Call off the search! After tasting this incredible Quick Buttermilk Naan, you will never need to try another naan recipe again. Make lip-licking naans that are thin, tender and chewy, with perfectly-puffy blisters, just like in Indian restaurants.
The flavour of these buttermilk naans is slightly tangy and so delicious with a slick of salty butter. Use them to scoop up your favourite curries, or dunk them in daal for a a comforting meal — you won’t believe they aren’t from a restaurant!
How to make restaurant-style naan at home
What would you say if I told you that you can make them without a tandoor, and have them on the table in under 40 minutes? If you love the flavours of sourdough bread, you will go wild for these delicious Indian restaurant-style naans. They’re quick, easy and require no yeast or time for raising. Simply mix the ingredients, knead the dough, rest it for a short time and then roll and cook.
The shape of the naan doesn’t have to be perfect either. In fact, I think that the more rustic and imperfect the edges, the better they look.
What makes this Quick Buttermilk Naan recipe so special?
The revolutionary thing about this naan recipe is the cooking method. You don’t need to switch on the oven or grill. They are made on a tawa on the gas cooker. The only requirement is that the pan is not a non-stick one and the cooker has an open flame. This method won’t work on an electric cooker or induction hob. If you don’t have a traditional Indian tawa, a cast iron frying pan or skillet is ideal.
How to cook naan without a tandoor
Lets face it, a home tandoor is nothing more than a pipe dream for the average Indian home cook, myself included. Luckily, there’s a quick and inexpensive way to give naans a beautifully-blistered surface without a tandoor.
Simply heat up a tawa until smoking hot, wet the surface of the naan with water and place it water-side down on the tawa. It will begin to puff slightly. After 20 seconds, grab the pan handle (wearing a heatproof glove if the pan doesn’t have a wooden handle) and flip it upside down to cook the surface directly over the open flame.
Water is the magic ingredient!
The water you sprinkle on the base ensures the naan remains stuck to the pan so you can turn the pan upside down without it falling off. The surface will begin to char and puff, leaving the naan perfectly cooked in 25-30 seconds.
A note on flavouring naan
This is a basic recipe for plain butter naan. If you would like to flavour your naan, there are lots of delicious options open to you. A popular choice and personal favourite of mine is garlic naan, whereby the cooked naan is brushed with a mixture of melted butter and fried garlic. You can also add chopped coriander leaves to the butter emulsion if you like.
Another option is to make chilli naan, also known as “bullet naan” in many Indian restaurants. To make chilli naan, melt the butter in a pan and add chopped chillies. Allow to sizzle for a moment before using this butter to brush the entire surface of the naan.
Then there’s the world of kulcha or stuffed naan. To make Kulcha, are layer up naan dough like paratha and stuff them with a spicy filling. I will write a separate post on these because the possible variations are extensive and utterly deserve of their own deep dive.
Ingredients you’ll need to make Quick Buttermilk Naan
- Plain flour
- Baking powder
- Any flavourless oil of your choice
Step-by-step: how to make Quick Buttermilk Naan
Time needed: 40 minutes
How to make Easy Buttermilk Naan
- Mix together the dry ingredients
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the wet ingredients
Add the oil and buttermilk to the dry ingredients to form a wet dough.
Give the dough a thorough knead until soft and smooth. This will take 6-8 minutes by hand or 3 minutes in the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. You could also use the mixer setting in a bread machine if you have one. Don’t use a food processor for this.
Cover with a clean, damp tea towel and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. This will help relax the gluten for easier rolling and perfect naan texture.
- Divide the dough and roll
This recipe makes 10 medium-sized naans, emough to feed 4-6 people. Portion the dough out into equal pieces and roll the naan out. It doesn’t have to be round so don’t worry about the shape as long as it fits in your frying pan. I like them looking more rustic so uneven edges are a good thing. You could also roll the naan into an oblong or teardrop shape. The choice is yours. The most important thing is that the surface is of an even thickness so it all cooks evenly. Aim for a diameter of roughly 20 cm, and a thickness of about 1/2 cm.
- Heat the pan
Heat the frying pan or tawa over a medium heat. It should be scorching hot. It’s a good idea to open a window at this point.
- Water is the magic ingredient!
Use your fingers to sprinkle and lightly spread water on the entire surface of the naan.
- Cook the naan
Carefully, using two hands, pick the naan up and place it water-side down on the hot pan. It will sizzle and bubbles will quickly begin to appear on the naan. Allow to cook for 15-20 seconds.
- Flip the pan and cook over an open flame
Using a heatproof glove, grab the pan handle and carefully tip it upside down to cook the uncooked side directly over the open flame. It will take 20-25 seconds to puff up and blister.
- Lift the naan from the pan and keep warm
Remove the naan from the head and use a metal spatula to carefully unstick and lift the naan from the pan. It should come away fairly easily and be nice and charred on the bottom. Wrap it in a dry tea towel to keep warm.
- Cook the remaining naans
In the same way, repeat the steps to roll and cook the remaining naans.
- Cast iron, steel or aluminium frying pan (not a non-stick pan), about 25cm in diameter
- Stand mixer with dough hook attachment (optional, you can also make these by hand)
- 400 g plain flour plus more for rolling out
- 300 ml buttermilk
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder not baking soda
- 100 ml flavourless oil
- 1 tsp kalonji (nigella seeds) optional
- Water for sprinkling on the surface of the naan
- Butter for spreading on the cooked naan melted
For the naan dough:
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and optional kalonji seeds. Give it a quick stir and then add the oil and buttermilk. Mix to form a wet, shaggy dough.
- Now, either by hand or using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer, knead the dough until soft and smooth. This will take 6-7 minutes by hand or 3 minutes in the stand mixer running at medium speed. Cover the dough with a damp cloth or tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
To roll the naan:
- Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and roll into balls.
- Heat the frying pan or tawa over a medium heat. It should be scorching hot. It's a good idea to open a window at this point.
- On a very lightly floured surface, roll one of the dough portions into a round-ish shape. It doesn't have to be perfectly round. You could also roll it into an oblong or teardrop shape. The choice is yours. The most important thing is that the surface is of an even thickness so it all cooks evenly. Aim for a thickness of about 1/2 cm.
- Use your fingers to sprinkle and lightly spread water on the entire surface of the naan. Be gentle, you don't want to tear the naan or rub it in.
To cook the naan:
- Carefully, using two hands, pick the naan up and place it water-side down on the hot pan. It will sizzle and bubbles will quickly begin to appear on the naan. Allow to cook for 15-20 seconds.
- Using a heatproof glove, grab the pan handle and carefully tip it upside down to cook the uncooked side directly over the open flame. It will take 20-25 seconds to puff up and blister.
- Remove the naan from the head and use a metal spatula to carefully unstick and lift the naan from the pan. It should come away fairly easily and be nice and charred on the bottom. Wrap it in a dry tea towel to keep warm while you roll and cook the rest of the naans. Keep them together, wrapped in the tea towel until you're ready to serve.
- Brush the naans with melted butter before serving.
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If you like these, you will love this recipe for Soft Spinach Roti (Chapati).