RECIPE: Vegan Spiced Sultana Naans
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Since embracing veganism earlier this year, I’ve started curating a collection of go-to dishes for those evenings when you just can’t be bothered to find another use for chickpeas/cashews/smoked paprika. Homemade curry has now become a weekly treat - the perfect way to use up the leftover vegetables rolling around in the bottom of the fridge. And by using fresh vegetables, brown rice, and avoiding shop-bought sauces, which are full of sugar and salt, it’s a surprisingly healthy and wholesome meal.
Although I’ve always tried to make my curries from scratch, I used to treat us to shop-bought naans because I really love naans. When we visited India last year I loved the flavour of fresh peshwari naans, bursting with almond flakes, fragrant spices and succulent dried fruits. Unfortunately, every naan I’ve tried to find in the supermarket contains milk or yoghurt - perhaps a traditional ingredient? - and I almost had to abandon my tiny dream of fresh curry, lime pickle and naans on a Thursday night.
Instead, I experimented with plant-based milk and a few of my favourite flavour combinations, and the vegan spiced sultana naan was born! These are stupidly easy - being flatbreads, they only need one hour-long prove, and they cook in the pan within 1-2 minutes. Feel free to experiment with different spice combinations, and if you don’t like ground almond then it’s not essential, although it does add wonderfully to the texture. You can also use whichever plant-based milk you prefer - it’s a small amount that’s only there to hold the dough together, so just go with whatever you have in the fridge. Enjoy!
RECIPE: VEGAN SPICED SULTANA NAAN BREAD
240g white flour
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp curry powder - I used hot, but whatever floats your boat
7g fast-action dried yeast
150ml plant-based milk of your choice
60g sultanas or raisins
1 tbsp mango chutney
60g ground almond
Oil for frying
1. Combine the flour, garam masala, curry powder, salt and yeast in a bowl and stir well with your hands.
2. Slowly pour in the plant-based milk until a soft, smooth dough is formed - you may need more or less, but you don’t want it too crumbly or sticky.
3. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 7-10 minutes.
4. Place kneaded dough in a bowl, cover with a teatowel, and leave at room temperate for one hour to enable the dough to prove.
5. After an hour, pop the dough back onto a floured surface and use the palm of your hands to knead the air bubbles out for a few seconds, then add the mango chutney, sultanas and ground almond into the dough. This can be very sticky, but once it’s all combined it should be ok to handle - if it’s too sticky, just add a little more flour.
6. Divide the dough into four balls and roll out onto a floured surface using a rolling pin to create four naan-shaped slabs around 4mm thick.
7. Heat a few drops of oil in a frying pan, wait until the oil is very hot, and then add the first naan to the pan, being careful not to fold or crinkle it. Jiggle it around for a minute or two, then flip the naan over to fry the other side. Each naan shouldn’t take more than 2-4 minutes, so be careful not to burn it. They should cook through and form dark blobs where the dough has been lying closest to the pan.
8. Remove the first naan and add to a warm plate, then fry the remaining three and serve with a bowl of curry, lime pickle, mango chutney, coconut yoghurt and a cold beer.