side for 1 minute each (you will start to notice bubbles appearing just before you need to flip it over).  Continue with all the pieces of dough keeping the cooked naan warm in a teatowel in the meantime.  Brush the finished naans with ghee if you wish.

These breads freeze beautifully.

Makes about 16 naan breads

:: Yeastspotting ::
I am submitting this naan to Yeastspotting.