I love Indian food, I think I’ve said that before. Like a lot. I always gorge myself and end up feeling like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka after she eats the accursed gum.
I promised that I would share this recipe with the Apricot Chicken Masala post
We eat Indian food a lot a home. And while I feel like I can make a decent curry or a tikka masala, I have always felt like the flat bread has alluded me. I’ve made a lot of naan bread and it’s been fine, but never tasted like it does in a restaurant. I’ve tried grilling it, using a skillet and cooking it on a pizza stone. But it just was never quite there.
The revelation came to me while watching a documentary called Cooked on Netflix (which was amazing BTW, you should watch it!) Anyway, there was a snippet about 1.5 seconds long that caught my eye. An Indian woman was making flat bread. And I noticed that she pulled the pan off the stove and threw the already cooked flat bread directly on the flame. Seriously 1.5 seconds.
As Gru would say, “Lightbulb!”
Indian flat bread always has a little char flavor to it. The stuff I cooked on the stove top or pizza stone didn’t have that little char. And when I cooked it on the grill, it still wasn’t quite right.
This recipe is technically a naan recipe (leavened) using a chapati technique.
The recipe is secondary here, actually. I bet you could use almost any recipe and it would be fine. But the technique is the clincher.
First roll out a ping pong size ball of dough using a good amount of flour so it doesn’t stick.
You want it to be very thin when you’re done.
Now pat of any excess flour and throw it onto a preheated skillet. It will cook quickly because it is so thin. Flip it over and let the other side cook for 20-30 seconds.
Here comes the magic part. Remove the pan, or use a different burner and toss the flat bread directly onto the grate above the burner. Let it sit for 5 or so seconds, then flip it over to the other side. It will puff up all magic-like.
Keep going until you have a beautiful pile of naan. Then savor it with your favorite Indian dish.