Guest Author - Rachel Schaus
Afghan naan is an important part of daily life in Afghanistan. Recently, I learned how to make Afghan naan with minimal fuss and without having to build a tandoor.
'Course, I may have just used a couple of words you are unfamiliar with. Firstly, "naan" may be spelled like "nan" in other places. It is a Farsi word for "bread." "Tandoor" is the word for the special terracotta oven used for cooking naan and other foods.
The Middle Eastern cultures all have a flat bread, which varies regionally and ethnically. Indian and Pakistani flat bread is very similar, even if the two countries hate to agree on anything. Lebanese flat bread is a wonderfully round large or small flat bread. But what I recently concentrated on was making Afghan naan, typically a long narrow flat bread, made from a whole wheat yeast dough.
In Afghanistan, naan is most often purchased from little naan bakeries scattered throughout all neighborhoods. The price of naan is regulated by the government, currently costing 10Afs/naan (60Afs/1$).
Naan is cooked in a tandoor in the ground, with the flame on the bottom and the naan stuck to the sides of the tandoor. It cooks in seconds on each side and is wonderful when it is freshly hot from the tandoor. The taste of the naan changes within Afghanistan, probably due to the different wheat and starter dough.
So how can you enjoy naan when you no longer live in Afghanistan? I found a great recipe at All Recipes submitted by Mic. He figured out how to use his gas grill to make naan! I've practices it a few times now and highly recommend it. You too can enjoy fresh naan once again.
Ingredients For Afghan Naan
1 (.25 ounce) package active dryyeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10
minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to
make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface,
or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth,
and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in
2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough
about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with
a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked
side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the naan and continue cooking each until all are cooked.