Naan Making | Street Food India.
Naan (also known as ‘nan’ or ‘khamiri’) is a staple food in Asian countries. It is leavened, oven-baked flat bread predominantly found in the cuisines of West, Central and South Asia. In India, naan is a popular main course served with curries. North India has more use of naan than any other part of India. In other regions, naan is served as popular street food during lunch time. Naan Making is slightly tough at home.
Food etymology says that the earliest appearance of ‘naan’ in English occurred in 1810, in a travelogue of William Tooke. The Persian word ‘nan’ is already attested in Middle-Persia as naan that means a bread sort of food. The form itself is of Iranian origin. Its cognate forms include Parthian nagn, Balochi nagan, Sogdian nin, Pashto nian – all of which literally mean ‘bread’.
The word naan has a widespread distribution, having been borrowed in a range of languages spoken in central and south Asia, where it usually refers to a kind of flatbread. The spelling naan was first attested in 1979 and since then it has become the normal English spelling.
History of Naan.
History reveals that naan originates from South Asia with influence from the Middle East. In Iran, from which the word ultimately originated, naan does not carry any special significance, as it is merely the generic word for any kind of bread, as well as in other West Asian nations or ethnic groups in the region, such as amongst Kurds, Turks, Azerbaijanis etc. Naan in parts of South Asia usually refers to a specific kind of thick flatbread (another well known kind of flat bread is chapati).
Naan Making in Tandoor.
Generally, naan resembles pita bread and like pita bread, it is usually leavened with yeast or with bread starter (leavened naan dough left over from a previous batch), unleavened dough (similar to that used for roti) is also used. Naan is cooked in a tandoor, from which tandoori cooking takes its name. This distinguishes it from roti, which is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava.
Modern recipes sometimes substitute baking powder for the yeast. Milk or yogurt may also be used to impart distinct and delicate tastes to the naan. Milk is used instead of water sometimes, as it yields softer dough. Also, when bread starter (which contains both yeast and lactobacilli) is used, the milk may undergo modest lactic fermentation.
Different Types of Naan and it’s serving.
Typically naan is served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods, or served stuffed with a filling. Based on the fillings, naans are available with various names. Keema naan is stuffed with a minced red meat (lamb meat or mutton) mixture. Peshawari naan and Kashmiri naan are filled with a mixture of nuts and raisins.
In Pakistan, roghani naan is sprinkled with sesame seeds. Kulcha is another type of stuffed naan that has various spicy vegetable fillings. Amritsari naan is stuffed with mashed potatoes, onion and lots of spices. Possible seasonings in the naan dough include cumin and nigella seeds.
A typical naan recipe involves mixing white flour with salt, a yeast culture, and enough yogurt to make a smooth, elastic dough. The dough is kneaded for a few minutes, then set aside to rise for a few hours. Once risen, the dough is divided into balls (about 100 grams or 3.5 oz each), which are flattened and cooked.
In Pakistani cuisine, naans are typically graced with fragrant essences, such as rose, khus (vetiver), or with butter or ghee melted on them. Nigella seeds are commonly added to naan as cooked in Indian restaurants throughout the UK. Raisins and spices can be added to the bread to add to the flavour. Naan can also be covered with, or serve as a wrap for various toppings of meat, vegetables or cheeses. This version is sometimes prepared as fast food. It can also be dipped into such soups as dal, and goes well with sabzis (also known as shaakh).
Use of Naan in Different ways.
Naan has several other varieties which are served in different ways. (i) Naan bya in Burma is sometimes served at breakfast with tea or coffee. It is round, soft, and blistered, often buttered, or with pè byouk (boiled peas) on top, or dipped in hseiksoup (mutton soup). (ii) Naan pizza is a type of pizza where naan is used as the crust instead of the traditional pizza dough. Chefs and companies such as Nigella Lawson and Wegmans offer recipes for people to make their own naan pizza at home.
(iii) The Naan burger is a hamburger served on naan bread. The naan burger has very similar ingredients to normal burgers, but is sometimes made with ham. The use of flatbread creates a taste experience different from hamburgers made with bread. Some naan burgers are vegetarian, containing no meat.
Naan ranks second among the most used breads (after roti) in India. Besides that, naan ranks within top 25 most popular street food items available in India.