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For the kibbutz, see Na'an. For the Indian film, see Naan (film).
Naan shiva.jpg
Course Snack, appetizer, bread
Place of origin India
Serving temperature Hot, room temperature
Main ingredients Wheat flour (e.g. atta, maida), water, yeast, cooking fat (e.g. butter, ghee), yogurt, milk (optional)
Cookbook: Naan  Media: Naan

Naan, nan or khamiri is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread[1] found in the cuisines of West, Central and South Asia.[2][3][4] With the migration of the Roma people from India, it spread to other parts of West Asia.[citation needed]


The earliest appearance of "nan" in English is from 1810, in a travelogue of William Tooke.[5] The Persian word nān 'bread' (Uzbek non/нон) is already attested in Middle-Persian/Pahlavi as n'n 'bread, food'. The form itself is of Iranian origin; cognate forms include Parthian ngn, Balochi nagan, Sogdian nγn-, Pashto nəγan 'bread'.[6]

The form naan has a widespread distribution, having been borrowed in a range of languages spoken in central and south Asia, where it usually refers to a kind of flatbread. The spelling naan is first attested in 1979,[7] and has since become the normal English spelling.


Bread, naan (Indian bread), plain, commercially prepared, refrigerated
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Sugars 3.55
Dietary fiber 2.2
Thiamine (B1)
0.78 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.51 mg
Niacin (B3)
5.84 mg
0 mg
Vitamin B6
0.095 mg
Folate (B9)
0 μg
Vitamin E
0.79 mg
Vitamin K
0 μg
84 mg
3.25 mg
27 mg
0 mg
100 mg
125 mg
465 mg
0.81 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
An Uyghur naan baker in Kashgar

The most familiar and readily available varieties of naan in Western countries are the South Asian varieties. In Iran, from which the word ultimately originated,[8] nān (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, such as amongst Kurds, Turks, Azerbaijanis (from both Azerbaijan and Iran), etc. Naan in parts of South Asia 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.

Typically, it is served hot and brushed with ghee or butter. It can be used to scoop other foods, or served stuffed with a filling. For example, keema naan is stuffed with a minced meat mixture (usually lamb or mutton or goat meat); another variation is peshawari naan (peshwari in the UK). Peshawari naan and Kashmiri naan are filled with a mixture of nuts and raisins; in Pakistan, roghani naan is sprinkled with sesame seeds; Kulcha is another type. Amritsari naan also called as amritsari kulcha is stuffed with mashed potatoes, onion (optional) and lots of spices. Possible seasonings in the naan dough include cumin and nigella seeds. The Pakistani dish of balti is usually eaten with a naan, and this has given rise to the huge karack or table naan, easy to share amongst large groups.[10]

A typical naan recipe involves mixing white flour with salt, a yeast culture, and enough yogurt to make a smooth, elastic dough.[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 grams or 3.5 oz each), which are flattened and cooked. In Pakistani cuisine, naans are typically graced 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 restaurants throughout the UK.

Raisins and spices can be added to the bread to add to the flavour. 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 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).

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] Whole Foods[13] and Wegmans[14] offer recipes for people to make their own naan pizza at home.

Naan burger[edit]

The Naan burger is a hamburger served on naan bread.[15][16] The naan burger has very similar ingredients to normal burgers, but is sometimes made with ham. The use of flatbread creates a taste experience different from hamburgers made with bread. Some naan burgers are vegetarian, containing no meat.[17]


KFC in India serves naan burgers, but their origins are unknown. Naan burgers, as served in the form closest to the traditional hamburger, may have originated in Britain where both American and Indian food are popular and available in most markets.

It is also served in Toronto, Canada. Several restaurants, including Moxie's located in Yorkdale, and The Host located in Yorkville, offer a dish with naan served with smoked salmon, barbecued chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, fenugreek, and other garnishings. These dishes also have its origin in the dynamic Indian cooking style prevalent in Canada.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. ^ See for instance Manfred Mayrhofer, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen, Heidelberg 1996, vol. 2, p. 6, with further references. An Indo-European origin for this typical cultural term is highly unlikely.
  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. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Nigella. "NAAN PIZZA - Recipes - Nigella Lawson". Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  13. ^ "Grilled Veggie Naan Pizzas with Goat Cheese". Whole Foods Market. Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "Recipes - Wegmans". Retrieved 6 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "We Need This Naan Burger In Our Mouths Immediately". Gothamist. May 5, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Grand Trunk naan burger with garlic fries.". Getty Images. August 14, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  17. ^ Jones, Caroline (March 19, 2015). "The ‘Wiching Hour: Grand Trunk’s Naan Burger". Washington City Paper. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 

External links[edit]