Monday, August 03, 2015

Tawa Naan

Naan has Persian origin, but is more popularly known as Indian Flat Bread. Any multi cuisine restaurant serving North Indian dishes, essentially has naan on the menu. I have tasted the perfect soft naan at Casbah, a small Sindhi restaurant on Rest House Crescent, Brigade Road Bengaluru, which closed down years ago. My friend B. N. Radhakrishna took me there one evening for dinner and said naan is very good there. He was right! They made very soft naans that literally melted as we relished them with butter chicken and some other side dish. I have also eaten very good naan at Mobo's(since closed), Navrang, Windsor Manor, Tandoor and Taj Bengaluru, Kings Kourt Maisuru and at Pallkhi and Woodside(since closed) in Mangaluru.

I got to taste Garlic Naan for the first time at a small restaurant opposite Infosys in Kottara Mangaluru by name Siddhi Sagar. It was filled with burnt garlic aroma that went well with chicken curries. My nephew Dr Sweekar Kudpi Shenoy is very fond of garlic Naan. Pallkhi and Nirvana on Balmatta Road, Nisarga near Urva Stores also make good garlic naan. Almost all modern restaurants have it on their menu.

We made Rogan Josh after a long time, since we got good mutton from Maisuru. I told Meena that when we have such an exotic dish, we should make naan at home. We don't have the Tandoor bhatti or clay oven to make naan. We have an electric oven, but making naan in the oven needs an extra attachment like a thick ceramic or marble slab which we don't have. So our worry was how to bake naan at home!

Meena suddenly disappeared and I started searching for her! After a while, I found her coolly sitting on the computer and browsing through the internet, watching a video on making tawa garlic naan. She said, that chef has very good recipes and we can follow that. I too watched the video and found the method quick and easy. I made some changes, and also made plain naan and butter naan with the same dough. They turned out perfect, soft and full of flavour. I was reminded of Casbah and told Meena that they are the same as Casbah made it in the Eighties!

Recipe link and step by step video

Refined Flour(Maida) - 2 Cups + 4 Tbsp for dusting
Warm Water - 3/4 cup
Plain Yogurt - 2 Tbsp
Yeast - ½ tbsp
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Refined Oil - 4 Tsp
Black Sesame Seeds - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 12-16 cloves, half chopped and half minced
Coriander Leaves -  3-4 sprigs chopped
Butter - To apply over the naans

To 3/4 cup warm water, mix in the sugar and top up with yeast, cover the glass and keep for 10 mins to proof. 
In a large mixing bowl, to 2 cups of refined flour, add 1/2 tsp salt. 
Add the activated yeast.
Mix gently with your hand and prepare a stiff dough.
Add 2 tbsp plain yogurt, 4 tsp refined oil, and knead gently for 5 minutes.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a cloth and allow to stand for 2 hours, until the dough ferments and doubles up.
Sprinkle some flour and punch the dough to release the gas. 
Knead it for a minute. Then make 10-12 balls.
Heat a thick iron or aluminum tawa on high gas flame. 
Dust the dough ball lightly, roll with a rolling pin on the kitchen platform or rolling board to an oblong 3 mm thick roti. 
To make plain naan, just moisten one side of the flattened dough with warm water and place it on the hot tawa, moist side down.
For butter naan, sprinkle some black sesame seeds on the top surface and run the roller over the sesame seeds to embed them into the dough firmly, then moisten the bottom surface with water and place on the hot tawa with moist side down.
You can also press the upper surface with your fingers lightly to secure the topping.
For garlic naan, sprinkle a tsp of chopped garlic and a tsp of chopped coriander leaves and run the rolling pin over. 
Make sure to moisten the naan on the bottom surface and place it on the hot tawa with moist surface down.
Let the naan cook for a couple of seconds until it develops blisters, then flip the tawa and hold it 2 inches above the gas flame for a few seconds and allow the blisters to get slightly burnt. 
The naan won't fall into the flame, if you have used the right amount of water to moisten it and make it sticky, not less, not more. 
Once cooked, lift the naan with a flat spatula and transfer onto a platter.
Apply butter over the naan topped with sesame seeds and with garlic and coriander leaves.
Serve hot with any North Indian curry of your choice.
Make more naans in the same way and see a smile of contentment on the faces of your family members.
Hot Plain, Butter and Butter Garlic Naan
Naan served with Rogan Josh, salad and pickle
This recipe makes about 10 standard size naans. 

Please follow the recipe carefully and don't deviate from the exact measurements. 
Slight change may end up in a failed attempt. 
Don't dust the dough too much while rolling the naan. 
Don't roll them on a rolling board. 
Use granite kitchen top for best results. 
While sticking naan to tawa, please apply just sufficient water to the bottom surface of the naan and use only heavy iron or aluminum tawa.
Maintain high flame all through.

Slightly less hot tawa may spoil the texture of the naan and make it harder.

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