buttery garlic naan
It’s been a few years since I ventured to India, but I remember everything about it like I was there yesterday. The sights, the smells, the sounds (the honking. OHHHH, the incessant honking) all are still so fresh. When I was there, for a course to complete my anthropology degree, I took it for granted.
Like the majority of my classmates, I spent the greater part of the trip sick, exhausted, constantly sweating (hott) and even more constantly complaining about our third-world conditions. “There are cockroaches in my room!” “There’s no air conditioning on this bus!” “I can’t believe they’re not letting us take a nap!” Yeah. We were a lovely bunch.
Our attitude toward the food wasn’t much different. Instead of letting my curiosity take over and trying the authentic South Indian dishes, my eyes always scanned the menu (if there was one) for two things: Anything non-Indian (which included, on separate occasions: manicotti, pizza, omelettes and apple pie. I KNOW.) and naan. The latter was, nearly every time, our best bet. So, instead of even dipping our fingers into foreign and unfamiliar sauces, a group of us girls would order basket after basket of fresh-baked naan and try to subsist on that. All that bread probably explains why we were so grouchy.
Looking back, I can understand why I approached my first trip to India the way I did — with fear, trepidation and a serious dose of homesickness and culture shock — but my lack of adventure toward the food is ultimately regrettable. My husband, who also went to India on a separate trip for grad school, acted the opposite while he was there, trying anything and everything they put in front of him. By comparison, the Indian food we’ve found here, he said, is like eating a burger from McDonald’s when you were expecting a steak from Ruth’s Chris. Sad face.
Our plan is to go back to India someday, when life isn’t so topsy-turvy and we have more of a purpose for going there in addition to soaking in the experience again, this time with more open eyes, minds and mouths. But for now, we’ll dream the dream — and make some homemade naan while we do it.
I know you might be thinking, “Aren’t you sick of naan?” Nope. Not a bit. Perhaps it’s because it’s the only thing I’ve figured out how to make at home that tastes even remotely similar to the goodness I ate on a daily (or twice-daily, or thrice-daily) basis overseas. This buttery garlic version is, of course, a little more gourmet than anything I had on my trip, but that’s no reason to scoff at the recipe. I mean, it’s got butter. It’s got garlic. There’s nothing else to say about that.
We like to eat our naan as scoops for vegetarian tikka masala (recipe to come!), but it’s also delicious as pizza crust, topped with eggs and cheese for breakfast or all on its own. Did I mention there’s butter and garlic?
P.S. We’re traveling over the next week (not to India, sniffle) so upcoming posts might be a bit sporadic. But, rest assured, this recipe for naan should keep you plenty company until I return. Later gators!
Buttery Garlic Naan
Adapted from Use Real Butter
Yields: 8 pieces
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup warm water (~110 degrees F)
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and shaping
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water (~110 degrees F)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons minced garlic, for garnish
1 tablespoon minced parsley, for garnish
In a small bowl, whisk together yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup water to dissolve yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Add yeast mixture, garlic, milk, sour cream, egg, vegetable oil and 3/4 cup water and stir to combine. In stand mixer fixed with dough hook or by hand on a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes in stand mixer at medium speed, 10 minutes by hand). Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down risen dough and divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place on a well-floured baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into an oblong circle about 8 inches in length. Stack circles on top of each other on a plate, divided by parchment paper, and set aside.
Heat a skillet (I used cast iron, but you can use whatever you have) over medium-high heat. Melt a little butter in the skillet. Lightly brush the top of a piece of naan with water, then place water-side down on skillet. Cook until bubbles form on top, about 1 minute. Brush top of naan with water and flip, cooking other side for another minute. Remove from skillet and place on a plate. Brush top with butter and sprinkle with minced garlic and parsley. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, adding more butter to skillet as needed.
Serve naan warm.
I can’t wait to make this!
One question: is it possible to make a whole-wheat version by replacing a bit of the white flour with brown?
Dani — Yep, you could replace up to 2/3 of the white flour for wheat, but any more than that and it might get too tough. Thanks for the comment!
I LOVE garlic naan! And I can’t wait to see that recipe for the tikki masala 😉
P.S. I love your sense of humor, you’re quite a talented writer/blogger!
Valerie — Oh, thank you! 🙂 The tikka masala recipe is coming soon!
Your story actually reminds me of the time I got to go to England. In the group I was with, everybody was up for eating as much of the local food as possible (and British food is pretty tasty, doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it has) — except one guy, who would only eat at American chain eateries, everywhere we went. If we went on a group outing to eat, he’d order something small and poke at it. And the one time we went out to lunch with him in a small group, we had to go to a Pizza Hut, ’cause it was the only thing around that he would eat.
KB — Um, we definitely ate at Pizza Hut in India. (hides face in shame) But I’d totally try the local food in England! Thanks for the comment!
I love naan! And this looks pretty easy!
Riley — Super easy. Thanks for the comment!
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This looks perfect! I love naan bread, but I have never made it from scratch before. I must try this out!
ATasteOfMadness — I LOVE it made from scratch. Thanks for the comment!
Can you freeze the dough? Or would you make the Naan and freeze it after it has been cooked. Thanks
Lynn — I’m not sure about freezing it before you make it, but you can definitely freeze it after cooking it on the skillet without adding the butter-garlic topping. Then, thaw it and brush on the butter-garlic mixture. Thanks for the comment!
Can’t wait for the chicken tikka recipe too…meantime, I will be enjoying this buttery naan with my leftover chili con carne. Perfect match!
our first day in india one of my classmates, noticing the absence of mosquitos, left all the doors and windows open. apparently she had never learned that the real swarms of bugs come out at night.
this recipe looks delicious. now if only i could find a recipe for the coconut curry we ate loads of while in tamil nadu.
I just stumbled upon your website looking for nan bread recipe to try at home and this looks so yummy and the dough pictures are just gorgeous. I can just picture biting into this and how heavenly it would be. Looking forward to keeping in touch. Take care, BAM
Just made these using 1 cup whole wheat, 3 cups white. The whole wheat made them rise a little less maybe, but still quite a nice stack of tasty naan!
Dani — I’m glad they worked well for you! I’ll have to try them with whole wheat flour myself sometime soon.
Made this recipe about a month ago, stuffed them with some crushed spiced potatoes before frying, absolutely lovely! Great texture, by far one of the best home-made naan recipes I’ve tried.
Mike — Oooh, that sounds super tasty. Thanks for the comment!
Do you have to have sour cream? Is there something else you could substitute? It’s not a health issue, I just live in a country that doesn’t have sour cream. 🙂 Thanks!
Julie — You can substitute plain regular or Greek yogurt for the sour cream. Hope that helps!
Stephanie – yes, that will work. Thanks so much! Can’t wait to try it. 🙂
Hi! Thanks for the recipe! I’m wondering what you would say about making it the day ahead? Would you just wrap it tightly and keep it in the fridge? Reheat in the skillet?
Lauren — Hi! 🙂 If you’re making them a day ahead, I would wrap them, un-buttered, in foil and keep them in the fridge overnight. Then I would reheat them either in the skillet or in the oven at about 300 degrees until they’re warmed through. Then, I would brush on the butter/garlic mixture. Hope this helps!
Thank you, Stephanie!! I’m looking forward to making them soon!
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just made these, my family loved them, thanks for the recipe.
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Looks delicious can I substitute the flour for all purpose gluten free flour?
Jo Ann — I’ve never made these GF but it’s certainly worth a try!