The Cincinnati football team is named the Bengals, and takes, as its logo, an image of a leaping Royal Bengal tiger. The Bengal tiger is native to India and Bangladesh, and can be found in the aptly named Bengal region. With a population of close to 250 million people, the region is one of the densest and most populous regions in the entire world.
This is not the only link between the city of Cincinnati and the Indian sub-continent. Despite the city’s German roots, the city is home to a thriving Indian community, particularly given the relative size of Cincinnati. The public library’s collection includes a significant number of Bollywood videos and books in Bengali. The Clifton area boasts an Indian grocery, and the city itself is home to about a dozen excellent Indian restaurants.
When we dined at Cumin, we ordered some cheese naan. The naan looked great, warm and airy, with the bubbles that typified the dish. But when we tasted it, we did not taste any cheese. We told the waiter, and he brought us another basket of naan. This time, we could taste the melted cheese, although its taste remained somewhat faint.
At the time, we were disappointed. But now, I can at least empathize. It’s hard to make cheese naan! For the first naan, I put a fair amount of shredded Havarti into the dough ball. But after rolling and frying the dough, you would never have known it! The taste of cheese was imperceptible.
Fortunately, I still had several other balls of dough with which to experiment. And I quickly learned, that if you want a really cheesy naan, it pays not to be shy! For some additional flavors, you can add fresh garlic and herbs to the dough before rolling it. Finally, for the perfect naan, make sure the pan is nice and hot and that dough is pretty thin! Swadisht Khana!
garlic and cheese naan
Recipe adapted from The Novice Chef Blog.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
DOWN TIME: 60 minutes
COOK TIME: 5 minutes
YIELD: 6 to 8 Naan
WHAT TO GRAB:
1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
1 cup of a good melting cheese, shredded (I used Havarti)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil (or butter) for cooking
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast, and sugar, and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.
2. Stir in the flours, salt, oil, yogurt, and egg and stir. On a lightly floured board, knead the dough until it is soft and pliable. Oil a large mixing bowl and place the dough ball in the bowl. Cover with a dish towel and let rise until doubled in size; about an hour.
3. Dump the dough ball onto a lightly floured board, and divide the dough into six to eight pieces. Take a good handful of the shredded cheese and a few pieces of garlic, and work the garlic and cheese into the dough. Roll out each piece into a very thin circle / oval.
4. Cook each naan in a nice hot skillet drizzled with oil (just a tiny bit–you’re not frying it) until blistered and cooked, flipping as necessary. (When the surface has big blisters and is golden on the bottom, flip it over and cook until golden on the other side. Serve warm!