This recipe is adapted from Aarti Sequeira, the winner of the 6th season of the Next Food Network Star. Although her show was cancelled, her incredible naan recipe lives on. Black mustard seeds lend a warm, deep flavour and nigella (kalonji) seeds lend a mild taste of onions. Both are traditional Indian spices that contribute enormously to this recipe. You can buy them online, but if you don’t want to purchase them, you can make the naan without the spices. In that case, you may want to rub a cut garlic clove over the hot bread before brushing it with oil or sprinkling it with chili for additional flavour. This is absolutely amazing with my dahl.
- ¾ cup warm water
- 1 tsp fast acting yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- ⅛ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp nigella (kalonji) seeds
- 1 tsp black mustard seed
- 3 tbsp soy or almond milk*
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
*You could also supplement milk for yogurt.
In a bowl combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for ten minutes or until proofed. You will know when the yeast has proofed by the froth like substance that emerges and the beer-like smell the liquid emits.
In another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, kalonji or nigella seeds, mustard seed, almond milk or yogurt, and extra-virgin olive oil. At the yeast, sugar, and water mixture and stir together until the liquid is absorbed. Knead the dough on the counter for around five minutes.
Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil into a clean bowl, and spread it around. Add the dough and cover with cling film. Place the bowl in a warm area and allow it to swell for two hours.
Preheat a cast iron skillet (on medium to medium high heat). Divide the dough into six equal pieces, and roll into ¼ -½ cm thick pieces. Place in the hot cast iron pan and cook until the side touching the pan is slightly golden and blistered. The other side should begin to form bubbles. Flip and cook until the other side is cooked as well.
Remove the naan from the pan and brush with oli, butter, or ghee. Sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt.
If you want to prepare your naan ahead of time, preheat the oven to 300F and, as they come out of the skillet, place them in the oven. Add more oil, butter, or ghee before wrapping them in a cloth napkin and serving. Don’t let them stay in the oven too long or they’ll dry out.
Enjoy! Side note (from 2018) – I’ve since realized that this can be made with any type of yeast and that you can also do it slow rise. What I mean is, mix all the ingredients together, don’t bother kneading, and either leave it covered either at ambient temperature for 6-10 hours, or put it into the fridge for 12+ hours. I’ve also began topping this with garlic vegan butter where I simply diced garlic, put some vegan butter (or margarine) atop, and microwave for 30 seconds. Delicious.