For more than 15 years now, I have been making Naans this way and never once has it failed me. It is always a hit with everyone in my family no matter what the occasion is. In fact, they all prefer these homemade Naans to the restaurant one. I love and enjoy making Naans as I feel that they make me more energetic. I was enthralled with the entire process of making them when I learned it from my neighbor Aunt at the age of 15.
There happens to be a little incident related to these Naans. It was the year I had to sit for my Board Exams. My mother had to leave for Trichy as she got a call that my grandfather has met with an accident. She was very unhappy that she had to leave as the next day happened to be my Birthday and I can’t go with her as I had to sit for a national competitive exam. My neighbor Aunty convinced my mother to leave me with her and asked her to go and attend to my grandfather. May be it is a coincidence that she too has a daughter who happens to be 1 year older than me and a son who is one year older than my younger brother.
The next day after many a wishes from all of them I went to school as usual but my dear Aunty had arranged for a surprise party in the evening. We all enjoyed it immensely. She had made these Naans and Paneer Butter Masala to go with them, saffron pulao with raita and cauliflower kurma, carrot halwa and chocolate balls. That was the first time I had Naan and I was bowled over by the combo.
We had dinner on the terrace sitting on a mattress under the moonlight and stars surrounded by a gentle breeze and Kenny G’s Sax music. It was a memorable birthday and also a memorable dinner for me. I couldn’t thank her enough for taking me under her wings, making me feel at home and going to all such lengths to make me feel happy and letting me not to worry that my mother was not there with me.
I learned it from her that week itself and had been following it all these years only perfecting it along the way. Here is the recipe for you.
Butter Naan / Basic Naan
Trim the brown sides of the bread slices. Sift the flour to incorporate air into it. Tear the bread slices roughly. In a vessel place the torn bread pieces and pour the curd, milk / water, baking soda, salt and whisk well. Let it rest for 10 min.
After 10 mins, whisk again. The resulting mixture would be semi solid. Add the sieved flour little by little over this mixture while kneading with your hand. sprinkle more water, if needed for kneading. Just bring about everything together taking care not to knead the dough tightly. The dough has to be loose. Take a tsp of oil in your hand and smear it all over the dough, cover and let it rest for at least 1 hour. You can rest it upto 3-4 hours.
Take a portion of the dough, an orange size preferably and pull it gently between your hands to make a tear drop or an oblong shape. As the dough is soft and pliant you should not have any problem. After dusting it with flour just roll over that shape. Your Naan are ready to cook and here comes the fun part.
Keep it Ready:An Iron griddle / Tawa and a lid to cover the Naan
1/2 cup of water
A wire mesh (If you don’t have please see Notes)
Melted butter with a brush or spoon.
How to cook:
Keep the iron griddle ready on the big burner of the stove. It has to be real hot but not smoking. Take little water in your palm and splash it on the hot griddle. Immediately place the rolled out Naan on it. It will stick to the griddle. Cover with a lid to get the smoky flavor.
Place the wire mesh over the small burner. Let the flame be kept in low. Lift the lid to see whether the Naan has puffed up in places. Flip it over to the wire mesh. The uncooked part should be facing the flame. Increase the flame. You can see it puffing up. Gently press to settle and cook till brown spots appear.
Transfer it to a plate. Basic Naan is ready. Brush the side cooked directly over the flame with butter and your Butter Naan is ready to be served.
I served these soft, buttery and flaky Naans with Panner Tikka Masala. It was utterly, butterly, delicious.
This is off to Jabeen's Iftar Nights
| |If you do not have a wire mesh, I’m sure you will have a spatula that is used for draining out deep fried foods from oil (Jaali Karandi). You can use that. I did the same thing as my wire mesh is somewhere up in the loft and I couldn’t reach it. Just hold the spatula slightly above the flame.
| |As the griddle I use is heavy I just can’t hold it upright over the flame. Also in this method you need not have to fear the Naan falling over the flame and of the arm pain.
| |To get a perfect shape: Roll the dough into a ball. Shape it into a cylindrical shape first. Then start rolling over it.
| |Do not let the dough rest for more time as it may get sour.
| |Using milk to knead the dough will keep it soft.
| |For every cup of flour use 2 bread slices, if big or 3 if the slices are small in size.
| |If you are going to serve some time after cooking, Do not apply butter. Stack the Naans one above the other and roll in a soft, clean cloth. Before serving just heat them again and apply butter. This way they won’t feel like plastic discs while eating.