spelt skillet naan

spelt skillet naan

Naan, is probably the most popular menu item requested at my home whenever I invite guests over for an Indian meal. It has all the good qualities of a flatbread bread which in my opinion are: be able to sop up and grab curries, gravies and sauces or even morsels of vegetables or meat. I like my naans to be soft and tender in texture and blistered for that delicious caramelized flavor. There is also something wonderful to be said about preparing your own bread at home, be it in an oven or in a skillet. As the heat hits the dough, it brings about the warm nutty flavors of the grain, lending an aromatic sweetness to the air which makes it simply perfect. There are so many different kinds of wonderful flatbreads that are cooked in different cultures and hopefully, I will have tried my hand at making each and every one of them by some point in my life! 

spelt skillet naan

I've shared a few naan recipes here in the past and using my skillet still remains my favorite way to prepare them. This new version uses spelt flour, an ancient ancestor of modern day wheat. The addition of spelt to this recipe adds fiber and nutrients making these traditional Indian flatbreads a healthier option. Stick with the ratios for the two flours, here to get a soft naan. I would highly recommend using a food scale to weigh the flours, having a simple, good quality, reliable scale is really worth the investment. 

nigella and flour

In this recipe, I use a combination of sea-salt crystals and nigella seeds to season the naan. Alternatively, you can also use my cilantro-garlic butter seasoning to flavor the naans. It is completely up to you! This basic naan recipe also works well when you want to stuff the naans with vegetables like I did previously in these pumpkin naans. To cook the naans on the skillet, you can use either vegetable or melted butter, both work great and each gives it's own unique flavor to the bread.

spelt skillet naan with nigella

spelt skillet naan

yields : 12 naans

ingredients

9 1/4 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour + a little extra flour for rolling out the naans
9 1/4 ounces (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) spelt flour 
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola oil) or melted butter for cooking the naans (you may end up using less of either to cook the naans)
1/4 cup sea salt crystals 
1/4 cup nigella seeds

1. Sift the 9 1/4 ounces of all-purpose and spelt flours, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Add any grain bits that might be left behind back into the flour. Do this three times.
2. Add the sifted flour, eggs, yogurt, and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough blade attachment, combine the ingredients completely and mix on low speed until it comes together to form a ball of dough. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently knead the dough in the same bowl to form a ball. Brush the one tablespoon of oil over the dough, cover the dough with cling film and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for at least 4 hours . 
3. Place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface and divide it into 12 equal parts using a knife or a pastry scraper. The dough will be slightly elastic. Take one part and roll it into a ball with your hands. Stretch the dough into a tear-drop shape by pulling it gently in one direction and using the base of your palm to hold it down at the opposite end. Each stretched out naan should not be too thin or it will tear. Sprinkle a little bit of the nigella seeds and sea salt over the surface of the naan (you can use as little or as much as you want with the nigella and salt, I personally tend to use less salt). Press the seeds and salt crystals into the naan by rolling the seasoned surface lightly with a rolling pin.
4. Heat a skillet with a tight fitting lid on a high flame, add one  teaspoon of oil and spread the oil by rotating the skillet with your hand. As soon as the oil is heat, slap the bottom surface (unseasoned side) of the naan directly on to the skillet. Cover the skillet immediately with the lid. This seals the steam in which is necessary to cook the naan and give it its characteristic blistered appearance. Drizzle another teaspoon of vegetable oil over the naan. After about 3-4 minutes, flip the naan and reduce the flame to a medium and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove the hot naan and keep it covered between a layer of clean cloth or paper towels to absorb the steam. Serve hot/warm. Naan is best eaten the day it is prepared, however if you need to store them, wrap the flatbread between clean kitchen paper towel sheets and store in an airtight gallon ziploc bag. 

pumpkin stuffed naans


Its nice to check something off your bucket list and this weekend I got the opportunity to put a check mark right next to paintball. I never got the chance to do this when I was a kid and now this dream has been completed.  I'll admit to being a little anxious about the bruises and marks that I had heard about. Honestly, its not that bad and it stung perhaps for a few seconds and I was fine! The only pain that lasts is that related to cleaning the paint of your clothes and the extra round of laundry added to the weekend. It was fun and exciting while we jumped and climbed through the woods to defend a UFO, and a castle.  


I think about food a bit too much. By the time I'm on my way to work, dinner is already on my mind and I wait anxiously till the day is over. The arrival of autumn brings in new produce to work with and I am excited. Excited about the delicious and colorful squashes and vegetables that will take over my kitchen table for the next few months. So here it is, something that has been at the back of my mind quite a while now, I just needed to wait for the pumpkins to arrive.


I used one of my earlier recipes for naans to prepare these stuffed breads. They are delicious and taste best when made fresh. They make a complete meal by themselves and you can serve them with a small side such as a plain cucumber and tomato salad, a chutney, or even some sort of relish. I prefer these with chilled plain unsweetened yogurt. If you want them to be a little hot, increase the amount of chili. Of course you can just skip the chili if you don't want them hot. I normally remove the seeds from the chili before I chop them because that is where most of the heat is concentrated in the pepper.


pumpkin stuffed naan

ingredients


pumpkin stuffing

1 small pumpkin (enough to get about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of pumpkin flesh)
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped red/green thai chili
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon poppy seeds or nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
melted butter or ghee for cooking the naans on the skillet

Slice the pumpkin into half, remove and discard the seeds and fibers. With the outer skin still on cut the pumpkin into wedges or cubes (about 1 inch think). Spread the pumpkin evenly onto a baking sheet and broil in an oven on high for 15 minutes till the flesh is blistered and the pumpkin is tender and soft but not mushy or cooked all the way. It is useful to place the baking sheet as close as possible to the broiler flame to ensure a good blistering of the flesh (The pumpkin will cook again once stuffed inside the naan, so there is no need to overcook at this stage).  Let the pumpkin cool to room temperature on the baking sheet. Scoop the flesh out and chop it fine and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Finely chop the cilantro, chili, and garlic and add this to the pumpkin. Toss in the chopped red onion, garam masala, salt, and pepper. 

preparing the naans

Follow the naan recipe, let the dough rise for 4 hour and prepare the dough balls as described in the original recipe. Take one ball at a time, with your finger make a small well in the center with your thumb and fill about 1 heaped tablespoon of the pumpkin filling. Seal the filling inside the dough ball (just like a dumpling) by bringing the sides of the dough to meet each other. Flatten the dough on a clean and lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, flatten out the dough with a rolling pin that are about 1 centimeter thick. Some of the filling will come to the surface of the dough which is absolutely fine. Spread a teaspoon of melted butter on the surface of the naan and sprinkle a pinch or two of the poppy seeds. Transfer the naan onto a hot lightly greased (add 1/2 teaspoon melted butter to the skillet too before you add the naan) Now with the skillet on a high flame, slap the naan directly onto the surface. Cover the skillet immediately with a tight lid. This seals the steam in, which is necessary to cook the naan and give it its characteristic blistered appearance. After about 3-4 minutes, flip the bread and reduce the flame to a medium flame and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove the hot naan and keep on a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb the steam. Serve hot with cold  plain yogurt

naan and garlic naan


One of the most exciting things about my experience blogging has been hearing from people all over the place but a more humbling and gratifying experience is when fellow bloggers use your recipes and reinvent them. Olivia Lin at the Yummy Year Project recently reworked a previous post of mine on turkey based potato pockets into a delicious vegan potato cake. Olivia has a wonderful goal tied with her blog, she raises money via her blog to support the Ebongalethu Educare Center in South Africa. Do visit her blog if you get a chance.


The city's holiday decorations this year have been a bit less intense than previous. We went down to Union Station to check out their annual decorations but it now surrounded by massive constructions and renovations that are overwhelmingly intense. In the end we settled for walking around the neighborhood for a couple of minutes in the cold winter breeze.


The Old Post Office building was looking mighty majestic with its vibrant architecture and holiday wreaths.


All this cold weather has been pushing me towards making homemade warm breads. It was high time that I tried cooking up some traditional naans at home. This recipe is for the non-yeast based naans which makes it fast, quick, easy and fool proof. No need for a fancy "tandoor" or special grill, all you need is a skillet and a rolling pin. 


naan and garlic naan

ingredients

naan dough
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

garlic-cilantro butter

1 clove of garlic minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 stick of butter

making the naans

1. Knead all the ingredients together to form a ball of dough. Keep the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the top with cling wrap to prevent a skin from from forming on the surface of the dough. Let the dough rest for at least 4 hours at room temperature. Make balls of the dough about 2-2 1/2 inches in diameter. 
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the naans in circular motion. While rolling out the dough do not use too much flour as it stretches and flattens. Stretch the dough into a tear drop shape by pulling it gently in one direction and using the base of your palm to hold it down at the opposite end. Each stretched out naan should not be too thin or it will tear. Heat a skillet on a high flame and slap the naan directly on to the surface. Cover the skillet immediately with a tight lid. This seals the steam in which is necessary to cook the naan and give it its characteristic blistered appearance. After about 3-4 minutes, flip the naan and reduce the flame to a medium and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove the hot naan and keep on a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb the steam. Serve hot. 

for garlic naans
Blend the ingredients together for the garlic-cilantro butter. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the butter with a spoon evenly on the surface of a fresh hot garlic naan that is straight off the skillet. Serve hot.