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What’s the Difference Between Naan and Roti?
While both naan and roti are flatbreads, there are a few key differences:
- Flour. Roti is made from whole wheat flour while naan is made with all-purpose flour.
- Yeast. Naan is leavened, or made with yeast. Roti is unleavened, or made without yeast, which brings the consistency typically closer to a tortilla than a puffy bread like naan or pita.
- Yogurt. Due to the yogurt and salt content in naan dough, the final result is moist and flavor-packed, while roti serves as a healthier everyday blank canvas for the meal.
- Method. Naan is cooked in a tandoor oven or fried on a skillet, while roti is often cooked on a tawa (a type of flat skillet) or over a stove griddle.
Do You Need a Tandoor Oven to Make Naan?
You don’t need any special equipment like a bread machine or clay oven to make naan. While baking in a tandoor oven is the traditional method, these ovens are rarely seen in homes or restaurants. Any frying pan will allow the naan to puff up nicely, especially if it’s a cast iron skillet. A stand mixer will make the kneading go faster, but you can just as easily use your hands.
The 2 Most Common Variations on Naan
- Garlic naan. To make garlic naan, simply add minced garlic to your ghee or butter mixture. Brush generously and enjoy.
- Onion naan. To make onion naan, finely chop one small onion and add to dough. You can also caramelize onions, then chop and add to final ghee or butter topping.
Easy Homemade Naan Bread Recipe
Prep Time1 hr 30 min
Total Time1 hr 50 min
Naan is a soft dough with a quick cooking time. Give it ample time to rise and you’ll be rewarded with big, airy pockets.
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt, preferably full fat
- Vegetable oil or ghee for frying
- Melted butter or ghee for brushing
- ½ cup cilantro, rough chopped
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until yeast has dissolved completely.
- In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and yogurt to the dry ingredients.
- Knead until dough starts to come together into a shaggy dough ball. If using the stand mixer, mix on medium speed for a few minutes.
- Lightly grease the bowl with oil or ghee, and return dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch down dough and remove from bowl. Divide the dough into 8-10 equal pieces, and cover again with towel.
- On a lightly floured surface, using your hands or a rolling pin, stretch pieces into ½ inch thick rounds or ovals.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet until hot. Toss in 1 tsp of ghee to grease the pan, then cook on one side until golden brown and large bubbles form in the dough. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
- Meanwhile, melt 3 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter in a microwave-safe bowl; add chopped cilantro.
- Remove, brush with melted ghee or butter on one side. Keep finished naan covered with a dish towel to keep warm while you work through the rest.