Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Well, they can't all be winners.
It's true that you can make anything at home, anything you might order from a restaurant or bakery. But sometimes, it takes special equipment or a certain skill that you just don't have yet. And this was one of those times.
I got so excited when I saw this recipe on the Tasty Kitchen blog. Homemade naan! I love naan! And it's one of those things that I just never thought about making at home, assuming that it couldn't be done well.
I was half-right -- it couldn't be done well by me. I attribute this to a few factors. First, the recipe calls for a heavy-bottomed skillet, then doesn't make it clear whether you're supposed to grease said skillet or not. I imagine that what you should actually use here is a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. But I don't own one (a skillet I have, but it doesn't have a good level of seasoning on it yet). So I used a regular frying pan, which did not work out well at all -- the dough stuck to the pan and then didn't want to release, ultimately scorching my pan. The recipe also calls for cooking the second side over the flame of a gas stove. Sadly, all I have now is an electric stove, so none of that for me.
Ultimately, after the first few of these failed entirely (burnt on the outside, doughy on the inside), I put the rest of them on a cookie sheet in a 475-degree oven. That seemed to cook them alright, but there was still something really lacking about the flavor. I don't know whether it was the lack of ghee (clarified butter used in Indian cooking -- I didn't have any or feel like buying or making any) added at the end, or the lack of a tandoori oven, or what. Or maybe my standards are just too high. I noticed that on the page where I read about the recipe, the rave was "this is so much better than the kind you buy at the grocery store!" Honestly, I've never bought grocery-store naan -- I've always just ordered it at Indian restaurants. Maybe this is better than the packaged kind, but it's not as good as what you get at a restaurant.
So I figured I'd put this recipe here with ample caveats. I mean, a lot of reviewers on that site thought this recipe was awesome. And maybe, if you have a cast-iron skillet and a gas stove, or if your standards are lower than mine, you'll love this, too. Me, I'll probably wait a while before attempting naan again, and if I do, I'll probably look for another recipe. Or maybe I'll just resign it to the short list of things that are best ordered out.
From Tasty Kitchen
2 c flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c warm milk
1/2 c plain yogurt
1/2 tbsp oil, as needed (I never did figure this part out, seeing as it's not mentioned in the recipe...?)
1. Whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a good-sized bowl.
2. Mix together the milk and yogurt in another bowl. Then, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet stuff in, mixing together.
3. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let sit for at least 2 hours.
4. Knead the dough for a few minutes, then divide it into 8 parts.
5. Flatten the pieces out.
6. Heat a thick-bottomed skillet. Brush one side of your naan with water, then place it wet side down onto your hot skillet and cover for 30 seconds, until you see bubbles in it (good luck... I never did).
7. Flip with tongs and cook on the other side, or use tongs to hold the other side over the flame of a gas burner until it has charred spots.