‘Naan’ simply means ‘bread’ in persian but in Central and South Asian countries it refers to a special kind of leavened flat bread which is thick and fluffy like pita bread but softer and with tiny air pockets and baked in clay ovens or tandoors.
‘Roghani’ has two meanings ‘fat’ and ‘red colour’ and in both senses the word is applicable to this particular kind of naan which is brushed with butter or ghee and saffron milk.
The dough of roghani naan is prepared using warm milk and butter which gives it a melt in the mouth softness and delicious richness. No formal meal in Pakistan is complete without roghani naan that can be served with all kinds of curries.
There are many stuffed varieties of naan also available that are served as complete meal; such as Qeema Naan which is stuffed with minced meat filling and Aloo naan that has a spicy potato filling. The Pakistani version of Roghani naan has lots of sesame seeds sprinkled over it which,when toasted in the clay oven, emit a delicious aroma and add another dimension of flavour to the naan.
This is an easy recipe for preparing roghani naan at home on stovetop. All you have to do is plan a few hours or a night before because the dough needs rising.
For Easy Homemade Roghni Naan :
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup melted butter or ghee ( clarified butter)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
A few strands saffron soaked in 2 tablespoons warm milk for an hour.
This Is What You Do :
Add yeast and sugar to warm water and set aside for 10-15 minutes, till there are bubbles on the surface of mixture.
Mix flour, salt and butter in a bowl. Make a hollow in the centre and pour the yeast mix in it, stir the dough to mix all the ingredients.
Pour in milk, a little at a time and mix by hand for 5-7 minutes. The dough shall be sticky and wet.
Cover and leave for several hours or overnight to rise in a moderately warm place till the dough doubles in volume.
Before making naan, punch down the dough, knead again for 2 minutes.
Heat a lightly greased frying pan over medium heat.
Divide the dough into equal portions.
Dust a worktop with flour. Make small balls, flatten them by hand or roll them outwards from the centre, 1/4 inch thick, into 5-6 inch rounds.
Poke all over with your fingers or a fork, leaving 1/2 inch margin all around. This will stop the naan from fluffing up from the middle and will give it many small fluffy air pockets instead.
Brush the top with saffron glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Press down the seeds gently to make them stick to the dough.
Move it to the hot frying pan, sesame seeds side facing upwards. Cook for a few seconds, reduce heat to low and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid so that it gets cooked from inside as well, another minute. The steam in the pan will make it fluff up.
Flip when its golden on one side and cook the other side the same way.
Serve hot with your favourite curry, yogurt or masala chai.
You can cook the naan in the pressure cooker for more clay oven like texture. Invert the pressure cooker, without lid, over medium heat. when its really hot, prepare the naan as before. Wet one side of the naan with your hand and stick that side to the inner wall of the pressure cooker, invert the pressure cooker back on fire. Let it cook for a minute. Remove from the cooker with the help of a pair of tongs. Only use this method if you can handle the very hot pressure cooker with care and confidence.
Tip: you can use nigella seeds, cumin seeds, finely chopped garlic, ginger or even fresh or dried herbs for flavour variation.
Makes 4 small naans