Grilled Naan

Native to India, this chewy, crusty flatbread made with yogurt is traditionally baked on the side of a tandoor, a vertical oven that will often reach 900°F. While few of us can claim a home tandoor, a tasty Americanized version of naan can be cooked on a barbecue grill or in a cast iron pan atop your stove's burner. Enjoy naan brushed with melted butter or ghee or topped with chutney; it's also a fine bread to serve alongside a South Asian-style meal, or to dip in soup.

Prep
30 mins
Total
5 hrs 30 mins
Yield
8 flatbreads, about 6 1/2" x 4" each
Grilled Naan

Instructions

  1. To make the sponge: Mix the sponge ingredients together in a mixing bowl, and set it aside for 4 hours (or up to about 16 hours), until the mixture is bubbly and has a nice aroma.

  2. To make the dough: Add the dough ingredients to the sponge, and mix and knead to make a smooth, soft (but not sticky) dough. Adjust its consistency with additional flour or water, if necessary.

  3. Divide the dough into 8 balls (106g each, about 2 1/4", the size of a tennis ball). Let them rest, covered, for a half hour in the refrigerator.

  4. Stretch each ball into an oval shape a scant 1/4" thick.

  5. To grill the naan: Heat your grill on high; make sure it gets good and hot. Brush one side of the flatbread with oil and lay it, oiled side down, on the grill grate. Close the grill lid (if your grill has a lid). After 1 minute, pick up the bread with a spatula, turn it 45°, and put it back down to cook for another minute; it'll start to puff up a bit. Oil the top side, then turn it over, cover the grill or pan, and cook for 2 minutes to finish. Remove the naan from the heat. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

  6. To cook naan on the stovetop: Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Brush one side of the naan with oil, and lay it into the pan. Cover the cooking bread with a pot lid; start checking after 1 minute; the bottom should be turning golden brown. If not, give it more time. Oil the top side, turn it over, and cook for an additional couple of minutes or so, until brown and cooked all the way through. Remove the naan from the heat. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

  7. To serve, brush the naan with melted butter or ghee, and season it with salt and pepper while it's still hot. Stack the breads to keep them soft.

  8. Store naan, well-wrapped, on the counter for two days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • If you'd prefer to bake the naan, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or directly on a baking stone), and bake them on the bottom rack of a preheated 450°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until they're puffed and golden.