Sourdough Naan (Leavened Flat Bread of India) July 25, 2007Posted by live2cook in Flat and Fried Breads, Sour dough.
Every time I hear the word, I smile. Of course, the recipe is from Punjab, India. Apart from that, there is yet another reason for that smile.
As I always mention, I am from a traditional and conservative town of Southern India. Though the town is technologically developed, changes to tradition are accepted very slowly. This applies to Food and Tastes too. One can find only South Indian Dishes in my town. Very few high end restaurants have North Indian dishes like Channa Masala in their menu.
One day, a cousin of our neighbor(my friend) came to our town for her summer holidays. She was from Mumbai. As we were of the same age, we quickly became friends. We talked about everything. She was explaining to us about a party at her school. The Talk turned towards the food they ordered for their party. She was talking about the baaji, subji and Naan.
The moment the cousin said the word “Naan”, both me and my friend were astonished. Most of the families in our neighborhood are vegetarians. Very few families eat meat, that too rarely. If they cooked meat at home, they say, “I cooked “Non” today!”. They don’t say what kind of meat they cooked. Anything from chicken to lamb meat is “Non”.
As the sound and pronunciation of “Naan” and “Non” are same, as we had never seen or heard about “Naan”, we took “Naan” for “Non”. And top of all, we were afraid of what will happen if elders in the family hear us talking about “Non” . We ended the topic there and it was secret between me and my friend that her cousin ate “Non”.
We maintained the secret very well. Both got married. My friend settled down in Bangalore and I came to US. My husband took me to a nearby Punjabi Restaurant. It was our first dining out in US. I asked him about the restaurant’s specialty. He said their “Naan” is the best. I screamed “You eat Non!!!!”. He said “Yes!!!!”. Both looked at each other and the look meant “Are you Crazy?!!!”
In the restaurant’s buffet table, I saw the “Naan”. Now, You know how I felt and the story behind the smile🙂.
Ok! Now it is time to talk about preparing the “Naan”.
1 cup Active sourdough starter
2 cups Unbleached All Purpose flour
1/4 cup Home made Yogurt
2 tablespoons Oil
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
Method for Preparing the Dough:
1. Mix the starter,yogurt,sugar,1/2 teaspoon salt and flour. Knead to a smooth dough. Add water or flour as necessary.
2. Cover with a plastic wrap or damp towel and keep in a warm place. Allow to double in bulk.
3. Punch down and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and the 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Knead well to incorporate the salt and soda.
4. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Roll or shape into circles or oblongs.
Method for cooking the Naan:
I used to cook the Naan like the method explained by Coffee of “The Spice Cafe”. After seeing my passion for cooking and the efforts it takes to cook a Naan, my Mother-in-law sent me a wonderful Gift, A “stove top Tandoor”. Though it is not made up of clay like traditional Tandoor, this stove top Tandoor does a wonderful job.
After shaping the Naan, I will sprinkle few drops of water on the Naan and stick it to the inside of the lid and close the Tandoor. As it is a hollow drum below, direct heat from the stove helps the Naan to cook evenly.
It takes 3 minutes to cook 3 Naan simultaneously . To quicken the process I will place the Naan that are cooked on one side, upon the grill provided in the Drum. In the meanwhile, I will stick other 3 Naan to the lid.
When the Naan is done on both sides, I will brush the top with few drops of Butter or Ghee and cover with a Fresh Tea towel. This will help the Naan to soften a bit. The Naan will be Ready to serve.
This Stove top Tandoor is a thoughtful gift. I am exploring the possibilities with it. I Prepared a veggie Kebab and it turned out well.
This is my entry for Lakshmi’s RCI Event, hosted by Richa and to thank my mother-in-law for the wonderful gift. My In-Laws are visiting us soon. This blog is going to be a pleasant surprise for them. I can’t wait to see the smile in their faces.
Yes! The smile continues…………