Making Naan at Home

February 28th, 2008

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home-made naan

My family has been working on home-made naan recipes for years. Naan is traditionally made in the tandoor, a clay oven which you’re not likely to have at home in America, so I once thought we would never get them quite right.

Until now! Recently I saw Anjum Anand make naan from scratch on “Indian Food Made Easy,” her BBC television show and her accompanying cookbook. It looked too simple to be true, but I tried it and was delighted. At last we have a recipe for home-made naan, and it contains no yeast.

I describe Anjum Anand as “the Indian Nigella.” She is up front and friendly with a great deal of style in her dishes. Her goal is to show you how delicious Indian food is really not so difficult for home cooks. In fact, a lot of good Indian food can be made easily, even from scratch!

Anjum Anand gets high marks from me personally, too as I loved eating at Cafe Spice in NYC where she was once a chef. She gets props for making a lot of my native Gujarati food, which is rarely found in Indian restaurants and markets in the US where North Indian foods are favored. Anjum Anand takes both traditional and non-traditional approaches, doing whatever it takes to make simple and quality Indian food.

I DVR’d her naan episode of “Indian Food Made Easy” and got to work. Here is her naan recipe, just fine for your regular home oven! I also had fun rolling them out with these traditional Indian rolling pins, which come in various shapes and sizes.

traditional indian rolling pins

Anjum made topping suggestions, but you can just as well use your imagination and add almost anything you like. I made a few different types, including:

1. Jeera Naan – I sprinkled and pressed cumin seeds into some of my naans. Whole cumin gives a really smokey aroma when toasted, and they toast perfectly without burning as these naan cook fairly quickly.

2. Garlic Naan – I minced garlic, rolled out about a 4″ disc, and folded and rolled it again into a naan. I did not want garlic to burn on the top, so I kept the garlic inside.

3. Cheese Naan – I used shredded pepper jack cheese and followed the same method as garlic naan to fold it in. I sprinkled the top with a few red pepper flakes to distinguish these naan visually.

home-made naan

A few tips Anjum did not mention and my own observations from when I made it:

1. If you prick the naan with a fork before you place it in the oven, it won’t puff up as much. This is what Anjum did on her TV show, but it makes the naan a bit crunchy. I like the puffy version :) Give both a try both ways to see what you like.

2. Fair warning that these do cook quickly, so stay ready. You will figure out how much time your oven needs after you’ve practiced with a few.

3. In Seattle the open air can be too damp, which I later realized as my dough was struggling to rise. Mine did not rise much, but I did knead it a lot! Anjum does say in her recipe that the dough rises, but I find that the key is in the kneading, which she also points out in the actual TV show. You have to knead till the dough is nice and soft! I personally feel that kneading is more important than rising for the end product to turn out nice and soft. The freshness and type of flour might affect this as well.

4. When you crank up your oven to the highest temperature it can reach — mine goes to 500 F (260 C) — everything and anything in the bottom of your oven will burn and smoke. I keep my oven very clean, but at that temperature I still set off my smoke alarms :-P

I always change things around in recipes, but I have to say Anjum Anand’s recipe was just-right. These taste ten times better than what you can find in a store, and you don’t need to order from a restaurant for $2 a piece! I hope you enjoy impressing your friends and family with home-made naan :)

Note: This is not my recipe! I simply followed Anjum’s recipe and tweaked things bit to my liking and environment. If you have questions or concerns about the recipe or what did not work for you, I suggest asking the creator and not me. I liked the results I got!

38 Responses to “Making Naan at Home”

  1. Dhanggit says:

    i love naan…i could eat it just that without anything.;but of course the best is when i dip them on my spicy curry! thanks for sharing the recipe, now we can make our own home made naans

  2. amanda says:

    I recently became a fan of Naan and I’d love to try my hand at making it. But I always seem to have a problem with getting it to rise. Maybe my yeast is old ?

  3. I have seen naan everywhere (on the Internet, I mean) but never knew one could make them at home! Those are nice!

  4. yay! i love naan…my dad makes flatbread (he’s afghani), but not naan…i’ll have to make some next time i visit them…oh, and maybe some chana masala too :)

  5. erik98122 says:

    I too LOVE naan! If only I could fit a tandoor into my kitchen! :) I usally get the frozen naan from TJ’s but this doesn’t look too difficult. I agree, Anjum is amazing!!!

  6. Oh I cheat and buy the bagged naan. Shame on me! I’ll have to follow in your foodsteps!

  7. My mouth is watering Mo. Its been a while since i had naan. Hubby loves garlic naan, i’m more of a roomali roti gal ! i love your jeera naan , but also when i can get some i prefer the plain tandoori roti !!!

  8. VeggieGirl says:

    mmm, I LOVE naan bread – your rendition with the garlic sounds particularly enticing!!I just discovered your blog, and I LOVE it – looking forward to reading more posts! :0)

  9. MPG says:

    Dhanggit – That was my big plan with these ;)Amanda – No yeast required, check out the actual recipe, it has very few ingredients.Patricia – Yes, I’ve been struggling to solve that mystery and finally found this great recipe.Gratefulgrl80 – mmm! Channa Masala that’s what we ate these with :) The afghani flatbreads are yummy, I would love to learn those next.Erik – Yes, if you find one, let me know ;) I am sorry to say TJ naan are the most awful. In fact, I have had issues with Trader Joes frozen foods from day 1. Try buying them from an Indian grocery stores, even places like Ballard Town & Country have them, and The Souk at PPM.White on Rice Couple – I think we are all with you, most people just buy them. But now that I discovered this easy recipe, I’ll use fewer of those. I bet you’ll like it.Kajal – My hubby loves naan, too. Roomali roti. I can’t tell how long it has been since I found a decent one.Veggiegirl – The garlic is our favorite, too. Thanks for stopping by, and yes please do check out more.

  10. Keren Brown says:

    girl, the naan looks hot

  11. Deborah says:

    I’ve only made naan at home once, and it definitely was not authentic. I should give this a try, because I really love naan!!

  12. B W says:

    These look as good as they must taste!Garlic naan is my favoriteFresh is best!

  13. Suma Das says:

    You have been Tagged*You need to write 7 random things about yourself and tag 7 or more people to do the same:-))( Just make sure they know, by leaving a comment in their blog:-))

  14. whoa, i can make naan at home?! this is the best day ever! i’m trying this one *soon*.

  15. I am thrilled! I love making Indian Food at home, but I have never thought to attempt Naan Bread. I think you have inspired me:)

  16. MPG says:

    Frantic Foodie, Deborah, B W, Shuma, Michelle, Anticiplate – Thanks for all your comments – this recipe is truly simple and delicious if you haven’t attempted naan at home…and who doesn’t love fresh naan…Enjoy!

  17. LisaRene says:

    There is nothing like homemade bread, yeast or otherwise – it’s the best! With a simple and delicious flatbread recipe like this I bet you never purchase store bought again.

  18. netdoctor says:

    That looks so yummy! I would love to eat that! Well done with your blog!

  19. Helene says:

    I really like naan but never made it. I may attempt to do it. Your pictures are great.

  20. Kate says:

    Thankyou thats brilliant! I’m going to try some tonight.I’ve got pooris down to perfection but my naan come out like lead weights and I too like mine garlicky and puffy… the family will be very happy if I succeed!

  21. M'nMs says:

    oh I remember seeing this episode…my first ever show of hers and came away thinking…she makes naan look easy :) I might even try it.

  22. MPG says:

    Lisarene – So true, you don’t feel like buying naan after this :)Netdoctor – Thanks for stopping by.Helene – Thanks & go for it!Kate – Nice, if you can make pooris, this should be a piece of cake ;)M&Ms – It’s so true, I feel like she makes every complicated Indian dish look so easy – that’s what we need!

  23. I have never made Naan and this has given me a kick to have a go – thank you.We buy it from the supermarket at some expense so I will be intrigued to see how this works out.Thank you CharlotteGreat Big Veg Challenge

  24. Kelly-Jane says:

    I’ve been resisting buying her cookbook, but I saw her making the nan as well, and have ordered it, she made it look so easy!Your nan looks gorgeous!

  25. matt wright says:

    Awesome stuff! I made my first ever naan bread a month ago now, and it was really great. To think I had been buying store bought ones for years, and never realised how easy (and how fun) it was to make your own.No other naan bread honestly compares to that which you cook at home.. Same goes for a decent curry come to think of it!Great blog, nice to see a local Seattle’r.

  26. MPG says:

    Charlotte – Thanks for your sweet comment. You know what else would be good on leftover naan – you can turn them into personal pizzas the next day :) See my pizza post from September 07Kelly-Jane – Thanks, let me know how her book is. It is not in the US markets yet. We also get to see the shows bit later than you guys.Matt Wright – Thank you! I bet your naans were great judging from your other food. I am curious now how you made them. And, yes the store bought ones don’t compare anymore!

  27. gina bina says:

    I tried this recipe today and I must be an idiot because it did NOT turn out. The dough was anything but soft, did not come together well, and it never did rise, not even a little bit. I followed the directions exactly but decided that it must be the lack of yeast. ??So confused. Perhaps I need to see her make it!

  28. MPG says:

    Gina Bina – I am sorry to hear it did not turn out. Naan is one of those things that comes with practice. One thing I forgot to emphasize in my post, but is very obvious from Anjum’s show, is kneading the dough a lot. You must knead the dough till it is soft. The type and freshness of flour might also matter. If you get a chance, do check out her show, it definitely helped me to watch her cook, more than simply reading the recipe. Good luck next time!

  29. Ramki says:

    Hi,Have blogged your Naan as a model recipe in my One page cookbook – 1001 Naans. Thanks for the recipe.

  30. wonderful post. My husband and I saw this show on AZN too but we were too lazy to make it.

  31. MPG says:

    Ramki – This is not mine, but Anjum Anand’s. Feel free to link.Maybelles mom – Thanks, perhaps one of these days you’ll find time to make them ;)

  32. Tami says:

    I tried the naan recipe last night, but it didn’t rise, even after waiting all night. Maybe my house is too cold and damp, here on Vashon Island. Can it really rise to double with no yeast? I’d love your advice! Thanks! Tami

  33. MPG says:

    Tami – Thanks for your feedback! I am updating my post to say that the key is in the kneading! The more you knead the better the finished naan will be, and that rising is not as important.

  34. Tami says:

    thanks for the tip, Mango Power Girl! Love love love your blog. Thanks for sharing your passion for food so eloquently!

  35. cnycharles says:

    I learned about naan in school; a housemate had naan and then found it at the store, but now have to travel to that store chain to get more! I’m glad to find this recipe – I’ve seen recipes that have yogurt in it; can this recipe be modified to have yogurt in it? Can’t wait to try… I like eating warmed naan by itself

  36. cnycharles says:

    I just read your profile to find out where your screen name came from, and was surprised to see that you and your Husband lived in Ithaca! The ‘store’ I found the naan in was wegman’s and tops… the housemate was an Indian grad student at Cornell (I was horticulture undergrad ’95). I took one of the cooking classes at the hotel school and love cooking different ethnic foods that can be found all around upstate/central ny. Funny who you meet on the internet ; )

  37. Thomas says:

    Thank you very much for this recipe and tips!You're a Star!

  38. Emily says:

    Thank you!! I found your post while trying to find a way to make naan at home. Can't WAIT to make this. YUM!