I was going to call this post “How I make naan when I have … none” but decided I’d spare you the obvious pun. It’s one I’ve overused around the house to the point that the boys just roll their eyes at me when I do it.
Then I threaten to go on strike and deprive them of all forms of baked goods, and they instantly start cackling out loud. I swear, sometimes it feels like the roles are reversed around here. Rolling eyes? Cackling? Aren’t those supposed to be in my job description?
In any case, I realize I might be losing a bit of my advantage by posting this, because now they won’t have to rely on me to produce the naan around here. I’m going to show you (and, by extension, them as well) how I make a quick, shortcut naan that, although not quite authentic, is absolutely delicious in its own right. It might actually be more of a roti than naan, except roti doesn’t have yeast in it. So it’s really a hybrid. Or a mutant. An alien just as confused about its identity as I am.
Which is might be another reason I like it so much.
So here’s where the shortcut comes in: you use any dough that you have available. I almost always have a batch of boule dough hanging around, so that’s what I use. The lovely Zoë François over at Artisan Bread in Five, which is where I saw this idea first, says that you can use any kind of dough. Next time, I’m trying it with dinner roll dough, which probably means you could also do this with frozen store-bought bread dough.
Just grab few small handfuls of dough and shape them into little balls, about the size of a tangerine.
I usually let the dough rest a bit, to make it easier to roll. Then roll it out thin, and heat up a cast iron skillet. Or use a grill pan if someone used your cast iron skillet to make steak the previous night and hasn’t cleaned it up yet.
When your skillet or grill is hot, melt some ghee on it. You can also use clarified butter, but the point is to use something with a high enough burning point so you don’t have to worry about burning the dough. When melted, just put the rolled out dough on the skillet or grill, and cover it (hopefully with a heavier, prettier lid than the hobo lid I have in the photo). This simulates the clay oven baking of traditional naan. After two minutes, check the dough. It should be cooked underneath, and all bubbly on top. Flip, cover again, and finish cooking on the other side.
While the final side is cooking, I take a plate and line it with a kitchen towel. When the naan is done, I take the naan, lay it on the plate on top of the towel (you can sprinkle a bit of salt on it at this point, but I usually don’t), and wrap it up with the towel. Each succeeding naan goes into that towel, which not only keeps everything warm but also helps soften the naan a bit. Since I often use boule dough, it can get a bit stiffer than other enriched doughs, so the towel helps with that.
And there you have it. Shortcut naan, literally made in minutes.
Shortcut naan makes a wonderful afternoon snack, spread with peanut butter and honey. Or butter and cheese. And served with baigan (eggplant) choka, it’s what completes our vegetarian meals. Then the boys tear pieces of the naan, grab food with it and sit there eating with their hands, while I sit there with my fork and knife trying not to get my hands messy.
And finally, the roles are back to where they should be and all is right once more in my mutant alien world.