I cannot explain how much I love Indian food. I eat it on a very regular basis. Weekly, actually. Luckily, my boyfriend shares my enthusiasm, so it’s very easy to decide on Indian when we want something tasty for the weekend. We’ve both developed great skills, if I may say so, in preparing Indian food at home. Practise makes perfect I guess! But there is one thing that’s been missing in our very private Indian restaurant. And that is naan. When we go out to eat Indian, like most other people, we order naan. But not the plain kind. No, no, no. The peshawari kind, also known as sweet naan. It’s like regular naan bread, but with a sweet filling of raisins, nuts and sugar.
If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to! Next time swap the regular naan for some peshawari goodness. That sweet taste goes so well together with the spicy Indian dishes. I cannot recall exactly how I discovered it, or when or how the transmission from plain naan to peshawari went, but I guess I read about it. And since I like all things sweet, I imagined this would be delicious, and quite right, this is seriously good. And ever since I took my first bite into peshawari naan, there was no going back. Naan would never be the same. From now on naan to me equals peshawari naan.
But at home, we can’t order naan. And I’ve always thought of it as too much work, though I’ve been wanting to make it for years. So until now, naan has been replaced with garlic bread. If I only knew how ridiculously easy it would be to make naan, (I thought I would need a spesific oven, maybe some strange flour and it took me quite a while to figure out that the mystery filling in sweet naan was actually things as common as raisins and nuts) I would have started a long time ago. But better late then never. My new year’s resolution works! (I marked several recipes I’ve been meaning to try – naan beeing one of them)
It was so good – the texture was just right, and the filling….. Ohhh my. From now on, there will always be peshawari naan in this household. Ready for any Indian dinner!
I found a recipe from my beloved book The Complete Book of Indian Cooking by Veronica Sperling. Probably one of my favourite cookbooks. I also used it for the lamb pasanda I made. But the recipe said not to fill the naans, but that’s what I wanted, so I found a recipe on BBC by Anjum Anand as well. So my naans were something in between, I guess. I used almonds instead of pistachios for instance. Here’s the BBC recipe:
250g/8¾oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
110-130ml/4½fl oz milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
30g/1oz flaked almonds
1 tbsp butter, melted, for serving
70g/2½oz pistachios, shells removed (or almonds)
1½ tsp caster sugar
Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Mix the milk and oil together in a separate bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients.
Slowly mix together the dough by working from the centre and incorporating the flour from the edges of the well until you have a smooth, soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for at least an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Then knock back and form into five equal-sized balls.
For the filling, pulse together the pistachios, raisins and sugar in a food processor until the mixture forms a coarse powder. Divide into five equal portions.
Preheat the grill to its highest setting and place a heavy baking sheet on the top shelf to heat.
Roll out each of the five portions of dough balls into thick circles. Fill half of each circle with one portion of the filling leaving about a one-inch margin around the edge. Wet the dough around the edges with a little water and fold each circle in half to enclose the filling. Pinch the dough around the edges to close.
Gently roll out each naan into a teardrop or oval shape. Prick with a fork and place the naan on the hot baking sheet and grill for about 1-2 minutes until there are nice brown spots on the surface. Brush with the melted butter and serve hot.