When it comes to South Asian cuisine, we cannot overlook the sheer deliciousness of naan bread. Soft, fluffy, and often accompanied by aromatic curries or flavorful kebabs, naan is a staple in Asian restaurants and households alike. While naan can be cooked using various methods, like on a stovetop or in an oven, nothing beats the traditional way of preparing it in a tandoor. The intense heat and unique smoky flavor of the tandoor lend an exceptional taste and texture to the naan.
Different varieties of naan!
1. Plain naan
Let’s start with the classics. Plain naan is a simple yet delightful bread that serves as the ideal accompaniment to any curry or kebab. The dough is made from flour, yeast, yogurt, and a pinch of salt. Once the dough has risen, it is divided into small portions, rolled out, and then slapped onto the sides of the tandoor with a tandoor naan cushion. The result is a fluffy naan with a slightly charred exterior and a soft, chewy interior. Pair it with your favorite curry and vegetable, and you are done!
2. Garlic naan
If you’re a fan of garlic, this variation of naan will be perfect for you. To make garlic naan, mix minced garlic with butter or ghee, then generously spread over the rolled-out dough. Place the naan in the tandoor so the garlic butter melts and permeates the bread. Last but not least, brush more butter on fresh, crisp naan and enjoy the yummy combo!
3. Keema naan
With meaty Eid just around the corner, it’s a great time to try Keema (minced meat) naan, a meat lover’s dream. This naan variety is filled with a spiced minced meat mixture, typically made from lamb or beef. The meat is marinated with a blend of aromatic spices, including cumin, coriander, and garam masala, before being stuffed into the naan dough. The naan is then cooked in the tandoor, giving you a crispy, buttery exterior and a juicy, spiced interior.
How they’re served can vary too; you can serve and enjoy this naan with yogurt or achaar (a pickled condiment), or both!
4. Potato cheese naan
For cheese lovers, this variation of naan is pure heaven. Simply boil potatoes, grate cheese (such as mozzarella), mix it with finely chopped herbs like cilantro or mint, and then generously stuff it into the dough. As the naan bakes in the tandoor, the cheese melts. Combined with soft potatoes it gives you a gooey and delicious center. The combination of the soft naan and the melted cheese and potatoes goes well with sour cream, a dollop of yogurt and other sauces.
5. S’mores naan
Everyone loves a good s’more. Crisp graham crackers, gooey chocolate, and the lightest, cloud-like marshmallows. It’s the best of everything, especially after savory meals. To make this amazing sweet treat, first, begin with a tandoor cooked plain naan. After that, combine the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the naan with the flavored butter, sprinkle with the graham cracker crumbs, and top with chocolate and marshmallows. You can bake it in the oven for about 4 minutes, or until the chocolate is melted. Serve dusted with powdered sugar, and enjoy!