The Continuing Evolution of Naan

A Short History About Naan

Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in Central and South Asian cuisines. Nan or non is a Persian word, and the bread is Iranian in origin but the term ‘naan’ is spoken of in those parts of Asia as the English spelling of this flatbread in early 19th century.

In Iran, naan is just any kind of bread, while In South Asia the naan is a specific kind of a thick flatbread (another well-known kind of flatbread is chapati). In western countries today, the naan they are used to are from the South Asian varieties. It typically consists of dry yeast, all-purpose flour, warm water, sugar, salt ghee and yogurt.

Just like pita, naan is leavened (with yeast) or unleavened. It is cooked in a tandoor, a clay oven, from which tandoori cooking takes its name. This distinguishes it from roti, which is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava. Typically, it is served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods or served stuffed with a filling.

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