- Lifestyle

Tamal Ray’s recipe for Peshwari naan

We didn’t go to Indian restaurants when I was growing up. “Why spend money when we can make it at home?” my mum would say, and fair enough. It wasn’t until university that I had my first experience of a curry house: poppadoms, chutneys and korma all washed down with ice-cold Cobra beer. I was also introduced to the fluffy, sweet joy of Peshwari naan, delicious enough to justify any trip to a restaurant. Years later, I’ve learned to make those at home, too: thriftiness my mum would approve of.

Peshwari naan
I’ve deliberately kept this recipe simple but, if you’d like to add a little spice, try a teaspoon of nigella seeds in the dough, or one and a half teaspoons of crushed fennel seeds in the filling.

Prep 30 min
Rise 4 hr
Cook 10 min
Makes 4

For the dough
350g bread flour
¾ tsp table salt
1½ tsp fast-action dried yeast
180g natural yoghurt
160g milk

For the filling
65g whole, skin-on almonds
50g desiccated coconut
50g light brown sugar
3 pinches salt
85ml double cream
20g butter, at room temperature, plus 30g extra, melted, for brushing
2 tbsp semolina, for dusting

To make the bread dough, stir the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, then add the yoghurt and milk. Dust your hands and a clean surface with a little flour, then knead into a smooth dough. Return to the bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave to rise somewhere draught-free (like an airing cupboard) until it has doubled in volume. This may take a few hours, because the acidic yoghurt can make the yeast sluggish.

Roast the almonds in the heated oven for six to eight minutes, until fragrant and toasted brown. Finely chop with a knife or use a blender to blitz, then decant into a bowl and combine with the remaining filling ingredients until they also form something that resembles a dough.

When the bread dough has risen, set the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6, then divide the dough into four pieces and put them on a worktop lightly dusted with flour. Use your fingers to stretch the dough into rectangles of roughly 12cm x 6cm. Divide the filling into four balls and pat each one flat to about 5cm-diameter discs. Lay one filling disc on one half of a rectangle of dough, then fold over the other half to seal in the filling. Gently press and stretch the dough with your fingertips, working from the middle to the outer edge, until you have stretched the dough out to a round just over 15cm in diameter. Dust two baking sheets with the semolina and lay the dough on top. Repeat for the other three breads (one baking sheet is likely to be big enough for two naan breads).

Put the baking sheets in a large plastic bag and leave to rise again for 20-30 minutes, and turn up the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Just before baking, brush the top of each bread with some melted butter, then bake for 10 minutes, until risen and browned. Remove the breads from the oven and wrap in a clean tea towel, allowing the steam to soften the naan, before serving.

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