Cooking Through Cultures: Pakistani Naan Bread

June 2, 2017 Comments Off on Cooking Through Cultures: Pakistani Naan Bread

Both of my older girls participate in (separate) mother-daughter book clubs with a small group of friends. We love these book clubs for several reasons including the community we’ve created around books, that it challenges the girls (and the mothers) to read new and interesting stories picked by themselves or their friends, and that it expands their world view in a most beautiful way – without having to physically travel the globe!

Most recently, my 8-year-old’s group read the Young Readers Edition of I Am Malala and while it was certainly difficult content (I read the second half of the book aloud with her so that she could ask questions) it was amazing to hear the girls talk about ways they could relate to Malala and her friends while also trying to grasp the concepts of girls not being able to go to school and Malala getting shot. I love that these book clubs open up an honest and thoughtful discussion among young girls around different places, characters or perspectives.

All of our book club meetings have some focus on food. We always try to bring snacks that relate to the book in some way – and for I Am Malala – we scheduled the discussion around lunch and decided each family would bring Pakistani or Middle Eastern food for the girls to try. We had a variety of foods – from Pakistani candy to Indian samosas to lemon tarts. I recruited my bread–baker husband to make homemade Naan bread with me and my 8-year-old. Traditionally, Pakistani Naan is cooked in a tandoor but we used a cast iron skillet, which worked out perfectly. You could also cook these on a grill. It was simple and delicious – and provided a little taste into Malala’s home country.

Here is the recipe we used found from RasaMalaysia:

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 oz active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups bread flour (the original recipe calls for all-purpose, but we recommend bread flour)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon oil
Some oil, for greasing the skillet
3 tablespoons melted salted butter

Directions:

In a small bowl, add the sugar, warm water, and yeast together. Stir to combine well. The yeast should be activated when it becomes foamy, about 10 minutes. Transfer the flour to a flat surface and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast mixture, yoghurt, and oil, knead the dough until the surface becomes smooth and shiny, about 10 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place (for example: beside the stovetop or warm oven). The dough should double in size, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Roll the dough to a 8” circle using a rolling spin.

Heat up a skillet (cast-iron preferred) over high heat and lightly grease the surface with some oil to avoid the dough from sticking to the skillet. Place the dough on the skillet. When it puffs up and bubbles and burnt spots appear, flip it over and cook the other side. Repeat the same until all dough are done.

Brush the naan with the melted butter, serve warm.

I would love to hear any recommendations you have for new mother-daughter book club reads! Here is an article I wrote about my 10-year-old’s mother-daughter book club when we read and discussed A Wrinkle in Time.

Sarah

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