To do: Make homemade naan, a bread from India
Time: Prep: 15 minutes, Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Materials: See list below! Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Naan is flatbread that’s eaten in a wide part of Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, and that’s where we’ll start today to kick off our week of cultural exploration in the Global Cafe.
Naan is a great side to many of the gravies and stews common in India. It’s traditionally made in a tandoor, or large oven, but you can make it at home in a cast-iron skillet or heavy pan! Try it as a snack with the family.
Young children can help with this recipe when it’s time to form the dough into balls. Your child will love feeling the dough in their hands. Consider making an extra batch just for them to work with as long as they’d like!
This recipe is adapted from Gimme Some Oven:
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons honey
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 2 cups white whole wheat flour + 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
Optional: 3 cloves garlic, minced
Here’s how to make the Naan. It needs an hour to rise, so consider making it on the weekend when you have time to watch it! Get your child involved in measuring, rolling the dough, and eating the naan when it’s done.
- Stir together the honey and warm water until the honey has dissolved. Ask your child to stir.
- If you have a stand mixer, add the water/honey mixture to the bowl with the dough attachment in place. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and mix it once or twice. Let the yeast stand for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Invite your child to watch the yeast activate, and make sure to get a good smell!
- Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add flour, yogurt, salt, baking powder and egg. Increase speed slightly and mix the dough for 2-3 minutes until smooth. You’ll know it’s ready when the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl but is still sticky.
- Your child will love this part! Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a ball with your hands. As mentioned previously, consider giving your child one small section to work on their own. Form a ball, then place the dough into a greased bowl. Cover with a cloth and put it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. Go play outside while you wait!
- If you’re using garlic, saute it now in butter until fragrant. Remove butter from heat, strain and discard the garlic, and set aside butter to cool. If not using the garlic, simply set out the butter to get it to room temperature.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, or after 1 hour, take it to a floured work surface. Make sure your child has their own piece of dough and floured surface as well! Now would be a good time to don an apron.
- Cut the dough into 8 separate pieces. Your child can cut their dough with a butter knife or nylon lettuce knife, this is great cutting practice! Roll each piece into a ball, then roll out into a circle or oval. Each piece should be less than 1/4 inch thick. Brush dough lightly on both sides with butter (garlic infused or otherwise).
- Heat your cast-iron or heavy pan over medium-high heat. It’s important that the pan is hot before adding dough. When ready, add a piece of dough and cook for 1 minute. You’ll know it’s ready to flip when it begins to bubble. Flip the dough and cook the reverse side for 30-60 seconds or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm!
Enjoy your naan as a side for dinner, for a snack, as a homemade pizza, or even as french toast! It’s a multipurpose bread from India that your child will enjoy making and eating.
An older child might enjoy these pictures and information about India from National Geographic Kids.
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