Naan 7 Potato Stuffed Leavened Flat Bread Naan
Nan 7 Aloo Vali
Potao nans are quite delicious, served with fresh natural yoghurt and pickles. Naan is traditionally made in a ‘tandoor’, an Indian clay oven. Tandoors cook food at very high temperatures, which is impossible to achieve in a domestic oven. However, if you cook them on maximum heat that your oven can give or under a preheated grill, or on a pre-heated, heavy bottomed pan/tava, the results are pretty good. In fact, I tend to make them on an old frying pan or tava these days, not using oven at all.
Makes 12-15, depending on the size you make.
For the dough
500 gm. or approximately 4 cups plain flour/maida (or a mix of 3 cups/400 gm plain and 1 cup./125 gm. strong flour)
1/2 cup or 120 ml. ‘active’ natural yoghurt (dahi)
1/2 cup or 120 ml. milk, hand warm (not hot-boil first and then cool-see notes below)
Just over 1/2 cup or 135 ml. hand warm water (not hot)
(Total liquid 375 ml. approximately. You will need around 350-360 ml. of liquid. Make extra, because different flours need slightly different amounts of water)
3-4 tbsp. ghee or oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 level tsp. dry yeast or instant yeast*, roughly 1/2 tsp. per cup of flour. Use less yeast if you have more time for the dough to rise naturally. Make sure that the packet is fresh. Once it is opened, the leftover yeast will last for only 3 months or so,
For the potato filling
500 gm. potatoes
1 medium sized onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
1 green/yellow/red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp. heaped, coriander powder
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 1/2 tsp salt, adjust to taste
A handful of chopped coriander leaves (optional)
A little ghee or butter to serve.
1/4 cup dusting flour for rolling out naans
1 tsp. onion seeds or poppy seeds (optional)
1tbs. ghee, optional
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add yoghurt, milk, water, yeast mix, a little at a time, to make a soft and pliable, bread like dough, using required amount of liquid from the warm milk-water-yeast mix. The dough must be soft to get soft naans. You should add a little water at a time, so that you don't end up with very runny and unmanageable dough either. Don't be afraid to add a little more or a little less water than a bread recipe states. I don’t knead the dough too much these days, just bring the flour together, using the Easy bread method. I find that it makes no difference in the long run.
Cover the dough with an oiled cling film or a plastic shower cap and leave to 'mature' in a warm place/kitchen for 10 minutes.
Oil a work surface and your hands liberally with oil from the measured amount and lightly knead it for 20-30 seconds, until it looks smooth. Cover and leave for 10 minutes.
Oil the work surface and your hands again and lightly knead it for another 20-30 seconds. Cover and leave for 45-minutes to an hour or until it doubles in size.
Knock the dough down and knead it a little, making it into a smooth lump. Cover. It is read to make naans.
Meanwhile, prepare the potato filling while waiting for the dough to rise; Boil potatoes in their skins (or steam in a microwave for 5-6 minutes), cool, peel and mash. Add all other filling ingredients, adjust seasoning and leave aside.
Rolling out Naans
Heat the pan.
Knock back the dough a little and take dough about the size of a large lemon or 1 1/2 the size of a golf ball and roll it into a ball using dusting flour.
Roll it out to a 3 inch/8 cm. circle with a rolling pin.
Place 1 heaped tablespoon of filling in the centre, gather edges all around and over the filling, making it into a ball again.
Dip the ball in dusting flour and roll it out into either a tear shaped naan or a circular naan of approximately16 cm. diameter.
Place on the hot tava/frying pan. While this is cooking, roll out the next one.
After 20-30 seconds, turn naan over. Turn it over again when underside has a few brown blister.
Now gently coax it into a ballooning up by pressing with a kitchen towel all over. It is ready when it looks crisp and cooked.
To oven cook:
Heat oven to maximum, around 225º C, 450º F. Leave trays inside the oven, to heat really well.
Roll out 3-4 naans at a time. You can roll out the next batch of nans while the previous batch is baking.
Place 3-4 nans at a time on a pre-heated tray.
Bake in the centre of HOT oven for approximately 10 minute. They will puff up and have a few brown blisters or specks scattered on the surface when ready.
You will have to keep a close watch, to make sure that they do not burn.
Serve Hot. They can be buttered if desired, but I like them as they are.
If making naans in advance, to be served later, undercook them a little and ‘finish’ them off before serving.
Experiment with other stuffing like grated paneer cheese, leftover 'dry' vegetable curries and even sweet fillings.
To make Naans soft, the dough needs to be soft, because the steam from water makes the dough rise better. So, the consistency should be as slack as you can manage to roll. Indian chefs often do it by hand and don’t even use the rolling pin. For this, the dough has to be really soft and pliable.
Too much yeast will also make them rise fast and then collapse. In fact, if you have time, use even less yeast that in the recipe and let the dough rise naturally. Most people in India do not use yeast at all, they let yoghurt and natural yeast do the work. In fact, I have amended the recipes today, to reduce the amount.
Oven temperatures of domestic ovens can not match a tandoor. Pre-heat your oven fully to maximum, before you cook naans. I cook them on a HOT pan these days. The naans you make at home can not be like tandoor cooked naans, made by people who do this every day.