Just like fresh baked bread, fresh grilled naan just can’t be beat.
Grilled naan is to Indian barbeque what cornbread is to Southern barbeque…almost a necessity. The lack of it leaves a barbeque somewhat incomplete.
Naan is an oven-baked leavened flatbread. Similar to the pita bread found in Middle Eastern cuisine, it’s typical of Central, South and West Asian cuisines.
While the vast geographical region where naan is common offers varying styles, we’re going to make the Indian version.
Indian naan originates in the northern region, but is commonly served in all Indian restaurants not only in India, but worldwide. Typically, naan is baked in a tandoor, which is a cylindrical clay oven heated by a wood fire. It’s the perfect bread to make on a grill.
Naan can be served to compliment a meal, used as a wrap or used as one would use sandwich bread. It can also be slathered with toppings and used as pizza crust. It’s also a great snack on its own. Spread with butter or dip in your choice of dipping sauce.
Naan is also flexible in the flavor department. Adjust the flavor with such ingredients as herbs, spices, nuts and basically, an unlimited range of possibilities. We especially love it with our Chicken Tikka Masala or our Grilled Chicken Tikka.
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and rolling
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 1/4 cup of the water and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the egg, milk, salt and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of water. Add 4 cups of the flour and stir to form a dough that is soft and pliable but not sticky. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if it seems very tacky. You can do this by hand on a floured work surface, in a food processor or in a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- Rub 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and brush the top with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down the dough and pinch off 2-inch pieces; roll them into smooth balls. Place the balls on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with a lightly dampened kitchen towel. Let rise again until puffy, about 30 minutes.
- Light the grill. When it's hot, place a rolling pin, cutting board, bowl of flour, the melted butter and a brush near the grill. On a lightly floured cutting board, roll out a ball of dough to a 5-inch round. Gently slap the dough from one hand to the other to stretch it into a 7-to 8-inch oval. Stretch the oval into a traditional teardrop shape and immediately lay it on the hot grate. Grill the naan until the bottom is crusty and browned and the top is puffed and blistered, about 40 seconds. Brush with butter. Invert the naan and grill the other side until lightly browned, about 30 seconds longer. Grill the remaining naan the same way. Brush each naan with more butter as it comes off the grill and serve piping hot. Serve whole, or cut each naan into 3 wedges to serve the traditional way.