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Naan, Nan, Noon
Stuffed Tandoori Naan.jpg
Stuffed tandoori naan
Region or state Western Asia, South Asia and the Caribbean
Serving temperatureHot, room temperature
Main ingredients Flour, yeast, salt, water

Naan (Persian : نان, romanized: nān, Hindi : नान, romanized: nān) is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread [1] found in the cuisines mainly of Western Asia, South Asia and the Caribbean. [2] [3] [4]



The earliest appearance of "naan" in English is from 1803 in a travelogue of William Tooke. [5] The Persian word nān 'bread' is attested in Middle Persian as n'n 'bread, food', which is of Iranian origin, and is a cognate with Parthian ngn, Kurdish nan, Balochi nagan, Sogdian nγn-, and Pashto nəγan 'bread'. [6] Naan may have derived from bread baked on hot pebbles in ancient Persia. [7]

The form naan has a widespread distribution, having been borrowed in a range of languages spoken in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, where it usually refers to a kind of flatbread (tandyr nan). [7] The spelling naan is first attested in 1979, [8] and has since become the normal English spelling.


Western Asia

Naan as known today originates from Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and the Indian Subcontinent. [7] The most familiar and readily available varieties of naan in Western countries are those from the Indian subcontinent. In Iran, as well as in other West Asian nations or ethnic groups in the region, from which the word originated, [9] nân (Persian : نان) does not carry any special significance, as it is the generic word for any kind of bread.

South Asia

Naan in parts of the Indian subcontinent usually refers to a specific kind of thick flatbread (another well-known kind of flatbread is chapati ). Generally, it resembles pita and, like pita bread, is usually leavened with yeast or with bread starter (leavened naan dough left over from a previous batch); unleavened dough (similar to that used for roti ) is also used. Naan is cooked in a tandoor , from which tandoori cooking takes its name. This distinguishes it from roti, which is usually cooked on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle called a tava . Modern recipes sometimes substitute baking powder for the yeast. Milk or yogurt may also be used to impart distinct tastes to the naan. Milk used instead of water will, as it does for ordinary bread, yield a softer dough. [10] Also, when bread starter (which contains both yeast and lactobacilli) is used, the milk may undergo modest lactic fermentation.

Typically, it is served hot and brushed with some water but in some other cultures such as those in the Indian Subcontinent, they brush ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods or served stuffed with a filling. [11]

A typical naan recipe involves mixing white or whole wheat flour with active dry yeast, salt, and water. [12] The dough is kneaded for a few minutes, then set aside to rise for a few hours. Once risen, the dough is divided into balls (about 100 g or 3.5  oz each), which are flattened and cooked. In Pakistani cuisine, naans are typically flavored with fragrant essences, such as rose, khus (vetiver), or with butter or ghee melted on them. Nigella seeds are commonly added to naan as cooked in Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants throughout the UK.

Raisins, lentils and spices can be added. Naan can also be covered with, or serve as a wrap for, various toppings of meat, vegetables, or cheeses. This version is sometimes prepared as fast food. It can also be dipped into such soups as dal and goes well with sabzis (also known as shaakh).


In Indonesia, naan is popular in Indian Indonesian and Arab Indonesian community as well as Malay, Acehnese and Minangkabau–with other variant of roti like roti canai . This dish usually locally known as roti naan or roti nan and cooked using Indonesian spices, such as garlic with local taste. [13]


Naan bya (Burmese : နံပြား) in Burma is sometimes served at breakfast with tea or coffee. It is round, soft, and blistered, often buttered, or with pè byouk (boiled peas) on top, or dipped in thousoup (mutton soup).

Luri fiçá in Rohingya is similar to naan, but made of rice and served at festivals with beef, mutton, vegetables, and soups. It is a national cake of Rohingya in Arakan.

Naan pizza is a type of pizza where naan is used as the crust instead of the traditional pizza dough. Chefs and companies such as Nigella Lawson, [14] and Wegmans [15] offer recipes for people to make their own naan pizza at home.

External image
Searchtool.svg A slideshow of Hyderabadi Kulcha / Naan / Sheermaal preparation images. Published on Flickr

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Related Research Articles

Chapati Unleavened wheat flatbread eaten in South Asia

Chapati, also known as roti, safati, shabaati, phulka and roshi, is an unleavened flatbread originating from the Indian subcontinent and staple in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, East Africa and the Caribbean. Chapatis are made of whole-wheat flour known as atta, mixed into dough with water, oil and optional salt in a mixing utensil called a parat, and is cooked on a tava.

Dough paste used in cooking

Dough is a thick, malleable, sometimes elastic paste made out of any grains, leguminous or chestnut crops. Dough is typically made by mixing flour with a small amount of water and/or other liquid, and sometimes includes yeast or other leavening agents as well as other ingredients such as various fats or flavorings.

Roti South Asian flatbread

Roti is a round flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta, and water that is combined into a dough. Roti is consumed in many countries worldwide. Its defining characteristic is that it is unleavened. Naan from the Indian subcontinent, by contrast, is a yeast-leavened bread, as is kulcha. Like breads around the world, roti is a staple accompaniment to other foods.

Pakistani cuisine culinary traditions of Pakistan

Pakistani cuisine can be characterized by a blend of various regional cooking traditions of the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia as well as elements from its Mughal legacy. The various cuisines are derived from Pakistan's ethnic and cultural diversity.

Punjabi cuisine food from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan

Punjabi cuisine is a culinary style originating in the Punjab, a region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, which is now divided in an Indian part and a Pakistani part. This cuisine has a rich tradition of many distinct and local ways of cooking. One is a special form of tandoori cooking that is now famous in other parts of India, UK, Canada, Hong Kong and in many parts of the world.

Lavash flatbread

Lavash is a soft, thin unleavened flatbread traditionally baked in a tandoor (tonir) and eaten all over the South Caucasus, Western Asia, and the areas surrounding the Caspian Sea. Lavash is one of the most widespread types of bread in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. The traditional recipe can be adapted to the modern kitchen by using a griddle or wok instead of the tonir.

Bhatoora deep-fried leavened bread from the Indian Subcontinent

Bhatoora is a fluffy deep-fried leavened bread originating from the Indian subcontinent. Variations include aloo bhatura and paneer bhatura. It is often eaten with chickpea curry, chole or channe, making the traditional dish chole bhature.

Dhaba Roadside eateries in the Indian subcontinent

Dhaba or Punjabi dhaba is a roadside restaurant in the Indian subcontinent. They are on highways, generally serve local cuisine, and also serve as truck stops. They are most commonly found next to petrol stations, and most are open 24 hours a day. Since many truck drivers in the Indian subcontinent are of Punjabi descent, and Punjabi food and music are popular throughout the Indian subcontinent, the word dhaba has come to represent any restaurant that serves Punjabi food, especially the heavily spiced and fried Punjabi fare preferred by many truck drivers.

Flatbread Type of bread

A flatbread is a bread made with flour, water, and salt, and then thoroughly rolled into flattened dough. Many flatbreads are unleavened, although some are leavened, such as pita bread.

Indian bread A wide variety of flatbreads and crêpes which are an integral part of Indian cuisine

Indian breads are a wide variety of flatbreads and crêpes which are an integral part of Indian cuisine. Their variation reflects the diversity of Indian culture and food habits.

Kulcha Flatbread originating from the Indian subcontinent

Kulcha is a type of mildly leavened flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent.

Afghan bread national bread of Afghanistan

Afghan bread, or Nân-i Afğânī, is the national bread of Afghanistan. The bread is oval or rectangular and baked in a tandoor, a cylindrical oven that is the primary cooking equipment of the sub-continental region. The Afghan version of the tandoor sits above ground and is made of bricks, which are heated to cook the bread. The bread, also known as naan, is shaped and then stuck to the interior wall of the oven to bake. It is similar to the Naan in KPK, Pakistan. Black cumin or caraway seeds are often sprinkled on the bread, as much for decoration as for taste, and lengthwise lines are scored in the dough to add texture to the bread.

Awadhi cuisine

Awadhi cuisine is a cuisine native to the Awadh region in Northern India. The cooking patterns of Lucknow are similar to those of Central Asia, the Middle East, and Northern India with the cuisine comprising both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The Awadh region has been greatly influenced by Mughal cooking techniques, and the cuisine of Lucknow bears similarities to those of Central Asia, Kashmir, Punjab and Hyderabad. The city is also known for its Nawabi foods.


Sheermal or Shirmal, is a saffron-flavored traditional flatbread from Greater Iran. The word sheermal is derived from the Persian words شیر meaning milk, and مالیدن meaning to rub. In a literal translation, sheermal means milk rubbed. After being introduced to North India by the Persianate Mughal emperors. It became a delicacy of Lucknow,Hyderabad and Aurangabad. It is also part of the Awadhi cuisine and is enjoyed in Old Bhopal.

Tandoor bread bread made in a tandoor

Tandoor breads are bread baked in a clay oven called a tandoor.

Tandoor Cylindrical clay or metal oven used in Asian cooking

A tandoor also known as tannour is a cylindrical clay or metal oven used in cooking and baking. The tandoor is used for cooking in Southern, Central, and Western Asia, as well as in the South Caucasus.

Tandyr nan

Tandyr nan, tandir non (Uzbek) or tonur nan, also called lepyoshka, is a type of leavened Central Asian bread similar to naan.

Paratha Flatbread originating in the Indian subcontinent

{{Infobox prepared food

Arab Indonesian cuisine Cuisine of the people of Arab Indonesians

Arab Indonesian cuisine is characterized by the mixture of Middle Eastern cuisine with local Indonesian-style. Arab Indonesians brought their legacy of Arab cuisine—originally from Hadhramaut, Hejaz and Egypt—and modified some of the dishes with the addition of Indonesian ingredients. The Arabs arrived in the Nusantara archipelago to trading and spread Islam. In Java, since the 18th century AD, most of Arab traders settled on the north coast and diffuse with indigenous, thus affecting the local cuisine culture, especially in the use of meat mutton and ghee in cooking.


  1. Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads By Bernard Clayton Jr., Donnie A Cameron. Simon and Schuster. 1987. ISBN   9780671602222.
  2. Qmin by Anil Ashokan, Greg Elms
  3. The Science of Cooking, Peter Barham, Springer: 2001. ISBN   978-3-540-67466-5. p. 118.
  4. The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger
  5. Russia, or a Complete Historical Account of all the Nations which compose that Empire, London, p. 168: "The most common dishes are onoschi, or vermicelli; plav, or boiled rice; nan, pancakes, and the meats which the law permits." (referring to the eating habits of the central Turks). Other attestations in English can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. naan.
  6. Manfred Mayrhofer, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen, Heidelberg 1996, vol. 2, p. 6,
  7. 1 2 3 Pasqualone, Antonella (2018). "Traditional flat breads spread from the Fertile Crescent: Production process and history of baking systems". Journal of Ethnic Foods. 5 (1): 10–19. doi: 10.1016/j.jef.2018.02.002 . ISSN   2352-6181.
  8. "Home : Oxford English"$ Dictionary". Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  9. "Naan - Definition of naan". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  10. Harold McGee. On Food and Cooking. Scribner. 2nd Ed, 2004.
  11. "The Independent - 404". The Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  12. "How To Make Naan Bread". videojug. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  14. Nigella. "NAAN PIZZA - Recipes - Nigella Lawson". Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  15. "Recipes - Wegmans". Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2015.