Have I ever mentioned how much I love bread? How I think bread, in many varieties, completes a meal? Yes, it’s all filler and makes it so that your meal stretches further than originally intended, but that doesn’t make it less of a complimentary side dish. But brrrrrread. I love it. It will be the death of me. Or it’s at least high on the list of things that will be the death of me. You may call me a glutton now, I suppose, since I don’t care that I have the aforementioned list and 99% of the items on that list are food.
So bread obviously being the topic of tonight’s dinner side dish, here’s a story of defeat and conquering.
When I originally shared the recipe for crockpot butter chicken 5 months ago, I desperately wanted naan to go with it; in fact, I do every time I make it. But store bought naan just isn’t the same as homemade naan. Some of them come close, though. Well, any time I would find a recipe for naan, I would get turned off entirely by the idea of using a grill or a grill pan. I don’t own a grill pan, and most – if not all – are cast iron, which is a big no-no for a glass stove top. I wish it weren’t the case, but my poor, beloved cast iron skillet gets zero use because we had to have a glass top. Which don’t get me wrong, I will take it any day of the week over stupid coils, bur still… Anyway, we have a barbecue in the back yard. It’s a nice little grill I spent $30 on a few months ago and love using. The painful thing about charcoal grills, however, is that they take forever to start up and I never have enough things that need to be grilled. When I’m making dinner for us out back, I literally grill two people’s-worth of meat, maybe two people’s-worth of vegetables, aaaaand that’s it. Even though I loved grilled good, it sure does seem like a waste.
Moving on — so “having” to make naan on a grill or in a grill pan was obviously out. Therefore, I couldn’t make the recipe, right? Right. Temporarily. Every time I made the butter chicken, I’d find a recipe that sounded delicious – usually something of the garlic variety – and I’d try to convince myself making naan at home was worth setting up the grill. I’d chicken out moments before I gathered my ingredients. I just couldn’t do it. Which seems so silly now.
Actually, what’s silly is the fact that despite all the cooking I’ve done and how far I’ve come in the last 5-ish years with my skills, that I didn’t once think Hello? Oven? Stove top? I mean, why couldn’t I use those? A grill pan doesn’t do anything special for a food like this other than leave pretty little grill marks, and it’s on the stove top, so, doy, why couldn’t I make it work? Who cares that it’s not the traditional way of making it? I’m not a traditional Indian. I’m not making my family’s secret recipe. I was going to make this work. I was going to stop being a moron.
Since the last time I made butter chicken was awhile back, I went on a search for another recipe. I didn’t need anything ~fancy~ like garlic naan, I just wanted a basic dough. One of the first things that popped up in my search was a Youtube channel by a user named AussieGriller who made a video about naan and provided the instructions in the About section. It was ridiculously easy, even if I wasn’t grilling it.
Some of his measurements were off when converted from grams to cups, but they were easy fixes that caused no issues in the cooking process. The end result was a tender bread, perfect for soaking up the butter chicken. As with nearly everything, fresh out of the pan was the most awesome thing ever; letting them sit for awhile as I waited for The Fellow™ to come home so we could have dinner together, they were still good. A quick throw in a warmed pan would make them “like new” again anyway.
So success! I failed miserably in the past by not even attempting something so simple, but in the end conquered it. It’s a small conquer, since it’s just a side dish and no fancy, new techniques were required, but a conquer nonetheless.
source: Youtube user, AussieGriller [How to Make Naan Bread]; adjusted properly by me
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour; more for dusting
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1. Proof the yeast by combining the warm water, yeast, and sugar together in a medium size bowl. Gently stir the contents together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside for 15-30 minutes until the top of the water is frothy. If it is not, you have either used too hot of water, not hot enough, or your yeast is bad. Ideally shoot for 105-110ºF.
2. Once the yeast is ready, combine oil, yogurt, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand up mixer with the paddle attachment. You can also mix it by hand. The resulting dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticky.
3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes, and place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and place in a warm area for it to rise for up to 2 hours. The dough should double, if not triple, in size.
4. When the dough is ready, punch it down and place onto another lightly floured surface. Cut off golf ball sized pieces and set onto a piece of parchment. You will get 8-10 pieces; possibly more, possibly less. Cover loosely with a clean towel and let sit for another 30 minutes to an hour.
5. Set up a large skillet on medium heat with a bit of vegetable or canola oil. As the oil is heating, flatten out the balls of dough into oval or rectangular shapes about 1/4″ thick. Gently place the dough in the hot skillet and let fry up until golden in color. The entire surface does not need to be uniform in color, so do not shoot for this, otherwise you might end up overcooking or burning the dough. You may notice that as you cook the first side, bubbles will begin to form on the top, uncooked side. This is okay, too. Flip after desired color is reached and repeat. Remove the cooked naan from heat and rub a little butter and sprinkle a little salt on the hot surface.