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 ??
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
Tips and tricks to make great whole wheat naan at home...
- Knead the dough really well by stretching and folding it several times till it gets elastic. It imparts flakiness in naans.
- Keep the dough soft and sticky if you can manage. It gives a nice crust and the crumb remains soft and flaky that way.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.