Naan or nan or khamiri is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is typical of and popular in West, Central and South Asia.
The most familiar and readily available varieties of naan in Western countries are the South Asian varieties. In Iran, from which the word ultimately originated,nan does not carry any special significance, as it is merely the generic word for any kind of bread. Naan in other parts of South Asia usually refers to a specific kind of thick flatbread. Generally, it resembles pita and, like pita bread, is usually leavened with yeast or with bread starter; unleavened dough is also used. Naan is cooked in a tandoor, from which tandoori cooking takes its name. This distinguishes it from roti, which is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava. Modern recipes sometimes substitute baking powder for the yeast. Milk or yogurt may also be used to impart distinct tastes to the naan. Milk used instead of water will, as it does for ordinary bread, yield a softer dough. Also, when bread starter is used, the milk may undergo modest lactic fermentation.
Typically, it will be served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods, or served stuffed with a filling: for example, keema naan is stuffed with a minced meat mixture (usually lamb or mutton or goat meat); another variation is peshawari naan. Peshawari naan and Kashmiri naan are filled with a mixture of nuts and raisins
; in Pakistan, roghani naan is sprinkled with sesame seeds
; Kulcha is another type. Amritsari naan also called as amritsari kulcha
is stuffed with mashed potatoes, onion (optional) and lots of spices. Possible seasonings in the naan dough include cumin and nigella seeds. The Pakistani dish of balti is usually eaten with a naan, and this has given rise to the huge karack or table naan, easy to share amongst large groups.
A typical naan recipe involves mixing white flour with salt
, a yeast culture, and enough yogurt to make a smooth, elastic dough. The dough is kneaded for a few minutes, then set aside to rise for a few hours. Once risen, the dough is divided into balls (about 100 grams or 3.5 oz each), which are flattened and cooked. In Pakistani cuisine, naans are typically graced with fragrant essences, such as rose, khus, or (vetiver) with butter
melted on them. Nigella seeds are commonly added to naan as cooked in Indian restaurants throughout the UK.
Raisins and spices can be added to the bread to add to the flavour. Naan can also be covered with, or serve as a wrap for, various toppings of meat, vegetables, and/or cheeses. This version is sometimes prepared as fast food. It can also be dipped into such soups as dal, and goes well with sabzis.
Naan bya in Burma is sometimes served at breakfast with tea or coffee. It is round, soft, and blistered, often buttered, or with pè byouk (boiled peas) on top, or dipped in hseiksoup (mutton soup).
The Naan burger is a regular hamburger served on naan bread. The dish is served by KFC in India, and also sold in Canada, and may have originated in Britain where both American and Indian food are popular and available in most markets.
Naan pizza is a type of pizza where naan is used as the crust instead of the traditional pizza dough. Chefs and companies such as Nigella Lawson, Whole Foods and Wegmans offer recipes for people to make their own naan pizza at home.