Shockingly Easy Homemade Naan-ish Flatbread!
Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Remember dinner parties? Me neither… I’ve been sheltering in place so long I can’t remember what it’s like to be a normal person who shakes hands with other people and allows house guests. But from what I remember about dinner parties, the rule of thumb is that you’re not supposed to serve recipes you’ve never made before. But who has time in their every day life to do tons of recipe testing?! Well… our everyday lives have recently changed and we now have quite a bit of time at home to do some recipe testing, and some dreaming about all the fun dinner parties we’ll throw when we’re allowed to be friends with our friends again. So here’s a recipe that I think is dinner party perfect!
In my humble opinion, the best dinner party recipes are 1) really delicious, 2) reheat well and 3) appear to be way more complicated than they actually are. Everyone wants to impress their friends without putting in hours of work right?! That’s where flat bread comes in. Most people aren’t baking bread at home (well, before March 2020 they weren’t) so homemade bread recipes really tend impress! Your friends will say “What – you made the bread?! That’s amazing!” They don’t need to know that you only spent around 25 minutes of active time.
You can make these flatbreads a day in advance and then pop them in a warm oven to reheat for just a few minutes, and blow everyone’s socks off when they hit the table. They can also spend some time on the grill if you’ve got an outdoor dining thing happening, or you can quickly cook them off in a cast iron pan or griddle directly before serving the meal, pretty easy if your main dish is roasting in the oven (maybe a tagine – amazing!).
So now you might be questioning – so is something as incredible as naan really that easy to make at home? Well I can assure you that it is shockingly easy to get DELICIOUS naan-like flatbread at home. I’m saying naan-like because when I was researching recipes, the proofing time for naan was from 3-5 hours, so I assume any recipe with a shorter proofing time shouldn't claim to be naan. But I'm no naan expert so maybe proofing time isn't the biggest deal. Anyway, I was not so interested in a 3-5 hour proof, so I shifted my search to recipes that had similar ingredients to naan (basically flatbreads that included yogurt) to see what kind of proof time they were working with. I found some promising contenders and started to get the picture of how this recipe comes together.
So after my bit of research I thought I would try to mix it up and see if a whole-wheat version would work using the no-knead method I saw across a few recipes. I also wanted to see how adding some herb and garlic would work out, since at Indian restaurants the garlic naan is always my jam. It seems to me that in a restaurant context, they’re grilling the bread in their amazing oven and then swiping it with a buttery garlic/cilantro mixture and then giving it one more minute in the hot oven to get the garlic slightly crispy. Since I only have a stovetop, I have to fold my garlic in so that I don’t burn it in the pan. The results were a crispy chewy naan-like flatbread that doesn’t feel like a compromise in anyway way and was actually kind of hard to stop eating it.
So outside of impressing everyone at your dinner party, this is just a really easy bread to have on hand for quick or special meals. They accommodate a mezze plate with hummus, cheese and raw veggies beautifully. They’ll go fantastic with any kind of egg, and will be a beautiful addition to soup, South Asian curries and Middle Eastern stews or tagines. I can also imagine these with grilled meat and vegetables a la at home kebab! It’s bread, so the possibilities are endless!