Naan Bread

"Even if you don't have a tandoor clay oven, you can still enjoy the fluffy goodness of this classic Indian flat bread."
photo by Late Night Gourmet photo by Late Night Gourmet
photo by Late Night Gourmet
Ready In:
3hrs 10mins




  • In a small bowl, dissolve the dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar with 3/4 cup warm water. Let it sit on your counter until it's frothy, about 10 minutes.
  • Using a large, deep bowl, combine the flour, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder.
  • Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt and the olive oil into the small bowl and stir to combine. Pour the yogurt mixture into the large bowl with the flour, fenugreek leaves, and dill (use fenugreek leaves instead of oregano if available, but not both). Note: the oregano, fenugreek, and dill aren't traditional ingredients in Naan bread, but they add a spectacular burst of flavor that I think you'll enjoy. Add them at this point if desired.
  • Gently mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. When the dry ingredients are blended, knead the dough by hand. It should feel slightly sticky. Resist the urge to add more flour, as this is exactly how it should feel. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 2 to 4 hours. NOTE: Pita bread recipes will have you "punch down" the dough after it rises, but don't do that here!
  • If you plan to finish the bread later, seal the large bowl securely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Return to room temperature before continuing the preparation.
  • Dust the work area with flour. Separate the dough into 4 equal portions. The dough should be extremely soft and sticky; again, resist the urge to blend in extra flour, since this is perfect. Flatten the dough by hand, using flour on the work space to keep it from sticking, and stretch out the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape that's about 1/4-inch thick. Once you've formed the general shape, pick up the dough and stretch it out by hand using your fingertips.
  • Warm a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it's nearly smoking. Reduce heat to medium-high. Make sure you have a lid large enough to fit the skillet.
  • Combine garam masala and garlic salt in a small bowl. Have sesame seeds ready separately.
  • Fill a small bowl with warm water and have it handy near the skillet. Dampen your hands in the bowl of water and pick up one of your naans, flip-flopping it from one hand to the other to lightly dampen it. Gently lay it in the skillet and set your timer for 1 minute. Dry hands, and sprinkle the naan with garam masala/garlic salt mix, then sprinkle on sesame seeds.
  • The dough should start to bubble. After about 1 minute, flip the naan. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened. Cover the skillet with the lid and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
  • Remove the naan from the skillet. Place the naan in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve.

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I have two teenagers who keep things very busy around our house during the daytime. I also work long hours at Ford Motor Company, and I do want to spend time with my family every day. If I try to cook when my kids have their friends over, I'm certain to be interrupted. In other words, my available times for cooking are very limited. I don't want to give up on anything I love - my family, my job, my cooking - so I do most of my cooking after everyone has gone to bed. My wife is a teacher, so this can be very late at night during the summer. Sometimes, I don't get started with my prep work until 12:30 a.m. Am I crazy?? Maybe. I'm also constantly working on healthier ways to prepare food. I deconstruct every recipe I like, and try to make it with healthier ingredients. The big challenge is keeping the food tasty. I believe it's possible to enjoy what you eat and still be healthy. I lost 15 pounds in 6 months largely by preparing my own food (and exercising). If I didn't keep such loony hours, I'd call myself "The Healthy Gourmet".
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