I like rice in all its forms, and enjoy basmati with a curry, but given the choice, I would plump for Indian bread as my curry accompaniment.
Roti, Chapati or Naan, I would choose any of them to go along with my Dopiaza, Dansak or Jalfrezi.
But I do have a soft spot for Naan, as you have the choice of Plain, Keema, and Peshwari and they are all eminently makeable at home.
Once you can make a plain naan bread, you can make the others, which are just stuffed plain naan.
The one I’m concentrating on today is the Peshwari, a plain naan, stuffed with almonds, raisins, coconut and sugar.
And using bread flour and yogurt gives it a soft chewy texture, perfect for mopping up that curry sauce.
This is the one my wife prefers and it is a fantastic foil to a spicy hot curry. Making it at home means you can adjust the sweetness to your taste. Restaurant Peshwari Naan are always too sweet for me or my teeth to take on!
In this recipe, I’ve dialed back on the sugar, which gives bread a more natural sweetness in my opinion.
So next time your’e making a curry, fire up your oven (you don’t need a tandoor) and bake a few Peshwari naan instead of boiling the usual rice.
INGREDIENTS (4 naan)
350g bread flour
1½ tsp instant yeast
¾ tsp salt
160g semi skimmed milk
150g carton of natural yogurt
60g whole almonds (not skinned or blanched)
1 tbs ground almonds
50g desiccated coconut
30g light brown sugar
2 tbsp raisins
20g softened butter
about 1 tbsp yogurt to bind everything together, more if needed
Mix all the naan ingredients together to form a shaggy dough.
Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough looks smooth. The dough may be a bit sticky but sprinkle flour on your hands to prevent this. (see pics below)
Cover the bowl and leave to prove in a warm place (airing cupboard for example) until it has about doubled in size.
This may take 2-3 hours but be patient, the yogurt slows things down but gives a great taste and a soft, tender naan.
Meanwhile, roast the whole almonds in a 200℃/180℃ fan oven for about 10 minutes until they look toasted.
Remove and either chop with a knife into little pieces, or pulse in a mini food processor.
I use a knife as I prefer the irregular knobbly texture this gives you.
Add the nuts to the other filling ingredients in a bowl, and along with some yogurt squidge everything together with your hand to make a round ball. You don’t want it loose and dry so the coconut and raisins etc are falling all over the place. (see pics below)
Put to one side.
Once doubled in size, take the naan dough out of the bowl and place on your lightly floured kitchen surface.
Flatten out slightly and cut into four even pieces. Use your hands to stretch into the classic tear-drop shape, or just roll them out into any shape you want, they will taste the same.
Divide the filling into four and flatten each piece with you hand.
Place a piece of filling on one half of the naan dough and spread out to near the edges. (see pics below)
Fold the other half of the dough over the top of the half spread with filling, and press down around the edges to seal everything in.
Your original shape may have gone a bit skewed, but just try to stretch it out a bit to get it back. It really isn’t a big deal with the shape, its whatever you fancy.
Cover the Peshwari naan and leave to rest for about 30 minutes while you heat the oven to 220℃/200℃ fan, making sure you put a couple of baking trays in there to heat up too.
Brush the tops of the breads with melted ghee or butter and slide onto the hot oven trays using a pizza peel or upturned baking sheet (sprinkled with flour or semolina to prevent sticking), for about 10 -15 minutes, or until puffed up and golden brown with a few dark patches.
Brush again with melted butter or ghee, and leave to cool a bit.
You can keep these warm and soft by wrapping them in foil until needed.