I don’t miss too much from my pre-coeliac days. A few foods here and there that despite my best efforts I can’t replicate at home. Profiteroles (I will make them this year, I will), maltesers (ahh, the sweet, crunchy centres, wrapped in chocolate), gingerbread men (it’s just not the same when you make them, dunno why) and naan. Specifically peshwari naan, all light and fluffy, stuffed with sweetened coconut and raisins and drizzled with honey, all sticky as you tear into it and use it to mop up your curry, Indian food just isn’t the same without it. Now I do realise naan is not strictly necessary when you go for a curry. By the time you have poppadoms (gf because they’re made with lentil or daal flour, but check anyway), curry, a plate of rice plus some chana masala or tarka daal on the side, you’re probably feeling quite full already. But naan just rounds it off nicely. And while I can’t see myself wandering into my local curry house with my freshly-baked naan in hand, it’s still nice to know I *can* make it if I want to.
This recipe for naan is pretty quick and easy; it’s not yeasted but still ends up being very soft and fluffy inside which is how it should be. I made this when I was going to be out all day but wanted something fresh and breadlike with dinner in the evening. It took me all of 5 minutes to pull the dough together, then I left it to sit somewhere warm while I pottered for an hour, then threw it in the fridge all day long. Home in the evening, I simply took it out of the fridge to warm up for an hour or so, and then shaped it and cooked it up in another 5 minutes. Easy, and rather impressive for guests, if I do say so myself. I have no doubt this recipe would work wonderfully with grated coconut, raisins and honey drizzled over the top as well.
170g gluten-free flour blend (50% white rice flour, 30% brown teff flour, 20% tapioca starch)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon oil, plus more for brushing
4 tablespoons yoghurt
4 tablespoons milk, warmed to 40 C
1. In a medium bowl mix together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, salt, coriander and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the oil, yoghurt and milk. Mix together to form a dough. Add a little more milk if necessary; the dough should be quite soft, but not overly sticky. Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave somewhere warm for an hour or so to rise. As the dough isn’t yeasted, it won’t double in size.
2. After about an hour the dough can either be used or transferred to the fridge (I kept mine in the fridge for 6 hours, and then removed it from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to warm it up again).
3. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a high heat and preheat the grill. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 balls and roll these out into circles or typical “tear-shaped” naans, roughly a centimetre thick. Place one naan in the frying pan and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until dark brown on the bottom. Then transfer the naan in the pan to the grill to cook the top for 2-3 minutes, or until the top is light brown and slightly puffed up. Remove the naan from the grill, brush with a little oil, and cover with a tea towel until the other naans are cooked and ready to serve.
Makes 2-3 large naans.