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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Naan

I love cooking Indian food at home. The way the house smells as each new spice is added makes the whole place feel warm and cozy. Then there is that smell when you first lift the lid on the pot of basmati rice, and add the smell of warm Naan cooking in the oven…
When David and I first moved to Fairbanks he traveled to Anchorage quite often for work. Every time he left I would give him a little shopping list of hard to find food items to take back in his suitcase. Naan was always on that list. We eat tofu tikka masala nearly once a week during the winter months. I always say I will make some other curries, but rarely ever do. It is just too easy to stick with what you know and like. In an effort to branch out and cook some different curries, I purchased the cookbook 660 curries last winter. I haven't tried any of the curry recipes in the book, but it was worth the money just for the Naan recipe. It is simple in that it doesn't call for any special flour or spices. I can find all the ingredients for this Naan right here in Fairbanks. The best part is that I can now fill my freezer with raspberries and cranberries instead of Naan bread.
This dough is incredibly sticky. The first few times I made it I was really frustrated, but eventually learned that I could use a little less water and it still turned out well. I try to use as close to a cup as possible, but if it is unmanageable I add a little more flour back in. Make sure you flour all your utensils including the knife you use to cut the dough.

Salt Crusted Flat Bread
Adapted from 660 Curries

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
½ cup buttermilk at room temperature
About 1 cup warm water
Canola oil
Ghee or melted butter for brushing

Thoroughly combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Pour the buttermilk over the flour mixture and quickly stir in. Add a few tablespoons of warm water to the mixture, stirring as you go. Repeat until the flour comes together and forms a soft ball. You want the dough to be very soft and slightly sticky. Gather the ball and any dry flour at the bottom of the bowl, knead for about 2 minutes to form a soft smooth ball. Dust your hands with flour to avoid sticking, but avoid adding flour to the dough.
Cut the dough into four equal portions. Lightly grease a plate with oil. Shape portions into a round resembling a hamburger bun, and place on greased plate. Brush the tops with ghee and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Place pizza stone in bottom rack of oven and turn oven to highest setting. Most conventional ovens heat to 550 degrees. Tear off 5 sheets of wax paper about 8 inches wide and set aside.
Lightly flour a workspace and set one round of dough on it. Press down to form a patty and roll dough into a circle 5-7 inches in diameter, dusting with flour as needed. Sprinkle a little coarse ground salt on the surface and press in by gently rolling over surface. Lift the round and place on sheet of waxed paper (you can skip this step if you have someone to assist and place the dough directly into the oven) and cover it with the second sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds, stacking them between wax paper as they are rolled.
Transfer rounds salt side down to the hot pizza stone. The dough will almost immediately start to bubble. Make this process quick and close the oven door as soon as possible. Bake until the bubbles on the dough acquire light brown patches. Remove from oven and brush the top with ghee. Continue with remaining rounds stacking them on top of one another until complete. Cut each round into six pieces and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Hiya,

    If you have mastered one Naan, you might want to try a thousand more available at http://ramkicooks.blogspot.com/2008/02/naan-leavened-asian-flatbread-naan-is.html.

    /Cheers
    Ramki

    ReplyDelete

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