I've been driving carpool, sorting socks and applauding the school musical, "Oliver!" Ann nurtures real orphans. I watch pretend orphans sing. I figured the least I could do was cook something distant and deserving.
We order the Indian flatbread regularly, reveling in its buttery exterior, its chewy interior and its curry-scooping convenience. Producing credible naan at home, however, was fresh terrain.
I stirred and kneaded bread dough, bolstered, in the naan tradition, with yogurt. I let it rise and rolled it thin. Then I baked it. That's when the adventure set in.
I tried tossing the disks of dough onto a hot baking stone, which yielded a pizza/pita/puff, but not naan. I tried the stove top skillet, yielding sog. I Skyped Ann. "Well," she sighed, "it's hard without a tandoor oven."
Apparently the traditionalist bakes naan by kindling a fire in the center of a vast vessel, then throwing the dough against its clay walls. The naan sticks, then crisps.
I wandered my kitchen, looking for a means to sandwich dough between hot and hotter. The waffle iron seemed an ingenious solution. But wasn't.
Then I tried the laptop. Following electronic advice, I baked my bread on top of a griddle, under the broiler. The double sizzle — above and below — gave my naan its signature blisters and crisp/chewy charm. Isn't world travel a wonder?
Naan (Indian flat bread)
Prep: 20 minutes
Wait: 90 minutes
Bake: 2 minutes
½ cup warm milk
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 pinch sugar
½ cup plain yogurt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted