Naan

Naan

[nahn]
For the kibbutz, see Na'an
Naan (Urdu/Persian: نان, नान, ਨਾਨ, ) is a round flatbread made of white flour. It is a variant of Roti. It is a staple accompaniment to hot meals in Central and South Asia, including Afghanistan, Iran, northern India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and the surrounding region. In Turkic languages (such as Uzbek and Uyghur), the bread is known as nan. In Burmese, naan is known as nan bya (နန်ပြား). It bears a resemblance to pita, but is softer in texture. The first recorded history of naan can be found in the notes of Amir Khusrau (AD 1300) as naan-e-tunuk (light bread) and naan-e-tanuri (cooked in a tandoor oven) at the imperial court in Delhi. In Mughal times, Naan, accompanied by qeema or kabab, was a popular breakfast food of the royals.

Origin

Originating in Central Asia within the Persian speaking nations of Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Tajikistan, the word naan literally means "bread." The word and bread later spread to South Asia into India and the surrounding regions. More recently it has spread to the UK, owing to the popularity of Indian cuisine.

Description

Naan resembles pita bread and, like pita bread, is usually leavened with yeast; unleavened dough (similar to that used for roti) is also used. Naan is cooked in a tandoor, or clay oven, from which tandoori cooking takes its name. This distinguishes it from roti which is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava. Modern recipes sometimes substitute baking powder for the yeast. Milk or yoghurt may also be used to give greater volume and thickness to the naan. Typically, the naan will be served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods, or served stuffed with a filling: for example, keema naan is stuffed with a minced meat mixture (usually lamb or mutton); Another variation is peshwari naan.. Peshawari naan and Kashmiri naan are filled with a mixture of nuts and raisins; aloo naan is stuffed with potatoes. Possible seasonings in the dough include cumin and nigella seeds. Naan used to be called lugidin bread.

A typical naan recipe involves mixing white flour with salt, a yeast culture, and enough yogurt to make a smooth, elastic dough. The dough is kneaded for a few minutes, then set aside to rise for a few hours. Once risen, the dough is divided into balls (about 100 grams or 3½ oz each), which are flattened and cooked. In Indian cuisine, naans are typically graced with fragrant essences, such as rose, khus (vetiver), and kevra (a pine essence native to Southern India), with butter or ghee melted on them.

Raisins and spices can be added to the bread to add to the flavour. Naan can also be covered with various toppings of meat, vegetables, and/or cheese. This version is sometimes prepared as fast food. It can also be dipped into such "soups" as dal and goes well with sabzis (also known as shaakh). Naan bya in Myanmar is a popular breakfast choice served usually with tea or coffee. It is round, soft, and blistered, often buttered, or with pè byouk (boiled peas) on top, or dipped in hseiksoup (mutton soup).

References

Video showing how naan is made.

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