Along with tandoori chicken, this clay oven-baked flatbread catapulted northern Indian foods (especially foods from Punjab and the Moghalai way of cooking) into the Western European and North American restaurant scene and through there our homes.
Grilled Flaxseed Flatbread
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 cup coarsely cracked flaxseed
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- additional warm tap water as needed
- Ghee (clarified butter) or melted butter for brushing
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, flaxseed, baking powder, and salt.
- Pour the buttermilk over the flour mixture and quickly stir it in. The flour may still be dry, with a few wet spots.
- Pour a few tablespoons warm water over the flour, stirring it in as you go. Repeat until the flour comes together to form a soft ball. You want the dough to be very soft, close to being slightly sticky, so if you add an extra tablespoon or so, it won’t hurt it. Using your hand (as long as it’s clean, I think it’s the best tool), gather the ball, picking up any dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, and knead it to form a smooth, soft ball of dough. If it’s a little too sticky to handle, dust your hand with flour, but do not add any more flour to the dough if possible. Knead it for a minute or two. (If you used your hand to make the dough from the start, it will be caked with clumps of dough. Scrape them back into the bowl. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly, and return to the dough to knead it. You will get a much better feel for the dough’s consistency with a dry hand.)
- Cut the dough into 6 equal portions. Lightly grease a plate with the butter. Shape one portion into a round resembling a hamburger bun, and put it on the plate. (To get a smooth round, cup the dough in the palm of your hand and use your fingers to fold and tuck the edges underneath; then rotate it, folding and tucking all around to get an evenly smooth ball.) Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Brush the tops of the rounds with the butter, cover them with plastic wrap or a slightly dampened cloth, and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Place a pizza stone or unglazed pottery tiles on the grill rack. If it is a gas grill, heat it to the highest heat setting. If it is a charcoal grill, build an intensely hot fire and allow the charcoal to turn ash-white and red-hot. The temperature should hover between 600° and 700˚F.
- Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil, fold it in half lengthwise, and set it aside.
- Lightly flour a small work area near the grill, and place a dough round on it. Press it down to form a patty. Roll the patty out to form a round roughly 3 to 5 inches in diameter, dusting it with flour as needed. Make sure the round is evenly thin, with no tears on the surface. Sprinkle a little rock salt over the top, and gently press it into the dough. Lift the round and flip it, salt side down, onto the hot pizza stone. Within seconds, the dough will start to bubble in spots. Cover the grill and cook until the dough turns crispy brown on the underside and the top acquires light brown patches, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove it from the stone, liberally brush the top with ghee, and slide it between the layers of foil to keep it warm. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds, stacking them on top of the previously grilled naans. Cut each naan into four pieces, and savor them warm.