27 February 2007

Central Asian Naan Recipe

I was gathering Central Asian recipes for an American friend of ours who was with us in Kyrgyzstan and discovered that I don't have any flatbread recipes posted here. Not one from any part of the world. So I'll be fixing that.

Basic Central Asian Naan (rhymes with lawn)
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 2.5 cups warm water
  • 5-7 cups flour (white, wheat, or a mix- white is most often used in Central Asia now)
  • 2 tsp salt

Mix the water and yeast in a large bowl, then add 3 cups of flour. Stir for about a minute or 100 times in the same direction to start developing the gluten, then add the salt and as much more flour as you need to make a nice dough. Knead for about 8 minutes till it's smooth and elastic. Let rise till doubled, 1-2 hours.

Put a baking stone on the lowest rack of your oven, remove the rest of the racks, and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Punch the dough down and divide into 6 pieces (divide it into 4 pieces if you want bigger loaves). Working with two rounds at a time, roll the dough into 10-inch rounds. Let sit for about 10 minutes to rise.

Prick the middle of the rounds with a chekich (picture on the left) or a fork. Leave a 1.5-inch rim. If you like, you can roll the rim up a bit to make it fatter, or just hope it rises a lot in the oven. Slide or slap the dough onto the hot stone and bake till golden, 8-10 minutes (they look just right in the pictures; you'll note that the shape and size of the rim changes some, but they're always cooked to this same color).

Or just move to Central Asia and make sure your apartments is across the street from a couple of tandoor bakeries.

This is just basic naan. There are a zillion things you can do with it to spice it up, like topping it with cumin or onions or green onions or sesame seeds or really anything else that sounds good to you.It is eaten all over Central Asia and tastes best just out of a tandoor. But a baking stone does a pretty good job too.


  1. Do you have any other authentic Kyrgy recipes for other breads or desserts?

  2. I think I have a couple of recipes; I'll try to post them tomorrow.

    But I really don't have many specifically Kyrgyz bread and dessert recipes.

    Naan was sold in the big cities in Kyrgyzstan, but when we went to smaller towns, tandoor naan like this wasn't for sale. And in the cities, naan like this was often made by Uyghurs or Uzbeks. The Uzbeks and Uyghurs and Tajiks have a much wider variety of bread. And better tasting, although Kyrgyz naan was delicious.

    And we hardly ever had any type of dessert in Kyrgyzstan besides candy and Russian-style cakes.

  3. I visited Afghanistan once in 1972, on my way to Iran. I stayed in Kabul for two days and found the city beautiful and found people very simple and friendly. I still remember the taste of one specific kind of bread. It was round shape, but very thick, bulky and soft. One bread would saturate appetite of a big healthy person. If you are familiar with such a bread and you have the recipe, I would appreciate if you could post it here. Thanks.

  4. Imtiaz, the closest recipe I know of might be this one- http://amiralace.blogspot.com/2007/02/afghan-naan-recipe.html

    It's fairly thick and has a wonderful flavor.

    I've made another thicker round flatbread. You can find it in Flatbreads and Flavors and it's caleld hushva nan or pebbled Persian bread.


    Good luck. You really might try Flatbreads and Flavors no matter what. It's a wonderful book.

  5. I miss the fresh naan, right out of the clay oven. We bought it everywhere in Kyrgyzstan. Our trip there was amazing. Going to use your naan recipe this weekend with the stamp we bought at the Bazaar in Osh.