Last updated
Naan, Nan, Noon
Stuffed Tandoori Naan.jpg
Region or state West Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Caribbean
Serving temperatureHot, room temperature
Main ingredients Flour, yeast, salt, water

Naan (Hindi : नान, romanized: nān) is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread [1] found in the cuisines mainly of West Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Caribbean. [2] [3] [4]

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 slightly leavened, such as pita bread.

Middle Eastern cuisine regional cuisine

Middle Eastern cuisine is the cuisine of the various countries and peoples of the Middle East. The cuisine of the region is diverse while having a degree of homogeneity. It includes Arab, Iranian/Persian, Israeli/Jewish, Assyrian, Kurdish, Cypriot, and Turkish cuisines. In 2017, Middle Eastern cuisine was claimed by many sources to be one of the most popular and fastest growing ethnic cuisines in the US. Some commonly used ingredients include olives and olive oil, pitas, honey, sesame seeds, dates, sumac, chickpeas, mint, rice, and parsley. Some popular dishes include kebabs, dolma, falafel, baklava, yogurt, doner kebab, shawarma and Mulukhiyah.

Cuisine of the Indian subcontinent regional cuisine

Cuisine of the Indian subcontinent includes the cuisines from the Indian subcontinent comprising the traditional cuisines from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.



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]

William Tooke British clergyman and historian of Russia

William Tooke (1744–1820) was a British clergyman and historian of Russia.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Middle Persian also known as Pahlavi or Parsik, is the Middle Iranian language or ethnolect of southwestern Iran that during the Sasanian Empire (224–654) became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions of the empire as well. Middle Persian is classified as a Western Iranian language. It descends from Old Persian and is the linguistic ancestor of Modern Persian.

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). The spelling naan is first attested in 1979, [7] and has since become the normal English spelling.

Central Asia Region of the Asian continent

Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and independent Afghanistan. It is also colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries generally considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".

Tandyr nan

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


Southwest Asia

Naan as known today originates from Asian Steppe. The most familiar and readily available varieties of naan in Western countries are those from the Indian subcontinent. In Iran, from which the word originated, [8] nân (Persian : نان) does not carry any special significance, as it is merely the generic word for any kind of bread, as well as in other West Asian nations or ethnic groups in the region.

Iran Islamic Republic in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.

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. [9] Also, when bread starter (which contains both yeast and lactobacilli) is used, the milk may undergo modest lactic fermentation.

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, edible oil and optional salt in a mixing utensil called a parat, and is cooked on a tava.

Pita soft, slightly leavened flatbread baked from wheat flour

Pita or pitta, is a family of yeast-leavened round flatbreads baked from wheat flour, common in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and neighboring areas. It includes the widely-known version with an interior pocket, also known as Arabic bread, Syrian bread, and other names, as well as pocketless versions such as the Greek pita, used to wrap souvlaki. The Western name pita may sometimes be used to refer to various other types of flatbreads that have different names in their local languages, such as numerous styles of Arab khubz (bread).

Yeast informal group of fungi

Yeasts are eukaryotic single-celled microorganisms classified as members of the fungus kingdom. The first yeast originated hundreds of millions of years ago, and 1,500 species are currently identified. They are estimated to constitute 1% of all described fungal species. Yeasts are unicellular organisms that evolved from multicellular ancestors, with some species having the ability to develop multicellular characteristics by forming strings of connected budding cells known as pseudohyphae or false hyphae. Yeast sizes vary greatly, depending on species and environment, typically measuring 3–4 µm in diameter, although some yeasts can grow to 40 µm in size. Most yeasts reproduce asexually by mitosis, and many do so by the asymmetric division process known as budding.

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. [10]

A typical naan recipe involves mixing white or whole wheat flour with active dry yeast, salt, and water . [11] 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).

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 hseiksoup (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, [12] and Wegmans [13] 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

See also

Related Research Articles

Roti unleavened wheat flatbread eaten in South Asia

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 India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. It is also consumed in parts of Africa, Fiji, Mauritius and the Caribbean, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Lucia, Guyana and Suriname. Its defining characteristic is that it is unleavened. Naan from the Indian subcontinent, by contrast, is a yeast-leavened bread, as is kulcha.

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Most people in Punjab are vegetarians. Vegetarian dishes include all the local grown vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, okra, eggplant, cauliflower etc. Vegetarian dishes also included all the pulses of local produce such as moong beans, Masar dal, Urd dal etc. Most of the dishes are eaten with chapattis and naan or tandoori roti and rice. {EngvarB|date=February 2017}}

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

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Tava large flat, concave or convex disc-shaped frying pan, skillet, or griddle, made from metal (often sheet iron, cast iron, sheet steel or aluminium), used in South, Central, and West Asia and the Caucasus, for cooking flatbreads and as a frying pan

A tava(h), tawa(h), tapa, saj, or sac is a large flat, concave or convex disc-shaped frying pan made from metal, usually sheet iron, cast iron, sheet steel or aluminium originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is used in Central, West Asia, Caucasus, and the Indian subcontinent, for cooking a variety of flatbreads and as a frying pan. It also sometimes refers to the ceramic frying pan.

Indian bread

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Atta flour wheat flour

Atta or chakki atta is a wholemeal wheat flour, originating from the Indian subcontinent, used to make flatbreads such as chapati, roti, naan, paratha and puri. It is the most widespread flour in the Indian subcontinent.

Kulcha food

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

Cuisine of Uttar Pradesh

Cuisine of Uttar Pradesh is from the state of Uttar Pradesh(UP) located in Northern India. The Cuisine of UP has a large variety of dishes. The cuisine consists of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes of different varieties. Being a large state, the cuisine of UP share lot of dishes and recipes with the neighboring states of Delhi, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Apart from native cuisine, Mughlai and Awadhi are two famous sub types of cuisine of the state.

Awadhi cuisine

Awadhi cuisine is a cuisine native to the city of Lucknow, which is the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. It is very closely related to Bhojpuri cuisine of it neighboring region, Bhojpur. 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.


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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

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Paratha flatbread originating in the Indian subcontinent

A paratha is a flatbread that originated in the Indian subcontinent, prevalent throughout areas of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh where wheat is the traditional staple. Paratha is an amalgamation of the words parat and atta, which literally means layers of cooked dough. Alternative spellings and names include parantha, parauntha, prontha, parontay, porota, palata, porotha, forota and farata.


A parotta, porotta or barotta is a layered flatbread, originating from the Indian subcontinent, made from maida flour, popular in Southern India. It is a common street food in southern India, especially in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the neighboring country of Sri Lanka. Parotta was introduced from Tamil Nadu to Malaysia by Tamil Indians and Sri Lankan Moor working in the Tuticorin harbour in the 1970s, from which it spread across the state to neighbouring states. Parottas are usually available as street food and in restaurants across Kerala, Tamil Nadu and parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. At some places it is also served at weddings, religious festivals and feasts. It is prepared by kneading maida flour, egg, oil or ghee and water. The dough is beaten into thin layers and later forming a round spiralled into a ball using these thin layers. The ball is rolled flat and pan fried.


  1. id=FZBZXBCWgxgC&pg=PA632&dq=naan+central+asia&lr=&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads by Bernard Clayton, Donnie Cameron
  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. "Home : Oxford English"$ Dictionary". Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  8. "Naan - Definition of naan by Merriam-Webster". Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  9. Harold McGee. On Food and Cooking. Scribner. 2nd Ed, 2004.
  10. "The Independent - 404". The Independent. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  11. "How To Make Naan Bread". videojug. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  12. Nigella. "NAAN PIZZA - Recipes - Nigella Lawson". Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  13. "Recipes - Wegmans". Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2015.