• Naan bread is quintessentially Indian, but the country is also home to many other breads. (Murdoch Books / Sasha Gill)Source: Murdoch Books / Sasha Gill

Naan breads are traditionally baked in a clay oven, giving them their distinctive burnished exterior and fluffy interior. To get a similar result at home, I use a combination of baking in the oven and charring over an open flame.

Makes
8

Preparation

35min

Cooking

15min

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 3.4 (19 votes)
Yum

You can make three types of naan with this recipe: plain, garlic or the raisin, almond and coconut-stuffed peshwari version. 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (125 ml) lukewarm plant milk
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 packet (2½ teaspoons) active dried yeast
  • ¼ cup (70 g) vegan yoghurt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) aquafaba (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 2½ cups (375 g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp salt

For garlic naan

  • 5 cloves garlic , finely chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 g) vegan butter, melted
  • ¼ cup (15 g) finely chopped coriander (cilantro)

For peshwari naan

  • ½ cup (85 g) raisins
  • ½ cup (50 g) flaked almonds
  • ½ cup (45 g) desiccated coconut

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Proving time: 1 hour + 10 minutes

  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the milk, sugar and yeast. Leave for 5 minutes, or until frothy, then stir in the yoghurt, aquafaba and oil. Sift in the flour and salt and mix well. Now knead the dough, either using the mixer’s dough hook or by hand on a well-floured countertop, until smooth and elastic – this should take 7–10 minutes. Shape it into a ball and put it back in the bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel. Leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and oil two large baking trays.
  3. Punch the risen dough down, to knock out some of the air, then tip out onto a floured countertop and divide into eight. Roll into balls, then flatten and stretch into ovals about 3 mm thick. Place on the baking trays, cover again and leave to rise for 10 minutes. (If you don’t have enough baking trays – or oven space – to accommodate all the breads at once, you can cook them in batches.) Bake the breads for 7–8 minutes, until firm but not browned. If you have a gas stove, use tongs to hold each bread over a low flame until golden all over and lightly charred in places. If you have any other type of hob, or if you prefer not to cook directly over a flame, place a nonstick frying pan or chargrill pan over low heat and sear each bread on both sides.  

 

Variations

For garlic naan, knead half the garlic into the dough, making sure it is evenly distributed, then prove and cook as above. Brush the cooked naan breads with vegan butter and sprinkle with the rest of the garlic and the coriander.  For peshwari naan, mix the raisins, almonds and coconut together. Roughly flatten each dough ball, place a heaped tablespoon of raisin mixture in the middle and bring up the sides to seal it in the centre of the ball. Shape, prove and bake as above.

 

Note

• Aquafaba  means 'bean water' and is the slightly viscous liquid you find in a tin of chickpeas. It is an excellent egg substitute in baking. You can use the liquid from pretty much any type of bean as aquafaba, although I do suggest using a white bean so it doesn't affect the colour of the final dish too much. Whenever I open a tin of beans, I drain the aquafaba into ice-cube trays and pop them in the freezer. 

 

Image and recipe from Jackfruit and Blue Ginger by Sasha Gill (Murdoch Books RRP $39.99). Photography by  Sasha Gill, author photo and back cover Steve Brown.