This soft and flavourful homemade garlic butter naan with fresh herbs and chilies is simple to make and the perfect accompaniment for saucy curries, hummus snacking, and even just to munch on by itself. I recently made it to go with my Eggplant & Red Pepper Shakshuka but it would also be perfect with this Easy Weeknight Coconut Curried Cod Stew.
Making naan by hand is simple, relatively fast, and doesn’t take any special dough handling prowess. You just mix, rest, divide, shape, and cook. Brushing with butter, garlic, herbs, chilies (or all of the above) is optional, but highly recommended. You can also very easily fill your naan with cheese – paneer with nigella seeds is the traditional combination.
4 cups flour + more for dusting
2 cups warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1-2 tsp salt
8 tbsp salted butter, melted and divided (or equivalent ghee + extra salt)
2 garlic cloves, finely diced or mashed
1 tbsp each of fresh coriander, mint, and parsley (chopped)
2 birds eye chilies, sliced (optional)
The first steps are to bloom the yeast and make the compound butter. In a large mixing bowl add the yeast to slightly warm (not hot) water. Set aside. In another bowl melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the finely minced or mashed garlic cloves, fresh chopped herbs, and the chilies if using. Set aside.
When you return to the mixing bowl you should notice the yeast has bloomed – i.e. it’s foamed up a bit. Add the four cups of flour and the salt to the bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix it until it’s roughly combined. It should be quite sticky, as shown in the first picture above.
Next you’ll turn the dough over onto a liberally floured surface and knead it for about five minutes. Fold it over itself in half, press it down firmly with the palm of your hand, turn it a quarter turn, and repeat until the dough is uniform and smooth like in the second picture above. Dust with a bit more flour if it sticks to your palm or fingers too much. Set the dough aside on your work surface or in the mixing bowl, lightly covered with a clean kitchen cloth, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Once the dough has rested, cut or break it into roughly 10 evenly shaped pieces. Keeping the pieces covered, take one piece at a time onto a floured work surface and use your fingers to press down and stretch it into an elongated oval shape as shown above.
When you have 2 or so pieces ready to cook, heat up a skillet on medium-high heat. I used a stainless steel skillet but a well seasoned cast iron skillet is best. Since I used stainless steel I needed a lot of extra butter to help the cooking process. You can either spread the butter on the naan itself, or swipe a bit across the pan before you cook each one. Depending on how well seasoned your skillet is (i.e. how non-stick it is) you may not need that much extra butter at all – but a little extra butter does add more flavour so who’s counting?
You’ll cook each piece of naan for approximately 3-4 minutes per side. A little but of char adds flavour and is #goals in my book. Once the naan is cooked, smear with the compound butter and serve right away. I started eating before I was finished cooking. It’s a wonder there were any left for pictures. We ate them with shakshuka and then had enough leftovers to take them to the beach as a snack.
Until next time,