I had almost given up on my quest for vegan naan. Why do all the ones in supermarkets have yoghurt in? Is that really necessary? After being disappointed in the one I can get from my local Asian shop – Golden Spike and Sun got nothing on Leicester Bakery, in my books – I resolved I’d have to make my own.
Inspired by a recent visit to my Pakistani friend in London, where she fed me delicious aloo chole (potato and chickpea curry), I decided that the time was now.
Grabbing the biggest frying pan I could find (I don’t have the traditional tawa, because I am not actually Asian), I set to work. Original naan recipe here.
The bad news is you have to rise and prove the dough. The good news is that once this is done, you can freeze the dough balls, so all you gotta do is defrost, shape and fry.
Vegan Naan – makes 8 naan
- 120ml warm water
- 2 tsp water
- 7g/1 sachet yeast – fast action is good
- 480-600g bread flour (start with less, add more if the dough is too sticky)
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 60ml sunflower/vegetable oil
- 200ml plain vegan yoghurt, such as Alpro, room temperature
- 1 tsp oil to cook
- Kalonji/black onion seeds to sprinkle
To make the dough:
- Put sugar in a large mixing bowl, pour the warm water on top, and stir. Sprinkle yeast onto the mixture and leave for about ten mins in a warm place. It should be sorta frothy, but don’t worry too much if it’s not.
- Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and soda in another bowl.
- Add about 400g flour, 3 tbsp oil and the yoghurt alternative to the yeasty water. Mix that well to combine.
- Add the rest of the flour and stir to make a dough.
- Once it’s looking like dough, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Add more flour if it keeps sticking to your fingers.
- Put this back in a bowl, put clingfilm or a teatowel over the top and leave to rise in a warm place for 1.5 hours. It should double in size, but if it doesn’t quite, don’t worry – it’ll fluff up when you cook it.
- After this time has elapsed, punch the dough just once to remove excess air. Knead it a little bit more on a floured surface.
- Divide into 8 equal pieces and roll these pieces into a ball. Place on a lined baking tray, spaced evenly apart.
- Cover with a tea towel/clingfilm and leave to rise for another half an hour. NOTE: After this is done, you can freeze the balls for later, or use immediately. If you do freeze, get them out a few hours before you intend to use them so you can shape them later.
- Flatten each dough ball and using a rolling pin, roll into 8 oval shapes, though don’t be too heavy on it as you don’t want to knock all the air out!
- Brush the top of each naan with water, lightly sprinkle some kalonji seeds on top, and spray some oil on top.
- Heat a big ass frying pan on your hob evenly over a medium heat.
- After a minute or so, it should be ready.
- Place your naan dough on the pan, kalonji-seeds-up.
- Cook for a couple of minutes until it really puffs up.
- Flip and cook for another minute before serving. There should be a few dark brown spots on there, so keep checking the underside.
- You can spread vegan butter and garlic on it if you want, but they taste just as good on their own!
Right about now, you should be getting a mad craving for something spicy to eat your naan with. Anaab (my Pakistani friend) wouldn’t give me her recipe, because (and I quote) “I just chuck whatever in there”. Helpful, Anaab, helpful…
Fear not, I have come with the perfect recipe, which I stole from here. Just don’t do what I did and accidentally add Thai spice mix instead of chilli powder.
75g frozen diced onion (I’m lazy, and also hate onion)
1 small potato, chopped into teeny tiny cubes
1 can chickpeas
1 tomato, chopped into wee bits
Some oil for frying
1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste (or actual fresh garlic and ginger, if you’re fancy)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp kalonji seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder – come on guys, don’t be a wimp
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt
60ml warm water
1 tsp coriander leaves
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp vegan yoghurt (optional)
1 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
- Pre-boil your potato for 15 minutes. Nobody likes a hard potato.
- Chop potato and tomato.
- In a fairly big, non-stick pot, fry the fuck out of the onion, until they’re golden brown.
- Add your ginger and garlic paste, probably turn down the heat at this point too otherwise shit will burrrrrn.
- Add cumin and kalonji seeds and cook for a minute, until they start spluttering and the smell is released.
- Stir in turmeric and ‘tatoes.
- Add the remaining spices/pastes – or as Anaab says, “chuck whatever in” – and fry for another minute.
- Add the water and tomato, then cook until the liquid is reduced.
- Add vegan yoghurt for a creamy texture.
- Drain your chickpeas and stir them in as well. If you’re into vegan baking, keep the chickpea water for another time, as it’s a good egg substitute.
- Put a lid on your pot and simmer for 5-8 minutes, making sure it doesn’t boil dry. Add water if it’s looking that way.
- Once your potatoes are done – pierce them to make sure you don’t get a nasty surprise – add the lemon juice and coriander leaf, stir, and serve.
- Enjoy with the naan you’ve just made. Well done you.