Wednesday, December 1, 2010

indian flatbreads : recipe of whole wheat naan, tips and trick to make naan at home

There are many types of Indian flat breads and the most common is our daily roti or chapati .The roti can get thinner to make roomali roti and a bit thick and fluffy or flaky to become a rot or moti roti of several types.

The leavened breads are kulcha or naan. Naan and kulcha can have many variants further. Parathas are shallow fried flat breads made in a zillion avatars, plain, spiced, stuffed or layered. Parathas can be folded or rolled to make a hundred something layers or stuffed with sweet or savory goodness.

Oh and then there are the fried pooris .... are you till counting ??

whole wheat naan baked on griddle

Forget it. Just think about what suits with your curry the most and get going. I had a few requests for whole wheat naan and kulcha recipes and I was procrastinating as usual. The credit goes to GB who writes a wonderful blog Peacocks and Paislies, she requested for naans and kulchas while complementing my blog hugely. See what complements can do to me :-)

So I made naans and kulchas and there will be a series of posts on these flat breads. In this post I am including two versions of naan, one is baked on a gas stove and the other is baked in an oven, both of them using the same whole wheat dough.

whole wheat naan baked on griddle whole wheat naan baked in oven

The ingredients ...

whole wheat flour 1.5 cup
all purpose flour 1 cup
egg 1 no.
fresh curds 3/4 cup
baking powder 1 tsp
baking soda 1/2 tsp
salt to taste

Procedure for the dough...

Mix the flours and the baking powder, baking soda and salt, make a well in the center and break the egg into it. Add the curds too and mix the liquids first and then incorporate the flour into it adding a little water to make a soft pliable dough. Keep the dough aside for an hour or so. In the fridge it keeps for a day.

Procedure to bake the naan on gas stove ...

Heat a tawa or griddle. Keep a shallow bowl of water nearby.

Make small balls of the dough depending on the size of naan you want. Flatten the balls either by tapping your palms or on the rolling board. A round, oval or a typical drop shaped naan can be made as required. To make it drop shaped you have to pinch one side with your thumb and index finger and pull to stretch, though it is optional.

Dip the flattened naan in the bowl of water and spread on the griddle in one quick motion. If you are patting the naan flat using your palms, you will need to wet your palms to flatten them smoothly and then the naan will be already wet and needs not be dipped into the bowl of water.

whole wheat naan being baked on griddle

A wet naan will stick to the griddle until it is cooked properly even if you invert the griddle, which you are going to do just after this. Wait till small bubbles appear on the surface, patting or rolling the other naans at the same time, if you are used to making chapatis it's not at all difficult. 2-3 naans can be baked on the tawa at a time and this makes it so easy for the cook, especially when you have to bake too many naans. Now is the time to invert the tawa over the gas flame to cook the naan on the other side and to get those spots...

whole wheat naan being baked on griddle

Keep the flame under control as you don't want charred naans. The naans will get unstuck as soon as they are cooked through, use a pair of tongs to remove them. Butter them lightly immediately by rubbing a cold cube of butter over them, or you may want to serve it with a blob of butter melting enticingly.

Serve right away as the crisp exterior and soft flaky interiors of the naan are best when hot, once it cools down it becomes soft, still good but everybody likes a hot naan and you know that.

whole wheat naan baked on griddle

We had this naan with chicken n chickpea curry, that is, our chicken chhole with some spinach thrown in, a healthy meal. Most of the people love the naan with a butter gravy but it's a rarity at our place ...

chicken and chickpeas curry with naan

I personally like this tawa baked naan, you may like it baked in the oven so I made that way too....

baking the whole wheat naan in the oven...

Flatten the same dough and arrange on a greased baking tray. I spread finely chopped garlic and little butter on top of the naans to make garlic naan. Garlic paste or chopped garlic can be added to the dough if you like it that way.

whole wheat naan baked in oven

Bake till pinkish brown, insert a knife under the naan to see if the naan is cooked through. It should get unstuck promptly and should be lighter in weight. You may want to butter them again before serving....

whole wheat naan baked in oven

As I mentioned, I personally like the tawa baked naan as it seems easier for me to make (or for anybody who make chapatis everyday) plus this one stays soft and flaky even when it has cooled. The oven baked whole wheat or even maida naan gets a bit chewy so consume those right away.

Tips and tricks to make great whole wheat naan at home...
  1.  Knead the dough really well by stretching and folding it several times till it gets elastic. It imparts flakiness in naans.
  2. Keep the dough soft and sticky if you can manage. It gives a nice crust and the crumb remains soft and flaky that way.
  3. It is best to make the dough balls in advance and keep them covered with a wet cotton napkin. Pat it with hands or roll with soft pressure. This allows the naan to become more fluffy.
  4. Wet the naans before patting them on the griddle. It helps to achieve a great crust and the naan sticks to the griddle giving you a chance to invert the griddle and flame it for a while. This gives you results closer to an actual tandoor.
  5. Serve the naans immediately after being baked, topped with butter. If you need to keep them for a while you can butter them and stack them over a cotton napkin. It helps the naans stay warm till served and soft too. Once buttered the naans can be reheated on flame if required.

Now a quick recipe of chicken wale chhole....

Chicken (boneless breast pieces  are used for this. A large piece including the backbone and ribs is boiled along with the soaked chickpeas so that all the chicken flavor comes into the gravy.

Then a bhuna masala paste is fried along with the boneless chicken pieces on low heat, till the chicken gets cooked. The boiled chickpeas are added and given a good boil. I added baby spinach and coriander leaves in the end and served hot with these hot naans.

chicken and chickpeas curry with whole wheat naan

One thing to take care while making the naans with whole wheat flour, it will not be as soft and flaky as the white flour ones but it's perfectly good otherwise. They are soft with a nice bite (and not chewy as the maida ones get as soon as they get colder even while eating) and the flaky character of naan is retained to a lesser extent.

This recipe of naan is mostly followed by the restaurants because it is quick and doesn't need yeast or sourdough. But in homes it was made with sourdough always. If you want to bake sourdough whole wheat naans and kulchas you can follow the sourdough recipes here.

Hope this post helps you bake whole wheat naans easily at home. Do write to me for queries and feedback. I always appreciate hearing back from you. 


  1. Sangeeta, thank you so much!! I have to try this soon, just yesterday I was teliing hubby that I wish I could make good naans at home. I'll let you know how they turn out--love the fact that you used atta along with maida!=healthier naan! :)

  2. These look amazingly good I have never tried inverting my tava as they always fall off. I tend to cook one side on tava nad top side under grill. I will use your tip about wetting naan before putting on tava

  3. What a great way, love your method :)

  4. lage raho....kamal kar ditta !!!

  5. oh sangita what a whole lot to cok and see, very nice indeed great work

  6. Thank you ladies ......... loved cooking these breads and enjoyed writing about them too , and the lovely comments make me smile again.

  7. I have been making naan at home for a long time now and everyone loves it... even if it wasn't quite like the stuff we get in the restaurants... Now when I am reading this post I find that there were soooo many things that I was doing wrong!!!! No wonder they never came out perfect...ab mere naan ki quality sudhar jaayegee :) :)
    and while you are at it, please post the Bhatura recepie as well... humko pata to chale ki hum authentic recepie kya hai...abhi to hum pata naheen kya gadbad ghotaala kar ke ghar waalon ko khila dete hain .. lol

  8. Ha ha.... Amrita ... I will sure post the bhatura too ......... gadbad ghotala is not bad if everybody is liking it n it is not related to national economy :)

  9. i thought naan is made using maida, i never knew to add curd or eggs or baking powder to it. the chicken curry looks really great...

  10. @ Devasena ... yes , naan is normally made with maida but i prefer whole wheat flour . Thanks for the complements...

  11. Sangeeta, I make it in a similar fashion using whole wheat flour and prefer the tava version surely. I never feel guilty giving that to kids and even my kids love the wheat version.