Bread

Oil-Free Naan (vg)

As breads go naan is a favourite. I love dipping it in curry or if big enough filling it with curry and salad to eat as a wrap. The action of kneading the dough and the joy of watching it rise just feels good and if you are having a bad day can give you an outlet for your negative feeling. And cooking it doesn’t require the oven like loaf bread so is a bit easier in hot weather.

Hot weather….something I just don’t get enough of here in England. My niece, Lynn, and I were talking about a bread recipe that has been handed down a few generations now. She was saying how much she loved baking but that it was too hot in New England. I mentioned making naan today and she was quick off the mark to ask for the recipe. I did give her a sneak preview but as I wanted to perfect my recipe a bit more she will still need to check for the update. Sneaky I am!

So typically you find naan has ghee and animal-based yogurt. I found a recipe several years ago that was quite simple but it still used coconut oil and yogurt and never quite rose as nicely as I would have liked. That means I had to modify it even more.

First off was to make it vegan. That was easy enough to do. The yogurt became plain soya yogurt. Be sure it has no flavourings and is not a thickened (Greek style) yogurt. You don’t want a vanilla flavoured naan by accident and the moisture of the more standard yogurt is good for the recipe.

Naan. (makes 4)

  • 150g whole wheat flour
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 60 ml warm water
  • 125 ml soya yogurt

Method

1) In a cup or bowl mix the yeast, sugar and water. Set aside.

2) Place the flours, and salt in a mixer with dough hook (if you don’t have a dough hook mix with your hands) and mix the salt in.

3) Add the yeast mixture and yogurt to the flour and mix into a ball of dough.

4) When all the ingredients are in a nice ball move the dough to a floured surface and knead for a while. Maybe up to 5 minutes. You don’t want it to get sticky but have a nice smooth texture.

5) Put in a bowl to rise for about 3-4 hours. It needs to at least double.

6) Once doubled knead it back down, split into 4 balls and form into a naan shape. I use a rolling pin and roll into an oblong shape usually.

7) Using a preheated flat griddle or flat bottomed pan (like a skillet), place the dough on the pan and allow to “fry” for 2-3 minutes. Flip over and cook another minute. I don’t use oil on my iron griddle…just make sure it is very hot.

Place cooked naans on a plate and cover to keep warm until you are ready to serve. In my second attempt on the recipe (first picture) I used all plain flour as I was out of whole wheat. Serve with curry or dhal.

Alternative use of the dough would be to fill the raw dough with pizza sauce and veggies then bake for a pizza pocket sort of thing. We did this for my daughter when she did the Duke of Edinburgh Award as it could last outside of refrigeration for a bit longer. Another idea would be to mix your toppings into the dough and griddle it like a typical naan. It could be savoury or sweet fillings, naans are known to be filled with ground meat as a keema or with coconut and pistachios for a sweet naan. Obviously, I don’t encourage meat fillings but with that inspiration perhaps a plant based savoury filling might make a good replacement, maybe something like taco ‘meat’. My kids have even used naan to make lunchtime pizzas.

Naan is a great flatbread that with the patience for the rising time is easy to make and tastes good. In fact, my son came all the way down two flights of stairs and away from his pc gaming in order to rave about this naan and request I make more. It is versatile and can be used as more than just Indian cooking. Please share this along to your friends and enjoy.

(Son here, it was good totally recommend!!!) – Joey

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