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Indian Breads


jokhm
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I already posted somewhere else my issues about naan making, but this looks like the rightest place!

Although my guests generally love my naan (but you know, being Italian they don't know the real thing...) I can't be fully satisfied of my results. First of all, I never got a good result baking naan into a conventional oven, as it ends up too "breadlike"...I mean, too similar to Western breads. To my experience, the best way is using a nonstick pan, slightly greased and put over a high heat until very hot. I cook my naans about 5 mins each side, keeping the pan tightly covered, and then brush them with butter. This way I get a decent result, provided that the dough is not too rich in dairy and/or eggs, or they end up too heavy.

So, I generally use a very simple dough (flour, water, butter or margarine, sodium bicarbonate and/or baking powder, salt, sometimes a little yoghurt).

Which is, in your experience, the best dough? Do you like more using natural yeast, baking powder/sodium bicarbonate, or both? Do you put eggs in your dough?

More, do you know a good way to bake naans in a regular oven, or do you agree with me that a stovetop technique is better?

I'd also love to know a good recipe for Paneer Naan...even if I'll try it after having practiced more the plain one, of course :smile:

TIA!

Pongi

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  • 1 month later...

Forgive me if this addition is not of global relevance, but how can we forget the humble Pao.

This unassuming cubical loaf 3" to 4" is the daily bread(literally!) of millions across the western coast of India.

A simple bread of a strong flour, salt and yeast, it is an ideal accompaniment to curries and gravies. It's used to mop up gravies, curries and forms the top and bottom half of the Batata Vada-Pao( Mc Vada Pao!). And of course as the unsung partner of a Pao Bhaji. It is a bread that I revere highly and hold in the same esteem as any artisan bread in the world.

Made without preservatives, it's shelf life is about 12 hours stretchable to 24 with some rejuvenation like heating or nuking. The Goans have a harder version of it - Gootli. There are some packaged Paos available now but they all taste enriched. I would not think of making Garlic toasts without it or it's other sandwich loaf form( Desi bread).

It is probably the only bread where the Bhaji popularized it and truly took the Pao to all over India and the diaspora. Like Sarson da Sag and Makki Roti.

Pao bhaji was discussed here earlier:

Pao Bhaji

I was just wondering what bread would suffice to do the job of Pao. I am sure there is a better alternative than the burger bun. You all would need a simpler unfortified bread. I would not attach too much importance to the shape. Perhaps your food standards/regulations would prohibit the making of such a low shelf life bread. Can you all think of any?

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Vada Pao and Pao Bhaji were some of my favorite foods when I lived in Bombay.

I must admit I would eat Pao with Bedekar Pickle, when I had run out of supply of pickles from my Maharashtrian and Gujju friends.

I love Pao and have yet to have any bread in the US that comes close to it. I have certainly cheated and served hot dog buns and burger buns, but they are not the same.

Maybe others here have found another bread that is the same. I would love to discover it myself. Thanks for adding pao to this bread discussion. Now I am craving vada pao. :smile:

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Looks like France isn't the only country with cheese naans or other variations thereof...sounds more like a continuing tradition that a choice of individual restaurants to pander to their dining public's local tastes...

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Now I am craving vada pao. :smile:

You can say that again Suvir,

With red chilli/garlic chatni on one side and green chilli chatni on the other. Probably the only application of two varietals of Chillies in one piece of bread. :laugh:

I dont know if you remember but there used to be a famous stall opp VT station. They now serve it with a lettuce leaf. :rolleyes:

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Now I am craving vada pao. :smile:

You can say that again Suvir,

With red chilli/garlic chatni on one side and green chilli chatni on the other. Probably the only application of two varietals of Chillies in one piece of bread. :laugh:

I dont know if you remember but there used to be a famous stall opp VT station. They now serve it with a lettuce leaf. :rolleyes:

Yes I remember that stall well. I used to study at JJ School of Art in Bombay. As a student, vada pao, missal pav, ussal pav, pav bhaji and other such foods were our mainstay. VT was close by.

The best vadas I have ever eaten were late at night from a vendor who would sell these to the BEST bud drivers on Colaba Causeway just outside of the bus depot. Had you ever tried them? They were superb.

I ate some amazing vadas with pav at the home of some family friends last year when I was in Bombay. No vada pao concoction will ever come close I fear. We were 4 couples together. One of the couples was the husband/wife owners of Khyber and the others were all food lovers. Away from Bombay, in the weekend home on the mainland, facing the ocean, we ate foods like that was all there was to do in life. The vada pao made for breakfast were most amazing. I still can taste them in my mouth.

Lettuce with vadas??? How does it work?

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Lettuce with vadas??? How does it work?

I must say that I dont know of the vada pao stall outside the Colaba Bus station. But maybe this must be close to the place where you had frankies as mentioned by you in another thread.

The Lettuce leaf is just placed on top of the Vada in the Pao, an attempt to keep up with the Big Macs. Interesting is all I can say. :biggrin:

A good Kolhapuri Usal Pav is available for Rs. 8 at Bharat Cafe opp Churchgate station.

The Best Vada Pav I have had is from a handcart/thela at a village called Ghoti after Igatpuri on the Bombay Nasik highway. He serves it with a third chatni which seems to consist of a green chilli/jeera tadka in a light sweet yoghurt emulsion.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Lettuce with vadas??? How does it work?

I must say that I dont know of the vada pao stall outside the Colaba Bus station. But maybe this must be close to the place where you had frankies as mentioned by you in another thread.

The Lettuce leaf is just placed on top of the Vada in the Pao, an attempt to keep up with the Big Macs. Interesting is all I can say. :biggrin:

A good Kolhapuri Usal Pav is available for Rs. 8 at Bharat Cafe opp Churchgate station.

The Best Vada Pav I have had is from a handcart/thela at a village called Ghoti after Igatpuri on the Bombay Nasik highway. He serves it with a third chatni which seems to consist of a green chilli/jeera tadka in a light sweet yoghurt emulsion.

As I young boy, when we lived in Nagpur, a Maharasthrian neighbor of ours would serve Vada pao with three chutneys. And they made a thrid chutney with green chiles, garlic, cumin, lemon and very little yogurt. It was superb too.

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I love Pao and have yet to have any bread in the US that comes close to it. I have certainly cheated and served hot dog buns and burger buns, but they are not the same.

Maybe others here have found another bread that is the same. I would love to discover it myself. Thanks for adding pao to this bread discussion. Now I am craving vada pao. :smile:

I found Pao in your own backyard, it's located here moulded twin

From what I can read in the post it seems to fit the bill.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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It's the basic recipe and the shape is moulded twin, part of the 2nd image.

If you are enthusiastic order the starter which egullet is offering as a special and with a good oven you will be able to make it.

I know a little about baking after spending some time in Germany, so I am confident enough to tell you that this will be the closest thing to Pao without even tasting it.

What a coincidence, just yesterday we were discussing Pao as we know it and today eGCI is teaching you all to make the same thing.

Manna from Heaven!

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Looks like France isn't the only country with cheese naans or other variations thereof...sounds more like a continuing tradition that a choice of individual restaurants to pander to their dining public's local tastes...

Oh, we're back with this are we? Why is it difficult for people to accept that restaurants might adapt a cuisine to cater for local taste? The fact that a few cooks in India might put cheese in naan does not alter the fact that the vast majority do not. Nor is it done in Britain which has infinitely more Indian restaurants in it than any other European country. The odd exception only proves the rule.

What we ARE finding in Britain are Indian breads being regarded as a less essential part of the meal in the upmarket Michelin aspiring Indian restaurants. This is because these restaurants are Frenchifying, by which I mean pre-plating the food before it is served in strict portion control, and paying a great deal of attention to how the food looks on the plate and to the importance of good cutlery.

Gone from these places are the communal bowls in the middle of the table where you help yourself and eat with your fingers, ie. with bread with every bite. Now the bread is an adjunct because you are eating with a knife and fork. You have to put these down to take up your bread so you're likely to eat less. We're also seeing more specialty breads as courses in themselves (this is where the cheese naan would come in were it on the menus, all kinds of stuffes parathas) rather than the piles of plain rotis and chapatis one gets in the more traditional places.

And then there's Dr. Atkins................

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Looks like France isn't the only country with cheese naans or other variations thereof...sounds more like a continuing tradition that a choice of individual restaurants to pander to their dining public's local tastes...

Oh, we're back with this are we? Why is it difficult for people to accept that restaurants might adapt a cuisine to cater for local taste? The fact that a few cooks in India might put cheese in naan does not alter the fact that the vast majority do not. Nor is it done in Britain which has infinitely more Indian restaurants in it than any other European country. The odd exception only proves the rule.

What we ARE finding in Britain are Indian breads being regarded as a less essential part of the meal in the upmarket Michelin aspiring Indian restaurants. This is because these restaurants are Frenchifying, by which I mean pre-plating the food before it is served in strict portion control, and paying a great deal of attention to how the food looks on the plate and to the importance of good cutlery.

Gone from these places are the communal bowls in the middle of the table where you help yourself and eat with your fingers, ie. with bread with every bite. Now the bread is an adjunct because you are eating with a knife and fork. You have to put these down to take up your bread so you're likely to eat less. We're also seeing more specialty breads as courses in themselves (this is where the cheese naan would come in were it on the menus, all kinds of stuffes parathas) rather than the piles of plain rotis and chapatis one gets in the more traditional places.

And then there's Dr. Atkins................

Succint and on the mark points Tonyfink. :smile:

Cannot agree more with all you have said.

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Spank you very much!

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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