The vision is enough. Of a fresh, hot, crisp naan slathered generously with melting globules of butter as it hops off the tandoor onto your plate with its generic companion—the lissome butter chicken. Admittedly, each time you gobbled the soft, airy naan speckled with golden brown dots, you simultaneously squashed niggling guilt pangs of scoffing your diet. Not anymore. Because there is something known as healthy naan. There are hacks to rev up the nutrient sweepstakes of your favourite bread.
FOB THE YEAST
For all the naan addicts who thought that the Indian bread could only come yeast bellied, rejoice. There are ways of shunning the unwanted inclusion by bringing in simple ingredients from the kitchen. Chef Sareen Madhiyan, of Tappa, Mumbai, says, “Naan can be made without yeast using baking powder, soda, milk, eggs and yoghurt.
You can make a naan using only whole wheat; or a mix of whole wheat and soy flour.” But does the naan achieve its signature softness without the inclusion of yeast—the primary leavening agent? “Yes, yoghurt is a very good alternative to prop-up the texture of the bread,” says Sareen. “The natural probiotics that are present in yoghurt help in the fermentation of dough. This is essential for making it softer. Another secret addition is a spot of warm milk while kneading the dough to soften the texture of the naan further,” he adds.
A perfect accompaniment to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries, the naan was a staple in the thaals served to the Mughal emperors of yore. Perfected in tandoors by the Afghans and Turks, it slowly found its way to the royal kitchens of the nawabs in India during the days of the Mughal empire.
Shilpi Madan for New Indian Express