Indian dishes can often be a bit intimidating due to their long and exotic ingredient lists. I I often skim through Indian recipes, drooling over the delish sounding and looking dishes, but never actually make any them due to a lack of ingredients and over-all intimidation to be honest! If you are in the same boat and love Indian food but don’t know where to get started, try this garlic naan with fresh cilantro!
Naan bread is the perfect gateway to Indian cooking, as it is made with simple ingredients and is easy to make. If you have yet to try your hand at Indian cooking, it’s a great place to start, as it is very similar to other types of flatbreads. While naan bread is traditionally cooked in a clay oven, also called a tandoor oven, it can easily be prepared in a skillet or grill pan.
Naan bread is made with similar ingredients as other flatbreads. The one ingredient which sets naan bread apart from other flatbreads and gives it that typical chewy and soft texture, is yoghurt. While the taste cannot be detected later on, it makes the dough incredibly smooth and pliable. Be sure to use room temperature yoghurt and butter so your dough comes together nicely.
Leavening with Yeast
Naan bread is leavened with yeast which gives it that gorgeous fluffy texture. When cooked, the naan bread puffs up and forms little bubbles on the surface. These little bubbles are crucial to getting a soft and fluffy naan as opposed to a tough disc. To ensure that your naan is leavened properly, it’s important to check the expiration date of the yeast. If it is past its “best by” date, throw it out and use a fresh sachet. Another important part of the recipe is giving the dough enough time to rest in between steps. The dough needs to rise a total of 3 times. It may be tempting to cut away some of that time, but unfortunately it will not yield the same results. Making naan takes time… but is totally worth the extra effort!
Garlic Naan with Cilantro
- ½ teaspoon dried yeast
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- 180 ml warm water ¾ cup*
- 360 g all-purpose flour 3 cups
- 4 tablespoons full-fat yoghurt room temperature
- 2 tablespoons butter room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Garlic Cilantro Butter
- 115 g butter 1 stick, melted
- 3 stems fresh cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves
To make the dough, combine the dried yeast and sugar in a bowl.
Add the warm water and stir to combine
Mix in ⅓ of the flour and stir until no lumps remain.
Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit for 1 hour in a warm place.
Then add the rest of the flour, yoghurt, butter and salt.
Knead the dough by hand (or use a stand mixer until the dough is smooth. This should take about 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. If the dough is too crumbly, add a bit more water.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Form the dough into a disc shape and divide into 8 equal parts.
Roll into balls and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough balls rise for another 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough into a circular shape on a floured surface.
Use a bit of the melted butter to grease a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet.
Cook the naan about 1 minute on each side.
To make the garlic cilantro butter, chop the cilantro into small pieces and mince the garlic. Add to the melted butter.**
Brush the hot naan with the garlic cilantro butter and serve warm.
*The temperature of the water is crucial. Make sure you are working with water that is slightly warmer than room temperature. If the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast, preventing your dough from rising.
**For a less pungent garlic taste, roast the garlic in the butter for a few minutes until golden brown, then remove from heat and add the cilantro.
Naan is best served fresh, but if you have any leftovers, freeze them in a Ziploc bag for up to 1 month.
Let’s get started!
Step 1 – Yeast mixture
In a bowl, combine the dried yeast and sugar.
Step 2 – Add water
Pour the warm water on top of the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Step 3 – Add flour
Add 1 cup of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir until smooth.
Step 4 – Let dough rest
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 hour in the warmest part of your house.
Step 5 – Combine dough
Add the rest of the flour, yoghurt, butter and salt.
Step 6 – Knead dough
Knead the dough until smooth for about 4-5 minutes, either by hand or with a stand mixer, until smooth. The dough should be elastic and slightly sticky, but not too sticky to handle. If the dough is too dry, add a bit more water. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.
Step 7 – Let dough rise
Once more, cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Step 8 – Divide dough
Shape the dough into a disc and divide into 8 equal parts with a bench scraper or sharp knife.
Step 9 – Shape into balls
Shape into balls and cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough balls rise for 30 minutes.
Step 10 – Roll out dough
Lightly flour the surface and roll out the dough balls with a rolling pin.
Step 11 – Grease pan
Grease a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet with a part of the melted butter.
Step 12 – Cook naan
Heat the pan on medium-high and once hot, add the naan. Cook for about 1 minute on each side.
Step 13 – Garlic cilantro butter
Mince the cilantro and garlic and add into the melted butter.
Step 14 – Brush with butter
Generously brush the naan with garlic cilantro butter and serve warm.
The best way to enjoy your freshly made naan bread is with a saucy main dish such as a curry or stew. You can also serve it alongside a yoghurt dip or hummus. Either way, this tasty flatbread is a must try for any foodie.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.