The ones we hanker for, however, are the floppy, blistered, teardrop shaped creations from Indian restaurants; I didn't know about them until I'd left home as a student, I thought curry just came with rice, but once tasted I was smitten. If my first taste of saag chicken was an intimation, naan bread was the revelation; not only was there curry, but there was this delicious bread that went with it.
Living where we do, getting to an Indian restaurant is nearly an hour's drive, though there is good naan when you get there, often filled with melty cheese. I like this very much, but though there is plenty of precedent for it all over Asia I gather, it is, I suspect, something of a concession to Gallic preference, Japanese restaurants here, a growing sector, usually seem to offer beef yakitori wrapped round a stick of gruyere too. You occasionally see naan in supermarkets, made by British based firms like Sharwoods and Pataks, and they're OK, I buy them when I see them, but really, anything wrapped in plastic and sat on the shelf for a while isn't going to be quite the same. So making one's own naan is the holy grail of Indian cooking at home; the breadmaking machine can't do it, the dough needs to be too sticky and too much control of the rising is required. We have never quite achieved that fluffy bubbly tandoori texture, but with the addition of ghee, yoghurt, egg and nigella seeds,
using the big oven at a very low setting for proving and a large, non-stick, heavy based pan with a lid for cooking,
Tom has arrived at a very passable version. They puff up quite impressively sometimes in the pan,
though the bubbles go down again afterwards.
But as they stack up in a fragrant, warm, floury heap,
I'm not inclined to complain.