While staying at the Oberoi Rajvilas, Linda had a cooking lesson with Chef Varun to learn a staple in Indian cooking, Naan bread. Naan, Nan or Khamiri is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in the cuisines in West, Central and South Asia. He explains there are several types of Naan and one he eats daily is called Roti. Roti is made from whole wheat flower as apposed to the all- purpose flower this Naan is being made.
After the ingredients are added and the dough was thrown around a bit by Linda, it needs to be spread. So you take one of Chef’s nifty cushions and stretch before popping it into the oven. And not just any oven, a tandoor! A special oven using wood or charcoal to burn at very high temps.
After about 40-50 seconds in his handy tandoor and about 800 degrees ( yeah, super hot!) we remove and volia, Naan! Not only can you eat Naan plain but, it’s great with garlic, and here in Rajistan a local specialty is adding a bit of Ricotta Cheese. Sky’s the limit on topings.
What makes Chef Varun happiest about cooking for guests at the Oberoi Rajvilas? Seeing guests enjoying the food he’s prepared. “Looking at me and saying the food is very nice. This makes me very happy”.
And really Naan can make anyone happy. If you’d like to try making Naan at home try this recipe. And don’t worry about the tandoor…. use a caste iron skillet. Have fun cooking!
Naan Ingredients :
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling, see Cook’s Note*
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kalonji (nigella seeds), optional, see Cook’s Note**
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, optional, see Cook’s Note**
Melted butter for slathering on the finished naans
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling