Not too long ago, I started making homemade naan bread and adding it to my diet and I haven’t looked back since. Naan has been a staple in South Asian cuisine for centuries and has been gracing the tables of royalty and commoners alike. Imagine old world traders on the Silk Road munching on Naan as they exchanged goods. Fast forward to today, and it’s a must-have at most Indian style restaurants from New Delhi to New York. There’s some history to this bread and it’s been around for a while.
Naan or Pita?
My first thought when I saw these was that it was just another version of pita bread. There is a difference though and an important one. Naan is that soft, pillow-y dream bread with a bit of chew. That’s all thanks to the yogurt in the dough. Naan is like the cool kid at the curry party, soaking up those flavors with finesse.
Pita, on the other hand, is a bit sturdier. It’s got that pocket action going on that makes it perfect for stuffing. The taste is more neutral, letting the fillings take the spotlight. Naan flaunts its Indian roots with yogurt, giving it that distinct tang. Pita, meanwhile, keeps it simple with flour, water, yeast, salt, and maybe a bit of olive oil.
Naan loves the tandoor life. It’s slapped onto the walls of a hot clay oven, puffing up and getting that delicious char. Pita prefers a quick, hot bake. It’s tossed into an oven, and the magic happens as it inflates, creating that iconic pocket we all know.
Here’s a simple recipe for homemade naan to start you off but feel free to change it up to your particular taste.
|2 hours, 10 mins
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar in a bowl.
- Add yogurt, water, and ghee. Knead into a soft dough.
- Cover and let it rise for 2 hours. This is crucial in my opinion.
- Divide the dough into balls and roll into naan shapes.
- Cook in a preheated oven or skillet until puffy and golden.
- Brush with ghee for that extra yum factor.
Recipe Rating: 5 / 5
Change it Up
Feel free to mix and match these riffs or come up with your own variations.
- Garlic Naan: Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic to the dough. You’ll get that aromatic garlic kick with every bite.
- Herb Infused Naan: Mix in a tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, or even dill to the dough for a herby twist.
- Cheese Stuffed Naan: Throw in a pinch of your favorite spices like cumin, coriander, or even chili powder for an extra kick.
- Sesame Seed Naan: Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the rolled-out dough for a nutty crunch.
- Whole Wheat Naan: Swap out some of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour for a heartier, nuttier flavor.
- Sweet Naan with Honey: Add a tablespoon of honey to the dough for a slightly sweet and sticky finish.
- Nigella Seed Naan: Sprinkle nigella seeds on top for a unique, earthy flavor.
Some Ideas for Your Naan
So what can you have with Naan? More like what doesn’t go with Naan? the answer is Naan is great with everything. I haven’t found anything that didn’t work well with naan. However, I’ve come up with a list of places for you to start:
Butter Chicken: This is a Classic combo! The rich, creamy goodness of butter chicken scooped up with warm Naan is a match made in food heaven.
Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala): A spicy, hearty chickpea curry ladled over Naan—get ready for the flavor fireworks.
Tandoori Chicken Wraps: Fill your Naan with tandoori chicken, yogurt sauce, veggies, and roll it up for a handheld delight.
Paneer Tikka: Grilled or sautéed chunks of paneer (cheese) with spices, served with Naan—vegetarian heaven. I will use any type of grilled Cheese here, not just paneer (Mozzarella, Halloumi, even Provolone!)
Spinach and Lentil Dal: Stews are comforting and having a protein-packed spinach and lentil stew paired with Naan is a wholesome meal to just sit back and relax.
Egg Curry: Soft-boiled eggs in a flavorful curry sauce—scoop it up with Naan for a breakfast-inspired twist.
Keema (Minced Meat) Curry: Spiced minced meat cooked to perfection, making every bite a flavor explosion.
Vegetable Biryani: Fluffy rice, veggies, and aromatic spices, paired with Naan for a textural and flavorful experience.
Mango Chutney and Yogurt Dip: Keep it simple with a sweet and tangy mango chutney or a cool yogurt dip for dipping pleasure.
Hummus and Mediterranean Veggies: Take a detour from Indian flavors and go Mediterranean with hummus, olives, and roasted veggies.
Sweet Nutella Naan: End your feast on a sweet note by spreading Nutella or your favorite chocolate spread on warm Naan. This will go with your favorite spreadable jam as well.
Spicy Salsa and Guacamole: Go fusion with some spicy salsa and guacamole. It’s like a party in your mouth. Naan is a great substitute for soft tacos!
This last one on the list “Go Fusion” is something that predominantly governs my eating. I love substituting naan for soft tacos, buffalo chicken wraps or simply using them as tools to eat them leftovers in the fridge.
I usually pair naan with anything that I would use bread. Spreading butter and jam is a a big one or me in the morning instead of toast. Using the naan as a spoon for dipping my chili is another one on my list. Anywhere you can use a pita can be substituted with naan, just roll the naan up or fold it over like a taco instead of stuffing the pita pocket. I like to think of naan as the proper way to eat with your hands… lol. Please enjoy my recipe!