So…remember how I talked at length in last’s week’s Paleo Paella post about having FINALLY come across a Naan recipe I like? You know, the one where I talked about how it was pillowy, tender, and burnt (in all the good ways)? Or, how I said that I was going to wait until I found a curry recipe that I also liked enough to share with the Naan recipe? Yea…well…I lied. I just couldn’t wait guys! This Naan is just too freakin good!
Seriously…I made it twice last weekend and still had some left from the week before! Now I’m trying new and different curries every week just to have an excuse to eat more Naan!
But that’s totally normal, right? I mean. Don’t get me wrong. The various curries that make up Indian cuisine are the bomb, but let’s not pretend that we scoop as much of the soupy part of the curry on our plates (as opposed to the meat, lentils, or whatever other featured item is in the curry) so that we can have a legit excuse to eat that much more Naan!
I dunno if you guys know this, but there is a 3 or 4-block strip in TO called Little India that has maybe 10-12 all-you-can-eat Indian buffets. Seriously, $12-14, and you get ALL the food and Naan that you want. Sure, there are many good Indian restaurants in TO that charge by the dish, but I honestly find them just as good as the buffets in Little India and 5 times the price (because who only gets two curries when going to an Indian restaurant?! The whole point at that price bracket is to feed yourself for the week! May as well get all the ones that tickle your fancy, no?).
I remember one summer back when I was in undergrad where my then-boyfriend and I would go to Little India AT LEAST once a week. There was one week where we went 3 times, possibly 4. We eventually had to come up with a rule that any time we were at an Indian buffet, we would only go back for thirds (of entrées. I never included the couple of trips I would make to the dessert bar for the Gulab Jamun), and only eat two baskets of Naan between us.
That boyfriend was a 6’3″ Varsity rugby player and body-builder who ate 11 eggs for breakfast every day along with a bowl of cottage cheese, grapefruit, and I don’t even remember what else. (aka he could handle his food). I was/am…well…just about the opposite of all of those things, but I’ve always held my own when I comes to eating.
Even with that rule, we would still end up being so full we would walk 90 minutes to get home in lieu of taking the streetcar. There was just no way we could have sat down again after the Naan expanded in our stomachs. We never regretted it though! Naan is just too freakin good!
I think it was also that same summer that I was home from McGill that I decided my birthday dinner should be a pilgrimage among several of the Indian restaurants to get my favourite dishes from each. One had the Aloo Gobi I liked best, another had the best Butter Chicken, and yet another had the best Gulab Jamun. One had glorious pakoras. Oh yea…and one of them, of course, had the best Naan.
The whole fam piled into the car, and did the whole divide-and-conquer thing among the many restaurants on my list. 20 minutes later, we were back in the car and heading home. Sadly, however, by the time we got home, the Naan was cold. I’m sure that most of you would agree with this, but Naan is kinda like french fries. If not eaten immediately while the butter pools between the bready bubbles, it just isn’t the same, and no amount of toasting can rejuvenate the Naan to it’s former glory. SO things didn’t ENTIRELY work out the way I wanted for that birthday dinner, but we tried, and clearly the memory stuck with me.
Now I can’t even eat in the Indian restaurants (sigh). So, over the years, I’ve done my my best to re-create the wonderful flavours of my favourite Indian dishes in my apartment with certain degrees of success. All of the curries I’ve made have been more than edible, but I’m still searching for that one specific spice combination for most of them that I haven’t yet quite found. I can say now that I’ve figured out how to make da*n good Aloo Gobi, Tamarind Sauce, and I’m working on Samosas. Butter Chicken, my absolute favourite Indian curry, still eludes me. Indeed, as mentioned above, I’m making more this weekend partly so that I can work on the recipe, but also so that I can keep eating Naan! Life could be worse…
I may even get to the point where I use these Naans for burger buns (which my Dad has done with sub-par store-bought Naans for years) or toast! They’re that squishy and tasty!
More to the point, as far as making bread goes, this is a pretty easy recipe. Seriously. 10 minutes of active prep time, some play-doh time, and 20 mins of cooking time, et voilà, Paleo-ish Naan for your enjoyment!
Now, as I mentioned in my Paleo Paella post, I’m not going to even try to pretend that gluten-tolerant Indians with their own tandoor oven would toss their recipe out for this one. BUT I don’t think they would hate it either. AND considering there’s no wheat, milk, or butter in it and there’s definitely no tandoor involved, I’m gonna take these pillowy Naans as a win and eat as many as possible! And I think you should too! Pronto.
Fluffy, and tender Paleo-ish Naan that is easy-to-make, and dairy- and gluten-free! Ding, ding ding! Jackpot!!!!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings
- 1 teaspoon sugar or agave syrup
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1 cup arrowroot starch
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp xantham gum
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- Oil, for greasing the skillet
- Ghee, butter or butter-flavoured coconut oil, melted
- Coarse salt
- Extra arrowroot starch/oat flour, for dusting
- Proof yeast in a mixing bowl by dissolving the sugar in the warm water. Then add the yeast and set aside for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast gets puffy and floats on the water.
- Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl, and whisk until uniformly combined.
- Add the coconut milk and melted oil to the yeast-water and mix on low for ~ 20 seconds.
- Add the dry ingredients 1/3-1/2 cup at a time and mix on low until just combined. You will likely have to stop the mixer every now and again to wipe down the sides of the bowl/make sure everything is mixed together.
- Empty dough onto a counter/working surface sprinkled with arrowroot starch or oat flour and knead a couple more times to form the dough into a ball.
- Place the ball in a bowl and cover for an hour to let rise.
- Once risen, delicately shape the ball into a cylinder and cut into 8 equal slices.
- Dip the slices into more arrowroot starch or oat flour and, using your hands, flatten the slices until ~ 1 cm thick.
- Heat a lightly-greased cast iron pan on medium heat.
- Cook Naan for about 2 min per side, or until golden, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. (I fit 3 Naans in a standard 12″ cast iron pan). Lightly re-grease the pan in between batches.
- Using a paper towel or a pastry brush, brush melted butter/ghee/butter-flavoured coconut oil on the warm Naan. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Inspired by RasaMalaysia’s Naan recipe: http://rasamalaysia.com/naan-recipe/.
- These Naans will keep for a couple of days in a Ziploc bag. They will last up to a week if you place the Ziploc in the fridge, and up to a month in the freezer.
- If you’re not eating all of the Naan right away, I recommend only buttering the ones you are going to eat, and then re-heating (and buttering) the remaining ones as you go. I would put them in the oven for about 3-5 mins at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Toasting them on low would also be an option. If you’re going to toast them, DEFINITELY don’t butter them ahead of time (unless you’re looking for a legit excuse to buy a new toaster).
- The KEY to these Naan, like most other gluten-free breads, is to handle them as little as possible. The more the dough is beaten in the pre-rise phase, the less the dough will rise. Similarly, the flatter the Naans are when you’re forming them, the less air that will be in them when they’re cooked. So, essentially, make sure the dough is uniformly mixed in the first place, and then squish the slices as only much as you need to, and leave it at that. I think it takes me about 30 seconds to flatten each slice. I highly recommend only using your hands/fingers to flatten the slices. A rolling pin would squish too much air out.
In terms of some additional cooking tips and tricks, I would say the following:
- This recipe is Paleo-ish in that I use oats, but otherwise use paleo ingredients. As I’ve mentioned several times between my Chocolate Chip Cookie, Blueberry Oatmeal Waffle and Maple Walnut Granola recipes, that oats, on their own are gluten free. However, they’re often grown beside wheat fields and can be contaminated with gluten. Therefore, if you’re REALLY sensitive to gluten, I would recommend getting certified gluten-free oat flours such as: Only Oats Pure Whole Grain Oat Flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour.
- As I’ve also mentioned in my Blueberry Oatmeal Waffle post, this recipe technically has a little bit of corn starch in it because baking powder also contains corn starch. It’s not enough to give me itch bubbles, but for those who are severely allergic/intolerant to corn should add 1/8 tsp of baking soda to the dry ingredients AND 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar to the wet ingredients before mixing the wet and dry together. This prevents the baking soda and cream of tartar from reacting too early.
- Finally…you may have seen me mention butter-flavoured coconut oil above. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a NEW find for me in the Provigo (a.k.a. supermarket). Nutiva, a brand often found in the healthy food section for culinary lepers, now makes butter-flavoured coconut oil! And I can eat it!!!! Hallelujah! That takes the number of mass-produced products that I can eat up to about 7! I bought a jar a couple of weeks ago and am already half way through it. If you’re interested in giving this stuff a shot, I highly recommend it! (#notsponsored #justsharingthelove).
Ok, that’s about that for this week folks! Per usual, if you have any comments or questions, you can leave them below or shoot me an email!
Ciao for now!