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Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in central and southern Asian cuisines. It translates to “bread,” which I unfortunately learned after several repetitions of ordering “naan bread” at various restaurants over the years. (BTW, Chai means tea- so when you ask for a Chai tea, you are asking for Tea tea. The correct name for the drink we all call Chai tea is Masala Chai). 
Naan is excellent to mop up dishes with sauce (like my Coconut Chicken Cashew Curry), including various kormas, curries and the classic chicken tikka masala. It’s fun bread to make, and quite rewarding to knead by hand. The nigella seeds are optional, but I like the crunch and almost peppery flavor they impart. You can substitute olive oil and butter for the ghee, but I think the ghee adds an almost floral flavor to the naan that is well worth clarifying the butter yourself or searching for it in the store or online. 
In my desire to cook naan and tandoori chicken “authentically,” I made a clay pot tandoor oven. It gets very hot, so I am able to cook skewers of meat very quickly, and can slap naan dough into the clay oven and cook them in a minute. They come out lovely, bubbly and blistered black. However, taking the time, effort and expense of building a tandoor oven is not something everyone will wish to do. I am happy to say that these lovely flatbreads can be cooked quite nicely inside on a very hot cast iron pan with a lid. 
Try this out next weekend; you’ll love it!

Ingredients: Recipe adapted from Aarti Sequeira
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
¾ cup warm water
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons melted ghee
1 ½ teaspoons nigella seeds (optional)
Melted ghee for slathering on the naan
Sea salt for sprinkling

Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar in a bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. After the yeast is activated, pour in the melted ghee and greek yogurt and stir to combine.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and nigella seeds. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing with a fork. Knead together with your hands until you get a soft, sticky dough. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm place for 2 to 4 hours. 
Separate the dough into 6 equal portions and lightly dust each with flour to keep them from sticking to each other. The dough will be very sticky at this point, which is exactly what you want.
Roll the naans into a teardrop shape- about a ¼ inch thick and 8 inches by 4 inches. Repeat with the remaining portions.
If you have a claypot tandoori as I do, you may cook your naans by slapping them in the interior sides of the heated clay pot oven. Be careful! Or, if you do not, you may cook these on the stove top.

Preheat a large cast-iron skillet (with a lid) over high heat. Place a naan into the skillet and cook it for 1 minute; it should start to bubble. Flip it, cover the skillet with the lid, and cook for 30 seconds to a minute more.  Remove the naan, brush with melted ghee and sprinkle with sea salt. Put in a 200 degree oven to keep warm. Repeat for the remaining naans and enjoy!


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