Naan Bread

Naan bread, familiar to anyone who has ever set foot in an Indian restaurant, is simply a south Asian flatbread closely similar to pita bread, pizza bread or any of countless similar preparations encountered worldwide. The word derives from the Farsi word for bread and has numerous variations. Traditionally made with yeast or a bread starter [dough left over from the last batch made] it is these days and in home kitchens more usually made with baking powder. There are any number of variants and additives – garlic, poppy seed, sesame seed, cheese, you name it – but I usually leave them plain. It is the ideal accompaniment to a curry, perfectly suited to mopping up the sauce at the bottom of the dish.

1 cup plain flour.
1 tsp salt.
1 tsp baking powder.
1 tsp sugar.
1/3 cup milk.
2 tblsp olive oil.
A little more flour for the board.

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together in a bowl. Beat the milk and the oil together in the cup, form a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk and oil mixture. Stir together with a fork then remove the material, first rolling and flattening on a floured board, then kneading by hand for 5-6 minutes, finally forming the dough into a ball. It should be smooth and elastic, not sticky. Cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grille to 200°C. Using a floured board and a rolling pin, flatten the dough out into one or two discs or, if you want to be traditional, tear-drop shapes 3-4 mm thick. Lace on a metal tray or grille and place under the heat for 3-4 minutes until the surface is bubbly and browned. Serve immediately.

Yields: 1 large or 2 medium breads.

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