Happy Good Friday!
This year, Rob and I are hosting my family for Good Friday. We typically don’t celebrate Good Friday, but since my brother is hosting us on Saturday, I thought it would be nice to have everyone over for a meatless dinner today.
Instead of opting for typical Easter fare (to be honest, I don’t really know what that would be), Rob and I are going Indian-style!
I suppose there are a myriad of reasons: we all like Indian food (including my parents, wowzas!), it fits nicely for healthy, meatless meals without feeling deprived, and one thing about curries is that they taste better as leftovers, so preparing them in advance is preferable and easier for me!
While we could revisit some of our favourite dishes, we’ve decided to try new meals (of course!). We’ll have enough variety in case something doesn’t turn out. For the more iffy recipes, we test-drove them first, though. Case-in-point: vegan banana naan.
While I don’t like bread, Rob adores it. Picking up a fresh loaf of bread from the nearby bakery is always a treat for Rob and he typically finds an excuse to do it whenever we have guests. I figured it would be nice to try our own fresh bread, instead. When going Indian, naan is the obvious choice.
Little do my guests know that I am using this opportunity to help empty my cupboards. I don’t really want to throw out my bread flour, so if everyone loves the homemade naan, that’s perfect! I still had some yeast, that I needed to proof to make sure it was still alive. If you like bread, there is nothing more satisfying than hot-off-the-stove chewy flatbread. Way cheaper than store-bought naan, even if we pick it up from Little India.
Traditional naan recipes call for yogurt, though. Flipping through vegan recipes, I noticed some used vegan yogurt (ugh!), some simply omitted it and others included ingredients like banana and avocado. We always have bananas on hand, so we picked this recipe to begin our experimentation.
I thought Rob was going to kill me when he had sticky dough all over his hands, but we added more flour and he kept on kneading. Our dough didn’t rise much (older yeast?) but we pressed on. We forgot to add the nigella seeds to the first batch, and they wouldn’t stick, but we added them to the next batch.
The verdict? Rob LOVED them! Warm, chewy yet fluffy – this was a great naan. No tandoor needed. The banana provides sweetness and moisture. While they were easy to make, they were a bit labour-intensive for us to serve to a large crowd. Until we experiment with a baked naan recipe, we’ve decided they won’t grace our Good Friday meal. They will, however, likely make an appearance when we serve some of the leftovers to my parents tomorrow.
Adapted from (Never home)maker
1/2 banana, mashed
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100-110F)
1 to 1-1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (we used around 1.25 cups)
Pinch of salt
Dash of nigella seeds
1. Combine the mashed banana, yeast and water in a small cup. Let rest for 5 minutes as it froths.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the bread flour and salt. Add enough flour such that it is not too sticky.
3. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix together with a large spatula. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes until smooth and elastic.
4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 30 minutes – 2 hours, until it has risen and doubled in size. If yours doesn’t rise, that is ok, too!
5. Divide into four balls. Flatten each on a lightly floured work surface and stretch it until it is 5-6″ in diameter. Press nigella seeds into the dough on one side.
6. In a non-stock frypan, heat a minimal amount of oil over medium heat. Once hot, place the naans on the frypan (seed side up), pressing down with a large spatula. Cook until it is a golden brown and puffy, around 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is browned and cooked through. Repeat if you couldn’t fit all of your naans on at the same time.