This is at #1 position on Foodbuzz Top 9 today (26thMay, 2012). Thanks, Foodbuzz friends, for buzzing.
Recently, I wrote on my official Facebook page that I was going to make some Indian naan breads this week. I got a reply from one of my FB followers to share a recipe of gluten-free naan instead. And that’s how these beautiful naans came into being. Of course, there are quite a few gluten-free versions of naan flowing around in the blogosphere, but I took it a challenge to follow my instincts and my own measurements while making my own set of gluten-free naans. Contrary to what is generally done with gluten-free naan recipes, I do not prefer adding xanthan gum to this recipe. I also usually avoid adding too much of cornstarch in my recipes, especially because these do not benefit the body as these lack fibre, just like refined flour.
All the ingredients should be at room temperature, especially the yogurt. This gluten-free dough for naan should be used immediately since it tends to harden and become brittle with time. But, if you want to make the naan after a few hours of making the dough, please make the dough extra moist (but not soggy) by adding a little extra water, which after sometime, will be absorbed into the dough and will keep it soft for a few hours in the refrigerator. Naans are traditionally made in tandoors: traditional Indian ovens. But, today, we can also make it conveniently in an oven or better still, on stovetop itself!
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye flour, and its products (such as wholewheat flour and all-purpose flour). Some people are allergic to gluten. Some others, suffering from Celiac disease, have to rule out gluten products from their diet completely. A gluten-free diet doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll miss eating pizzas, cakes, breads and naans. There are ways to make changes in the recipes and make them as tasty as these always were!
[The main ingredient in my gluten-free naans is water chestnut flour. This flour is called singhare ka atta in India and is eaten by Hindu ladies on festive occasions or fasts, in place of a gluten diet. It is also an important ingredient in traditional Chinese cooking.]
Gluten-Free Naan: thinking beyond wheat…
I have used this paste as a binder for my gluten-free dough, instead of the commercial and popular xanthan gum.
- Water chestnut flour: 2.5 cups
- Roasted gram flour or besan: ½ cup
- Soaked sago or tapioca (sabudana): ¼ cup
- Homemade unsweetened yogurt (or Nestlé yogurt): 3 tbsp
- Baking powder: ½ tsp
- Baking soda: ¼ tsp
- Cream of Tartar: ½ tsp
- Instant oats: 1 tbsp
- Boiled and mashed potato (big): ½
- Salt: ½ tsp
- Sugar: ¼ tsp
- Onion seeds (kalonji, kalo jeera or mangrel) or thinly flaked garlic: approx. 1 tsp/li>
- Butter: for smearing on the cooked naans
Mix the water chestnut flour with the yogurt until the mixture is creamy and smooth (takes just two minutes). Then add the strained paste of the sago, which was soaked for 1 hour in ¼ cup water. Add the gram flour, salt and sugar and mix the ingredients first with the spoon and then with hand till you get something like this:
Keep on kneading and soon this will look like this:
Mix the mashed potato with oats and keep this for 20 min. Now add the potato, cream of tartar and oats to the blender until smooth and sticky. This will help in binding, because otherwise the dough will become brittle. Add this to the dough. Also add the baking powder and baking soda at this stage and knead the dough for good 10 min. (If at this stage, you find the dough difficult to handle due to its stickiness, just add more water chestnut flour until the dough leaves from the hand easily. If the dough feels too dry, add a little water.)
Please remember that the dough should be on the moist side rather than being on the dry side, to prevent the naans to break up during rolling. In due course of time, this dough absorbs water and tends to become drier, so always keep the dough covered and if it looks dry, re-knead with wet hands.
Make equal and medium-sized balls. Cover. Take one ball at a time. Flatten a bit and reseal any cracks developing at this stage, using your fingers. Dust with a little finely ground water chestnut flour. Start rolling the dough very carefully and slowly. Taking care to seal the cracks (if developed) in the dough with the help of your fingers, roll the naan bigger.
Flip it (use a flat and thin spoon to do so) and again start rolling. You have to flip and roll continuously, taking care that the naan should not stick to the rolling surface. The naan should not be very thick, not too thin. The size should be atleast the double of your palm. Sprinkle a few onion seeds (alternatively, use thinly flaked garlic) and roll a little more.
The shape should be an elongated oval. Slowly transfer the naan to a very hot non-stick pan and reduce the flame. Let this cook for 5 min on each side, over the low flame.
Now increase the flame so that the naan has nice brownish marks. Remove and smear ¼ tsp butter on each naan at both sides. Serve immediately with your choice of curry or raita (yogurt).
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