How To Cook Naan Bread in a Tandoor Oven

 

 

naan bread by the curry guy

Naan bread or naans just as they should be.

Back in February 2011, shortly after I started this blog, I posted a naan bread recipe which I’d been using for years. That naan bread recipe had seen me through many curry nights and parties. Naan bread became a true favourite around my house.  I still swear by the recipe and believe it to be one of the best out there but last week the way I make naans changed forever.

I purchased my own tandoor oven!

When it arrived I nervously looked at it for a while. I even fired it up and tried to cook something in it but my first attempts were nothing short of failure.

I decided to seek the advice of my friends down at my local tandoori restaurant. Thankfully, they were happy to help out.

Now I would like to pass their excellent recipe on to you. If you don’t have a tandoor oven, you could use this recipe in a conventional oven pre-heated to 400f (200c). That said, I love my tandoor and can strongly recommend purchasing one if you like dining al fresco.

The best advice they gave me was to allow the dough to rest – covered for about 24 hours! This is how the best British Indian restaurants achieve the soft, chewy dough that makes naan bread such a popular side dish.

Naan bread should be allowed to rise for 24 hours!

If you have tried my other naan bread recipe, you will see that this recipe is quite similar. But the longer standing time and the use of fresh yeast in this recipe make a big difference.

Will I still use my old recipe? Sure I will but this recipe takes it all to the next level.

You can purchase fresh yeast from bakers or even supermarkets where they bake their own bread.

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How To Cook Naan Bread in a Tandoor Oven
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 900g (2 pounds) plain flour
  • 300ml lukewarm - hand hot milk
  • 50g fresh yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 300ml Greek yogurt
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3 free range medium sized eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 100g ghee or clarified butter
Instructions
  1. Warm the milk in a 1 litre plastic container until it is hot to the touch.
  2. Dissolve the fresh yeast in the milk and add the sugar.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes. The yeast will wake up and a thick foam will form.
  4. While you are waiting for the yeast to foam up, sift the flour into a large bowl.
  5. Beat the eggs and add them to the flour. Then beat the yogurt and add it too.
  6. Add the yeast/milk when it is really foamy along with the rest of the ingredients except for the ghee.
  7. Form the dough into a ball and knead for 20 minutes. You want the dough ball to be slightly sticky to the touch but your fingers should not stick to the dough! If they do, add a little more flour.
  8. With your hands, wipe the vegetable oil over the dough ball and place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for one hour or preferably longer - up to 24 hours. The longer the better.
  9. to cook
  10. Heat your tandoor or conventional oven to 200c. If cooking in a conventional oven, place a baking tray or pizza stone on the top self and wait for it to heat up.
  11. Dust a surface with flour and take a tennis ball sized piece of dough. Use a rolling pen to flatten the dough into a large round or tear drop shape. You want the dough to be quite thin - no more than 3mm thick.
  12. Place the dough in the oven. The naan bread should bubble up and begin to brown. If you are using a tandoor oven, be sure to check the temperature carefully. It must be between 200 and 220c! Slap a naan bread on the side (as pictures) and wait about three minutes for it to bubble up and cook.
  13. Remove the finished naan bread and brush with a little melted ghee. Keep warm while you cook the other naans.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Dan,
    They look ok mate,
    Couple of questions if I may?
    Is it the camera or is there a layer of unburnt soot on the clay, it looks very dark and shows where other naans were stuck?
    A yeast and baking powder recipe from a restaurant/takeaway…that’s a new one on me. In all the kitchens I’ve been into I have never seen that.
    Can I ask what the restaurant is called where you got this recipe?
    Many thanks.
    Mick

    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Mick

      Thank you for your questions.

      I usually cook my naans after I have cooked whatever meat and vegetables I am cooking in the tandoor. My tandoor is charcoal fueled so over the course of the evening the sides do tend to blacken. I made naans again last night but didn’t see any real soot.

      With regard to your other question about the naans, baking powder is used by many different BIRs (British Indian Restaurants). You should try it as it helps the naans rise. I haven’t been in many kitchens where they don’t use baking powder but I am going to try your recipe without soon and will let you know how I get on.

      I can recommend three highly regarded books on BIR cooking which all use baking powder in their recipes. These are ‘Undercover Curry’ by Dave Loyden, ‘The Curry Secret’ by Kris Dhillon and ‘The Modern Balti Cookbook’ by Pat Chapman. These are all great reads from authors that have had a lot of experience in BIR cooking.

      With regard to the fresh yeast, I have never come across an Indian restaurant using it. I can highly recommend using it though as it does help make really nice and chewy naans. My friend who is a chef at my local tandoori restaurant swears by it. He doesn’t use it a work though. :)

  2. says

    Hey Dan. Thanks for linking up to the Recipe Shed. I’m getting serious gadget envy reading your stuff of late. Your own Tandoor! I am greeeeeen!
    I bet these Naans are in a completely different league to anything you can buy in a shop. Is there a way of getting half-decent results in an ordinary oven?
    Cheers
    p.s. Next week’s theme is going to be more general; MOREISH MAINS FOR DINNERTIME INSPIRATION

    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Keith

      Thanks for that. Just use the recipe for tandoor oven cooking and bake the naans at 200c (400f) on a very hot baking tray or – better – a pizza stone. Bake for about six minutes. Make sure that the naans are quite thin and they will puff up better.

      Now I just have to think of something for MOREISH MAINS FOR DINNERTIME INSPIRATION! :)

  3. Louis says

    Hi Dave,
    I came across your site by accident. It looks very informative as I have a tandoori and have failed miserably using it.
    I will try your Naan recipe. 200 to 220 c for a tandoori oven seam low. Most other books and sites suggest anything from 450 C plus.
    I would appreciate your advice.
    Many thanks.

  4. Ian says

    I have a book which i purchased in 1986, Prashad – Cooking with Indian masters which contains recipes from several of New Delhi’s top chefs of the time. There is a paragraph which mentions “Seasoning a tandoor this is what it says: Should you choose to aquire a clay tandoor, it will have to be seasoned. As a first step, ensure the the inner surface is smooth and without any cracks, Next, take some spinach or any other leafy vegetable and make a paste, rub this paste evenly on the inside and leave it to dry. Then make an emulsion of mustard oil, Buttermilk, , Jaggery and salt, apply it over the spinach paste with the help of a cloth.Start the tandoor by lighting a small fire and allowing the temperature to rise gradually. The prepared emulsion will peel off. Replace it with another application of emulsion, repeat the process 3 or 4 times to season the tandoor. Finally, sprinkle brine on the sides then leave it to dry {this facilitates the sticking of breads to the sides} I am assuming this process would enable a build up of a permanant toffee like glaze which will combat any soot, fats, etc.. from building up and enable the breads to readily cling to the sides

  5. Andy Peters says

    I have prepared the naan bread ingredients as listed above and followed the recipe to the word ready to cook tomorrow in a clay oven recently purchased. I’m contacting you to ask if the recipe is for 50g of yeast. I’ve read at least 4 other recipes one by Pat Chapman and
    although roughly the same amount of flower the others are saying 15g of yeast.

    When mixed it did froth over the jug, and now 4hrs later having mixed and kneaded the dough it has approximately tripled in size and broken through the cling film that was over the bowl.

    This has prompted me to ask if the amount of yeast is correct or a spelling mistake. I used dried packet fast acting yeast added to the milk and sugar.
    Never done naan like this so not sure what to expect between now and tomorrow. will i be able to open the kitchen door!

    Love what you are doing and please except my kindest regards.

    Andy Peters

    • Dan Toombs says

      Hi Andy

      Pat Chapman’s recipe is correct for dry yeast. That is what he uses. I use fresh bakers yeast which is heavier. If using dry yeast, I would use 21g but 15g would also work.

      Thanks
      Dan

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