Naan 4 Peshawari Sweet Leavened Flat Bread
Nan 4 Peshawri Stuffed with dry fruits
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Also spelt as Peshwari, incorrectly in my view, gets its name from a city called 'Peshawar' in the north west frontier (NWFP) region of Pakistan. This naan is sweet, stuffed with a mix of nuts, raisins/sultanas and desiccated coconut. It 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 naans in an oven pre-heated to maximum, or under a preheated grill, or on a hot pan, or an upturned wok, the results are pretty good.
To make Naans soft, the dough needs to be soft. Just like chapatties, the slacker your dough, the better naans rise and the softer they are. So, the consistency should be as slack as you can manage to roll out. Indian chefs often ‘roll it out’ by hand, just like making a Pizza, not using a rolling pin at all.
Be careful of the amount of yeast you add. Too much yeast will make the dough rise fast and well, but the flavour is not so great! Most people in India do not use yeast at all; they let yoghurt and natural yeast do the work. Makes 16 approximately.
For the dough
3 cups or approximately 400 gm. plain, white flour or maida
1 cup or 125 gm. strong flour (bread flour). If you don’t have it, use all plain flour.
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 level tsp. or one 7 gm. sachet of instant dry 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 3 mont
1/2 cup or 120 ml. milk, hand warm (not hot) - boil first and then cool
2 1/2-3 tbsp. ghee
1/2 cup or 120 ml. ‘active’ natural yoghurt (dahi)
(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)
For the nut mix
1 cup mix of chopped nuts like green pistachios, (unroasted and unsalted), almonds, cashew nuts, a handful of raisins and desiccated coconut
1 tsp. of ground fennel/anise seeds
1/2 cup flour for dusting during rolling out
1 tbsp. ghee (optional)
Mix water, milk, ghee, yeast and yoghurt in a jug. Leave for a few minutes.
Sift flour and salt in a bowl, add sugar and instant yeast, mix.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add water-milk-ghee-yoghurt- yeast mix, adding a little at a time, so that you don't end up with a very runny dough. Add enough liquid to make a soft and pliable, bread like dough. It should be a soft, pliable dough. Soft dough makes soft naans.
Knead it a little. Cover and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
Knead it again on an oiled surface, cover and leave to double in size. This can take from 1-4 hours, depending upon the surrounding temperature. If you have a bread maker, you can make the dough in it, setting it for Pizza Dough setting.
The Nut Mix
While the dough is rising, place the stuffing ingredients in a food processor and grind coarsely. If you don’t have a food processor, chop finely by hand. Keep aside.
Rolling out Naans
Knock the dough down and divide into 16 portions. Roll them into balls. Keep covered with a moist cloth. I tend to make one ball at a time, while the previous naan is cooking.
Dust and roll the ball out a little, place 1 tablespoon of the nut mix in the centre, pull the edges up towards the centre, press and close the ball
Dust and roll out the stuffed ball into to an oblong, approximately 20-22 cm. or 8-9 inches in length, one end narrower than the other, shaped like a large tear drop. You can make them round too. Roll gently; vigorous rolling will make stuffed naans burst.
Cooking: Naans are traditionally cooked in a very hot Tandoor. At home, Indians often cook naans on an upturned wok, but I find that they cook okay in a frying pan/griddle, or under a grill, or in an oven, just as long as the surface is hot and the naans cook quickly. Slow cooking makes them tough and leathery.
Cooking naans on a griddle or a heavy bottomed pan or tava:
Place 1-2 naans on a heated griddle/pan. When a few blisters appear, turn over. After about 30-40 seconds, turn over again and gently coax them to balloon up by pressing gently with a kitchen towel. Cook until a few blisters appear on the other side too. You can turn them over a few times to get even cooking.
Cooking in an oven or under a grill: When cooking under a grill or in an oven, roll out 3-4 naans at a time, as many as will fit on your oven tray easily. You can roll out the next batch of naans while the previous batch is baking.
Heat grill to maximum and the oven to around 300°C, the maximum you can get. Leave the tray under the grill or inside the oven, so that it gets really hot. Naans placed on a cold tray will stick and you will get stiff/hard/leathery naans!
Place 3-4 naans at a time on the pre-heated tray quickly, so it doesn’t have time to cool down. Place the tray back in the oven/ under the grill. The naans will puff up fairly quickly. If cooking under a hot grill, you need to turn them over to cook the other side too. Oven will cook both sides simultaneously. When ready, they will have a few brown blisters scattered on each surface.
Cooking naans in a Tandoor Indian Oven : Heat Tandoor according to your instructions.
Roll Naan on a flat surface. Traditionally, the naan is made by slapping the oiled ball of dough between the palms, while rotating and stretching it at the same time, just like a traditional pizza.
Place it on a large, thick roll/wad of cloth and pull one end down to give it a traditional, tear drop shape.
Slap it to the side of the oven wall and let it cook until it blisters well.
Take it off using a long, steel rod. It helps to have 2 rods, so you can catch the naan between the two and take it out without dropping it into the fire! Take care not to burn your hand.
Butter one surface lightly and serve hot. They can be eaten with a curry, but are quite nice eaten on their own, with a cup of hot tea.