Recipes for naan and ghee, by food writer Nik Sharma
Food writer Nik Sharma, curator of the award-winning food blog A Brown Table, shares 100 delicious and intriguing Indian recipes with an American twist in his debut book, which Nigella Lawson has praised as “inspiring and infused with an enlivening and generous sensibility”.
Makes 4 flatbreads
120ml whole milk, heated to 41 to 46°C
1 large egg
2 tbsp plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp active dry yeast
280g all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling out the naans
Using a fork, whisk the milk, egg, yogurt, butter, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be bubbly on the surface.
Put the flour in a large bowl or mound on a clean work surface and make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture into the middle of the well. Using clean hands or a large wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour from the inside wall of the well into the liquid to form a sticky dough. Knead well for 4 to 5 minutes.
Fold the dough by grabbing it from the underside and stretching it and folding it back over itself. Rotate a quarter of a turn and repeat three or four times. Brush a large bowl with a little oil and put the dough in the bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a dark, warm place until doubled in size, about 4 hours.
Divide the dough into four equal parts and shape into balls. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll out the balls of dough, one at a time, into circles about 4mm thick and about 15cm in diameter.
To cook the naan, heat a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Slap a circle of dough into the hot skillet and cover the pan to trap the steam. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flip the dough, and turn the heat to low. Cook, covered, until the naan blisters, with a few big bubbles, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining three circles of dough.
Makes approximately 250g
455g unsalted butter, cubed
Line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place over a clean, dry 480ml jar with a tight-fitting lid to hold the finished ghee. Set aside.
In a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally with a large metal spoon. As the butter starts to melt, skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface.
Cook until all the water in the butter boils off, and the fat stops sizzling and turns a deep golden yellow. The milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan will be reddish brown. The entire process should take 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully pour the liquid through the cheesecloth-lined strainer into the jar. Seal the jar and store the ghee in a cool, dark place for up to three months, or indefinitely in the refrigerator.
* Extracted from Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food by Nik Sharma, published by Chronicle Books, £26.
Photography by Nik Sharma