Naan for the win

Bread Basket

Bread Basket: Naan

28 Jun , 2015  

If there’s one Indian bread that cuts across all barriers of language and geographical boundaries, it has to be the naan. Soft and puffy, crisp and flaky, buttery or plain— there’s no accounting for the ways in which people love their naans. The British may have conquered and ruled over us for several centuries, but the naan did a neat reversal of all that by conquering British hearts.and reigning supreme from the word go. If chicken tikka masala has been solemnly crowned as Britain’s national dish, can the naan be far behind? In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that, behind every successful chicken tikka masala, there’s a naan – soft, succulent and seductive.

This naan which we think of as commonplace comes to us from the royal tables of the Mughals.The name derives from the Persian word,”non” for bread. The first recorded mention is in the works of the celebrated poet Amir Khushrau. In fact, naan accompanied by kheema or kababs was a popular royal breakfast of the times. They certainly lived well, these Mughals.

It took nearly four hundred years from then for the advent of the naan in Britain. In recent times, Honeytop, Speciality Foods introduced the first naan to have a shelf life of thirteen weeks. In 2004, to celebrate the inauguration of Brewers Fayre’s Curry Nights, Honeytop made the world’s largest naan, which measured ten feet by four, was made in five hours and carried by eight staff. Another such world record was set by the restaurant Indian Ocean. They made 640 naans in one hour and distributed them to charity.In Birmingham’s Balti restaurants, it’s still possible to order “family naans”, which essentially are large table-sized naans that are shared by everyone at the table.

It is its adaptability and sheer versatility that has led to the naan moving further overseas and firmly entrenching itself into households in the USA and Canada. Naan Pizza is currently a hot favourite in these countries, as also in traditional bastions such as Turkey.Variations such as Kulcha Naan, Garlic Naan, Roghani Naan, Peshawari and Amritsari Naan. continue to tease and tantalise our tastebuds and will always find their way into our hearts through our stomachs.

Basic Naan:

All of us would love to do home-made naan, but are brought up short by lack of a tandoor. In this lucid recipe, we are led through the process of tawa naan. And no yeast either.

And now that we’ve got that process straight, we can get more adventurous and try out some more interesting variations:

2.Garlic Butter Naan

Two classic ingredients, guaranteed to lend zest and sheen to anything, team up with the naan in this recipe.

3.Peshawari Naan:

The great Sanjeev Kapoor himself, waxes eloquent on this bounty from the frontier, stuffed with almonds, cashews and pistachios.

4. Roghni Naan:

A refreshing take on the traditional naan, courtesy our cousins from across the border.

If you find that your Naan’s feeling a tad lonely, we’re throwing in a recipe for a very famous Butter Chicken. A match made in heaven- you’ll agree with us shortly, at least your stomach will. Don’t be afraid to pair your Butter Naan with this Butter Chicken- “But that’s too much butter,” said no man ever.

Butter Chicken Masala:

And you thought there was nothing that Jamie Oliver didn’t know! In this video, Maunika gets Jamie to assist her and follow her instructions. A must-watch and a must eat. Who else will your naan sit with?


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Sharon Nadeem

Sharon is a food and travel enthusiast. She proclaims to be a writer and a gourmand. She believes the only way to truly get to know a new place is to eat the food of the land. When she's not eating her heart out, she's writing about it. Over the years of eating, she has developed a taste for fine food and a love for fine dine.

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