The best stovetop garlic and herb naan

Soft, chewy and just slightly crisp around the edges, this is as close to restaurant-style naan as you can get at home. 

If you’ve never experienced the joy of making, baking and eating your own homemade bread, I assure you that this is one of the few things that should absolutely be on your cooking bucket list.

For me (as for many, I’m sure), there’s something totally meditative about kneading dough. I fall into a little zen-like experience anytime I’m working to transform a set of dry ingredients into a soft, supple ball of edible goodness. Then there’s the baking part. The smell of fresh bread fills up the entire home and lingers just long enough to make it feel cozy and welcoming for the day.

Naan, a doughy, soft flatbread with slightly crisp edges, is a relatively easy bread to get you started. While many in India would argue that you have to aggressively slap the dough against a hot oven or a restaurant-style tandoor to make true, delicious naan, this skillet-top method yielded incredible results the first time I tried it. I was even bold enough to make it for my husband’s relatives (who visited from India earlier this month), and they couldn’t stop raving about it. Seriously, it’s that good. And coming from someone who doesn’t bake on the regular, it’s honestly that easy.

I developed the recipe after watching several long youtube videos of homemade and restaurant-style naan. I pieced together what I though sounded like the best ingredients and had a few rounds of trial and error with the quantities and cooking methods. I tried it in the oven and on the stovetop. And stovetop was by far the winner in terms of texture. Then I made a video with a friend so that something a lil' better was out there on the internet.

Make one and eat it with some curry. Make two and top them with fresh ingredients for a little flatbread lunch. The possibilities are endless.

 Spring naan flatbread
 Spring naan flatbread

COOKING NOTES

This dough needs to rise in a warm place for about 2 to 3 hours, so plan accordingly. When making the dough, have a little extra milk or water on hand in case the dough is too dry. It should be soft and just slightly sticky. If you don’t want to make all 8 to 10 flatbreads at one time, the dough balls will keep in the fridge for 2 days. The consistency won’t be as fluffy and light, but it will still taste delicious!

PREP TIME: 15 minutes (plus 3 hours rise time) COOK TIME: 10 minutes TOTAL TIME: 3 hours, 35 mins

MAKES 8-10 NAAN

INGREDIENTS

¾ cup milk, warmed
¼ ounce (1 packet) active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 garlic cloves, minced
Small bunch parsley, chopped
Small bunch cilantro, chopped
Small bunch tarragon, chopped
1-2 teaspoons olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, mix the milk and yeast and stir to combine. Set aside to activate the yeast, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder. Make a well in the center and add the sugar, salt, egg, 1 tablespoon of the butter and half of the garlic and herbs. Add the yeast mixture. Mix with a fork until the ingredients start coming together.
  3. Using your hands, knead the mixture, adding a sprinkle of oil, until a soft dough forms. It should be soft and just slightly sticky. Add more milk or a little water if it seems too dry.
  4. Oil another mixing bowl. Place the dough ball inside, cover with a little oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel.  Let rest in a warm place until it doubles in size, 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Punch down the dough, knead it briefly and divide it into 8 portions.
  6. On a floured surface, roll or stretch out the dough into small circles. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with a little salt and top with the remaining garlic and herbs.
  7. Warm a cast-iron or nonstick skillet on high heat. Place the dough circles one at a time on the skillet and let cook until it starts bubbling on top and is just browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is just browned and crisp, about 1 minute.  
  8. Remove from the heat and cook the remaining dough circles. Serve hot.