Homemade Naan bread

I’m a big fan of curry and naan bread, especially with a good chutney.

Which is why when my mom was out volunteering the other day I decided to try making homemade naan bread with chicken curry and rice. The nice thing about curry is that it’s not only good for you (as long as you don’t eat artery-clogging cream varieties in excess) and is absolutely divine.

This blog post will go over making naan bread step by step, while also making a few other foods to go along with the meal. The naan is the hardest part, while the other parts of the dinner were mostly just remnants from previous meals and all they required was heating up. So if you have shredded, pre-cooked chicken, rice, and curry sauce, then you’re good to go with the entire meal.

But your not reading this blog for mindless chatter, you’re here for food. So here it is!

This is the recipe for the naan bread I used: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/14565/naan/

(I didn’t add the garlic since I put chutney and chicken on the naan for flavor, you can keep the garlic if you want, though.)

What you’ll need:

1 package dried active yeast (if you don’t have the packaged variety that’s about 2 1/4 tsp.)

1 cup warm water (between 95 and 110 degrees F, or 35 C to 43.3C so a little above human body temperature)

1/4 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons milk (I had to use lactose free because that’s all we had)

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 cups flour (the original recipe called for bread flour, I didn’t have that so I used regular #thuglife #Iamarebel)

2 tablespoons minced garlic (I didn’t use this since I added the garlic to the curry)

1/4 cup of butter, melted (don’t use the salted variety, trust me)

 

The first thing you have to do before you forget is to activate the yeast. Ideally, yeast should sit in the warm water for about ten minutes before you start mixing everything together. Not so hard, right? Wrong. Somehow I am able to kill the yeast every single time. I had to remake this year’s Easter bread because the yeast died and the bread ended up flatter and drier than Stephanie Meyer’s writing.

Where did I go wrong? Water temperature is a pretty important thing to take into consideration. My biggest woe came from trying to keep the water warm enough for a long enough time. Yeast takes about ten minutes to proof and the water was cooling down too fast in that time. Then I realized that maybe using a coffee mug wasn’t the best, most insulting idea, and switched over to using a glass measuring cup. Not perfect, but it worked.

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Example of water that is too hot. Knife for scale.

(Now if this were one of those Food network cooking shows I would have suggested you readers buy the new, amazing Chef’s Radical Atmospheric Protector (C.R.A.P) that is your single use tool for keeping yeast warm for ten minutes because you’re incompetent and will never bet the “successful chef” that I am, that you can purchase from http://www.kitchenutensilsyoudontactuallyneed.com.)

Sorry, the food network is the only show my Grandmother ever watches and if you got stuck inside having to listen to the likes of Giada De Laurentiis and the Pioneer Woman for hours on end, day after day, you’d go insane too.

I digress.

So after you get the yeast thing figured out you basically just throw together all the ingredients, adding just enough flour so that it makes a nice, squishy-squeezy dough. Make sure it’s somewhere warm, like near a radiator or anywhere where it will have a steady supply of warmth. I tried to use the stovetop for this one time, with bad results.The next thing you need to do is to wait for that sucker to rise. You can probably squeeze in an episode of Doctor Who right about now.

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After that hour is over, punch and knead the dough for a few minutes (this is a great way to get your hands clean, by the way) and pinch it off into golf-ball size lumps and put those aside to rise for another thirty minutes or so.

Now, starting cooking everything else. I’m pretty sure you guys know how to make rice. (I, on the other hand, always get the water/rice ratio off. This makes it either the consistency of rice pudding or wet sand). The chicken is just pre-cooked shredded chicken with some curry powder, black pepper, and broth to cook it in. It was leftover from a chicken dinner a few nights before. You can substitute veggies for the chicken if you want to.

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While the naan wads are still rising and everything else is cooking, start with the curry sauce. We had the bottled stuff on hand (the Trader Joe’s variety is pretty good) and  I recommend adding an additional two tablespoons curry powder and a pinch of pepper to taste. Just heat this up on the stove in a saucepan.

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After the half hour is over, heat up a cast-iron skillet and pour about a tablespoon or two of olive oil on it. Don’t catch stuff on fire, it’s counterproductive. Once the skillet is fairly hot, take one of the naan dough wads and smoosh it flat in your hand in a vaguely disk-shaped form and place that on the skillet. Once the raw side starts to bubble a bit, flip it over and cook the other side. Kind of like pancakes. Make sure to have the oven warmed up so you have somewhere to keep the first naans warm while the others are being made.

 

By the time you’ve cooked all of the dough wads, you’ll be ready to go. Dig in!

 

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