Tandoori Naan is typical and a very popular leavened oven baked flatbread. Naan is a generic word used for various flatbreads from different parts of the world. In Turkic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi or Punjabi any flat bread is known as Naan. Tandoori Naan is a speciality wherein the flatbread is baked in a cylindrical clay oven.
The tandoor was popularized during the Muslim reign in South Asia and is thought to have traveled to Central Asia and the Middle East along with the Roma people who originated amongst the Thar Desert tribes. The word tandoori is the adjective meaning "pertaining to the tandoor" and is used to describe a dish cooked in a tandoor.
In India, the tandoor is also known by the name of bhatti. The Bhatti tribe of the Thar Desert of northwestern India and eastern Pakistan developed the Bhatti in their desert abode, and thus it gained the name. The tandoor is currently a very important fixture in many Pakistani/Indian restaurants around the world.
There are some modern-day tandoors using electricity or gas instead of charcoal. Traditionally the tandoori naan is served accompanied with tandoori dishes like the tandoori chicken, tandoori fish etc. It’s looks like a teardrop shape and is achieved because they elongate the naan as they hang it inside the tandoor while cooking.
Flatbreads are usually savored in nature and when combined with just a hint of sweet blended with aromatic Indian spices forms a yummy stuffing that is rolled into the bread giving it a unique twist in taste and flavor. Peshawari Naan, Garlic naan or paneer naan are few exceptional tandoori naan that are special to taste and exotic. The tandoor is specially used for cooking dishes like tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala and bread varieties especially the tandoori naan and naan.
A typical naan recipe involves mixing all purpose flour (maida) with salt, a yeast culture and enough yoghurt to make smooth and elastic dough. The dough is kneaded for few minutes and then set aside to rise for a few hours. Once risen, the dough is divided into balls (about 100 gms) which are then flattened and cooked. To enhance the taste and flavor of the naan, raisins and spices are also added to the naan. Naan can also be covered with various toppings of meat, vegetables or cheese.
For preparing the tandoori naan, take a mixing bowl and put in all the ingredients (plain flour, dry yeast, cumin powder, salt, sugar, onion seeds and milk) except the oil and mix all the ingredients well till it becomes smooth dough. Cover the mixing bowl with a wet cloth and leave it for 1 hour till the dough raises.
Now add the oil and knead well till all the oil is absorbed. Take some flour for rolling so that the dough won’t stick to the surface and make 13 round portions with the dough and roll them with a rolling pin or you can also pat them between both your hands. Light the grill and keep it hot. Now take a heavy bottomed pan and fry the naan on one side, lift them and place them under the grill. The un-fried side facing the heat (do not fry both sides on the pan).
Grill the naan till it is cooked and charred a bit and take it out and spread little butter over the naan. Repeat the same procedure for all the naans. Serve with Paneer butter masala or chicken malai or any other gravy curry. In a traditional tandoor, the heat is generated by a charcoal fire or wood fire, burning within the tandoor itself, thus exposing the food to live-fire, radiant heat cooking, and hot-air, convection cooking, and smoking by the fat and food juices that drip on to the charcoal.
Temperatures in a tandoor can approach 480 °C (900 °F), and it is common for tandoor ovens to remain lit for long periods to maintain the high cooking temperature. The tandoor design is something of a transitional form between a makeshift earth oven and the horizontal-plan masonry oven. Do try this recipe at home and enjoy the smoky taste of the tandoori naan. Click on the link for detailed recipe: