Indian naan meets arabic manousheh

First of all let me clear out the terminology 🙂 I know many of you are familiar with naan (tear drop shaped Indian flat bread traditionally cooked in a clay oven) but a few know what a manousheh is.

Manousheh is basically a Lebanese flat bread topped one of a variety of ingredients: za’tar(Za’atar is generally prepared using ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, or some combination thereof, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, and salt, though other spices such as sumac might also be added), cheese, labaneh (strained greek yogurt, similar to cream cheese in consistency and to sour cream in taste) and eggs are the most famous ones. However you can find restaurants and bakeries serving turkey and cheese, eggs and sausage, and nutella manusheh side by side with the more traditional ones

The easiest way to describe it is : it is a single or double ingredient topping middle eastern pizza :). I usually make my manousheh using the same dough recipe I use for pizza crust, I bake them in the oven and they come out perfect and yummy every time.

The other day I had some left over naan dough in the fridge after making some naan to serve with the tandoori chicken. It was the weekend and I didn’t have any of my pizza crust dough. The kids wanted manousheh for breakfast and I thought why not!

Instead of turning on the oven at 8 in the morning I decided to make my breakfast creation on the stove top. I have made naan both ways (oven and stove top) and I have to say I like the stove top one better. It is softer and fluffier.That being said, I have come across a very interesting recipe and technique for making naan that uses potatoes and honey in the dough and cooks one side of the naan on the stove top and the other under the broiler. It promises the best naan you can ever make at home and the closest you’ll ever get to that restaurant tandoori baked naan. And though I am very happy with the recipe I am sharing with you today (it gives soft naan with a depth of flavor from the yogurt and slight smoky flavor from the little charred points )I will have to try it soon in the name of science and I will keep you posted.

Naan manousheh

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 \ 2  cup a warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup boiling water

5 and 1 \ 2 cups flour
2 teaspoons oil
2 teaspoons salt

Topping

Za’tar (ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, or some combination thereof, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, and salt, and sumac)

Akkawi cheese with dried mint

Preparation of the naan manousheh

Proof the yeast (Mix it with the warm water and  sugar and wait for it to bubble)
Whisk the yogurt and the boiling water together then set aside until they cool down

Add the yeast mixture, the yogurt and water mix and 3 cups of flour and mix with a wooden spoon until the mix is homogenous.

Cover and leave in a warm place for 1/2 an hour

Next add the salt and oil to it and start adding the remaining flour half a cup at a time while kneading until you get a soft smooth pliable ball of  dough (you may not need all the flour)

Knead for 5-7 minutes until satiny and elastic.

Cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap and keep it aside in a warm place until it doubles in volume (one to 1.5 hours. you may also keep it in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight)

Turn the dough out on to well-floured surface, punch out the air out gently with your knuckles, and divide the dough into 6 or 8 portions (depending on the diameter of the pan you are going to use for cooking), plus one tiny piece (to be explained soon).

Start heating the pan you are going to cook the naan in, using medium heat.
Roll the dough out into thin discs and keep them one by one on a floured baking sheet covered with a damp towel until you’ve rolled them all. Or stretch them by hand into teardrop shapes. They fluff up, so the thinner you can roll/stretch them, the better. (you can prick the dough discs with a fork to prevent them from forming big bubbles)

Take the tiny piece you kept aside, flatten it, and put it on the pan. If it gets charred within a few seconds or the pan smokes a lot, take it off the heat, and let it cool down a tad. If it does not show brown spots in 4 or 5 seconds, your pan’s not hot enough.

When you have the pan to the heat level you want (medium), put a disc of dough on it, it will start forming bubbles almost right away.

After 2-3 minutes, brush it with butter, turn it over  and spread the topping of your choice on the cooked side that is now facing upward

Wait for the bottom to get blistery spots, then fold it on half.

Allow it to cook for one more minute on this side then flip it, cook for one more minute..take it off the heat.

If you don’t prick the dough with a fork it may buff up like this

Which will give your kids something to oooh and aaaah about 🙂

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