Since I moved to the UK (five years ago in a couple of weeks!), I’ve tried to embrace all the great British traditions – Christmas panto, Trouping of the Colors, Coronation Street, morris dancing.  Okay, maybe not morris dancing.  But, one thing I’ve really enjoyed is the culinary traditions – bangers and mash, cottage pie, pancake day and the greatest custom of all … CURRY.

I’ve made loads of different types of curries – but the one thing no curry can do without is naan bread.  The Indian flatbread is a standard accompaniment and is incredibly easy to make – particularly as it only needs one rise, not two.  And, you can flavor it however you like – I’ve sprinkled mine with cumin and chopped chives, but you can use sauteed onions, minced garlic or any other flavoring you prefer.

And, if you don’t like curry, think of naan as a substitute for pita and serve it with your favorite dip like hummus, roasted red pepper or baba ganoush.

Naan with Chives and Cumin

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tsp active yeast
  • 5-6 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3 Tbsp minced chives

In a large bowl, stir together the warm water and yeast to dissolve before whisking in three cups of the bread flour.  Add the salt and olive oil and change from the whisk to a wooden spoon and stir well for a few minutes (at least three) to begin developing the glutin.  Add another cup to cup and a half of the remaining flour before turning the dough out onto a well-floured surface to knead.  The dough should be slightly sticky and smooth, so add flour as needed and continue working the dough for a good 10 minutes until it springs back if you dimple it with your finger.  Oil a large bowl and turn the dough to coat before covering with plastic wrap and letting rise for two hours.  While it’s rising, toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, then lightly crush and set aside with the chopped chives.

Preheat the oven to 500 F with a bread stone and pie pan of water to create some steam.  When the bread is done rising, divide the dough into 8ths and work in batches on a very well-floured surface.  Gently pull and press the dough out into a rounded rectangle, then use a fork to prick all over before lightly sprinkling with a little water and topping with a healthy pinch of cumin and chives.  Use your hands or a spatula to move the bread from the counter to the bread stone and bake for 5-15 minutes until golden brown (depending on the thickness of the bread).

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