Garlic and cilantro naan flatbread with split chickpeas and spinach

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I’ve made several different Indian flatbreads at home, but have always felt intimidated by naan.  Perhaps it is because I’ve always felt that it needed a hot tandoor clay oven?  Naan is a leavened flatbread typically found in the cuisines of the Middle East and Central and Southern Asia.  The name comes from the Persian word non for bread.  Unlike other flatbreads, naan has yogurt, yeast, milk and sometimes eggs and butter, thereby yielding a softer dough. Traditionally the bread is slapped against the chimney wall of a clay tandoor oven or baked over wood fires.  The bread puffs up and bubbles as it cooks. I was determined to learn how to make naan in my own kitchen and thanks to You Tube, I was able to pick up a few tips and tricks on making this soft, pillowy flatbread in my own kitchen.  You Tube is definitely my go to source for learning cooking techniques.  A few years ago I taught myself to make sushi just by watching a few You Tube videos.  So why not naan?

Add yeast and sugar to warm water.  Let it bloom for 10 minutes.  In a separate bowl, add flour and salt, then add the bloomed yeast, yogurt oil and milk to the mixture.  Keep kneading till it comes together.  Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.

There are many different ways of cooking the naan.  I cooked it on the stove top in a skillet.  Some cook it in the oven, yet others cook half of it on the stove top and finish cooking it in the oven. You want those burnt brown bits.  The high heat makes the dough rise and fills the middle part of the naan with an air pocket. Mine look just gorgeous for a first time naan maker don’t you think? 🙂

I decided to cook it with a split pea lentil dish which paired beautifully with the garlic and cilantro naan.

There’s nothing quite like some freshly made naan to dip into a bowl of lentils wouldn’t you agree?

Piping hot bowls of split peas and lentils ready to be devoured.  Split chickpeas (channa dahl) is low in calories but high in protein and fiber. It definitely helps to lower cholesterol too.

Garlic and cilantro flatbread

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • fresh garlic chopped
  • fresh cilantro chopped
  • melted ghee

Method

  1. In a small bowl, add the sugar, warm water and yeast together.  Stir to combine well.  Let the yeast activate or bloom till it gets foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Mix together flour and salt.  Add bloomed yeast, oil, yogurt and milk.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.
  3. Continue to knead with your hands until a soft dough comes together, about 10 minutes till it becomes smooth and shiny.  Add flour as needed, but not too much.
  4. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place for about 2 hours. The dough should double in size after 2 hours.
  5. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces.
  6. Stretch dough into a long oval using your hands or a rolling pin, using a pinch or two of extra flour if necessary.
  7. Scatter some of the fresh chopped garlic, together with the fresh cilantro and press into the naan.
  8. Heat a skillet over high heat and lightly grease the surface with some oil to avoid it sticking to the pan.  Place the dough on the skillet with the garlic/cilantro side up.  When it puffs and bubbles and burnt spots appear, flip it over and cook the other side.
  9. Brush with ghee and keep warm.

 

 

27 Replies to “Garlic and cilantro naan flatbread with split chickpeas and spinach”

  1. Loretta, your naan bread looks very authentic even without cooking in a tandoor. As one who visited India many times prior to retiring, your dahl and naan would set well on the tables I eat from there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ron, appreciate your nod of approval 🙂 You’ve probably visited India more than I have. I was born in Mumbai, but left when I was 3 years old when my family moved to Kenya. I’ve visited India 3 times after that. My folks hailed from Goa, I’m sure you’ve visited. Do you cook a lot of Indian nosh? 🙂

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      1. In my India travels I never made it to the Goa area, not even that side of India. My trips centered in Odisha state at garden spots like Jharsuguda, Korba, Bargawan and such. Always flew in to New Dehli and out of Kolkata.
        Did do the big 10 day tourist thing around Golden Triangle. I do cook some Indian, but we have an outstanding India takeaway about a 5 minute walk from here I find it easier to do take-out. I should endeavor to broaden my Indian cooking scope further than dal and flat bread..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. See? I knew you’d teach me a thing or three about India (my birthplace) 🙂 I have never even heard of those places, shame on me I know 🙂

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  2. Thank you! Have been lazy in recent years as such good ready-made flatbreads are now available everywhere in Australia. Have made ordinary flatbread for special occasions with friends but naan has been on the backburner for a couple of years. Just one look at the beauties you have produced and your recipe is already in the kitchen to be attempted, yes, on stovetop, as soon as possible . . . oh, and this definitely is a split pea and lentil household . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Eha. Whereabouts in Australia are you? A beautiful country for sure. I’ve made chapatis and parathas, but had never tried naan before. I’m glad I overcame my fear and pushed myself to try something new. I hope you give it a try too 🙂

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      1. On the outer perimeters of the Greater Sydney Basin, 120 kms south of the CBD, 40 kms inland on the so-called Southern Highlands: funny to call them that as I am only at 200 meters height 🙂 ! Semi-rural, nestled into a National Park . . . . a little too far to go to the theatre and concerts regularly . . . 🙂 !

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for that nod of approval Julie. I’m glad I overcame that fear and challenged myself, I was pretty chuffed with the results too. We’re still pretty warm here, but all that is about to change for some fall like weather this weekend. I hope all’s well where you are.

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    1. Can’t wait to hear how it turns out Mimi. If you check out some You Tube videos, you’ll see that there are many ways of cooking them. I just cooked mine on the stove top. You can try it in the oven too. There’s a method where you splash water on one side of the naan so it sticks to the pan, and then let it cook for a few seconds, then flip the pan so that it gets direct heat from the flame to get the burnt marks. I wasn’t about to try that 🙂

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      1. Ooh, scary. I’ll certainly tell you. It’s probably been 20 years since I tried making naan. I’m good with bread, so when it failed, I just assumed I needed an tandoor. Husband hasn’t agreed with that request yet…

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    1. Hello Linda, it’s been a while since our paths crossed… Thanks for stopping by. Would love to hear how your naan turned out. I know I was quite intimidated by the process, but watching some of the You Tube videos seemed to have allayed my fears.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fun post! I’ve tried several recipes for naan but still haven’t been quite happy with mine. They always look fine but I haven’t been quite happy with the texture, so I’m going to try your hints next time! I’m determined to master this simple bread! Those chickpeas sound fantastic, too. What a spread!

    Mollie

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