Naan
Alternative namesNan, Noon, Paan, Faan
Region or stateIran, Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Caribbean
Main ingredientsFlour, yeast, salt, sugar, ghee, water

Naan is a leavened, oven-baked (usually using a tandoor) or tawa-fried flatbread. It is characterized by its light and slightly fluffy texture and golden-brown spots from the baking process. [1] Naan is found in the cuisines mainly of Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Caribbean.[2][3][4]

Primarily composed of white or wheat flour combined with a leavening agent, typically yeast, naan dough develops air pockets that contribute to its fluffy and soft texture. Additional ingredients for crafting naan include warm water, salt, ghee (clarified butter), and yogurt, with optional additions like milk, egg, or honey. Sometimes, baking powder or baking soda is used instead of yeast to reduce the preparation time for the bread.

In the traditional baking process inside a tandoor, naan dough is rolled into balls, flattened, and then pressed against the tandoor's inner walls, which can reach temperatures up to 480 °C (900 °F). This method allows the bread to be baked within minutes, achieving a spotty browning due to the intense heat. Alternatively, naan can be prepared on a stovetop using a flat pan known as a tawa. The pan may be flipped upside down over the flame to achieve the characteristic browning of the bread's surface.

Once baked naan is typically coated with ghee or butter and served warm. This soft and pliable bread frequently accompanies meals, replacing utensils for scooping up dahls, sauces, stews, and curries, or is enjoyed with dryer dishes like tandoori chicken. [5]

Etymology

A Naan Bakery in Iran, Qajar era (circa 1850 CE)

The term "naan" comes from Persian nân (Persian: نان), a generic word for any kind of bread. This word was borrowed into a range of languages in the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia, where it came to refer to a specific type of bread. The term then spread around the globe along with the style of bread itself.[citation needed]

The earliest known English use of the term occurs in an 1803 travelogue written by William Tooke.[6] While Tooke and other early sources spell it "nan", the spelling naan has become predominant since the late 1970s.[7][8] [9]

Varieties

South Asia

The most familiar and readily available varieties of naan in Western countries are those from South Asia. Naan spread to the Indian subcontinent during the Islamic Delhi Sultanate period. The earliest mention of naan in the region comes from the memoirs of Indo-Persian Sufi poet Amir Khusrau living in India during the 1300s AD. Amir Khusrau mentions two kinds of naan eaten by Muslim nobles; Naan-e-Tunuk and Naan-e-Tanuri. Naan-e-Tunuk was a light or thin bread, while Naan-e-Tanuri was a heavy bread and was baked in the tandoor.[10] During India’s Mughal era in the 1520s, Naan was a delicacy that only nobles and royal families enjoyed because the art of making Naan was a revered skill, known by few and the lengthy process of making leavened bread. The Ain-i-Akbari, a written record of the third Mughal emperor’s reign, also mentions naan and it was eaten with kebabs or kheema (spiced minced meat) in it. By the 1700s naan had reached the masses in Mughal cultural centers in South Asia.[11]

Indonesia

In Indonesia, naan is popular in Indian Indonesian and Arab Indonesian communities as well as in Malay, Acehnese and Minangkabau communities–with other variants of roti like roti canai. This dish is usually locally known as roti naan or roti nan and cooked using Indonesian spices, such as garlic with a local taste.[12]

Myanmar

Naan bya (Burmese: နံပြား) in Myanmar is traditionally served at teahouses with tea or coffee as a breakfast item.[13] It is round, soft, and blistered, often buttered, or with creamy pè byouk (boiled chickpeas) cooked with onions spread on top, or dipped with Burmese curry.[13]

External image
image icon A slideshow of Hyderabadi Kulcha / Naan / Sheermaal preparation images. Published on Flickr, retrieved 2023-02-06

China

The Jingzhou style of guokui, a flatbread prepared inside a cylindrical charcoal oven much like a tandoor, has been described as "Chinese naan".[14] It is also an integral part of Uyghur cuisine and is known in Chinese as 馕 (náng).[15][16]

Japan

After being promoted by Kandagawa Sekizai Shoukou in 1968, which is now the sole domestic manufacturer of tandoors, naan is now widely available in Indian-style curry restaurants in Japan, where naan is typically free-flow. Some restaurants bake ingredients such as cheese, garlic, onions, and potatoes into the naan, or cover it with toppings like a pizza.[17][18][19]

Elsewhere

In 1799, the word naan was introduced into the English language by historian and clergyman William Tooke. Today, naan can be found worldwide in restaurants serving South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, and it is available in many supermarkets. Fusion cuisine has introduced new dishes that incorporate naan, including naan pizza and naan tacos and even huevos rancheros (an egg dish) served over naan. Naan pizza is a type of pizza where naan is used as the crust instead of the traditional pizza dough. Chefs such as Nigella Lawson,[20] and supermarkets such as Wegmans[21] offer recipes for people to make their own naan pizza at home, though it is certainly not traditional.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads By Bernard Clayton Jr., Donnie A Cameron. Simon and Schuster. 1987. ISBN 9780671602222.
  2. ^ Qmin by Anil Ashokan, Greg Elms
  3. ^ The Science of Cooking, Peter Barham, Springer: 2001. ISBN 978-3-540-67466-5. p. 118.
  4. ^ The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger
  5. ^ https://www.britannica.com/topic/naan
  6. ^ Russia, or a Complete Historical Account of all the Nations which compose that Empire, London, p. 168: "The most common dishes are onoschi, or vermicelli; plav, or boiled rice; nan, pancakes, and the meats which the law permits." (referring to the eating habits of the central Turks). Other attestations in English can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. naan.
  7. ^ "Home : Oxford English" Dictionary". oed.com. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  8. ^ Milton Glaser and Jerome Snyder. "Delhi Delights", New York Magazine, August 11, 1975, p. 73
  9. ^ "Definition of NAAN". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  10. ^ "History of Naan". Times of India. 11 June 2020.
  11. ^ Dash, MadhulIka (2015). "Breaking Bread" (PDF). No. May–June. Forbes life india. Forbes.
  12. ^ "Baking with Eda: 'Naan' Indonesian Flatbread".
  13. ^ a b "Eating in Burma". Travelfish. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  14. ^ "This 1,000-Year-Old Chinese 'Naan' Was Once Cooked in a Hat, and It's Yummy".
  15. ^ "Uighur Nan with Cumin and Onion Recipe".
  16. ^ "Have You Ever Seen Uyghur Bazaar Naan? It's So Fluffy and Delicious | TRP".
  17. ^ "【近ごろ都に流行るもの】「カレーにナン」本場インド以上に普及・巨大化". 27 July 2018.
  18. ^ "インド人が驚く日本の「ナン」独自すぎる進化 | 食べれば世界がわかる!カレー経済圏". 6 May 2019.
  19. ^ "日本のインド料理店のナンが大きい理由 | 雑学ネタ帳".
  20. ^ Nigella. "NAAN PIZZA - Recipes - Nigella Lawson". nigella.com. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  21. ^ "Recipes - Wegmans". wegmans.com. Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2015.