Slow Days: Naan DIY

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

Today, I thought it would be fun to make a batch of naan, a bread of India. More than 2500 years ago, ‘chapati’ was the peoples’ bread: unleavened flatbread baked on a griddle. After yeast was introduced to India from Persia or Egypt, experimentation lead to making naan. Originally it was the food of royalty, savored for its light texture. One author says how difficult it is to make, and therefore limited to palace kitchens. When I found out how simple naan is to prepare, I just had to try them. Even thought the dough is made with yeast, it is much less involved than making a loaf of bread. The recipe is by Aarti Sequeira.

1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
3/4 c 110 F water
In a large glass or 16-oz measuring cup, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
2 c white whole wheat flour**
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
Sift the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a large, deep bowl. Whisk to blend. 
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Once the yeast is frothy, pour the yogurt and the olive oil into the glass, and stir to combine.
****If you would like to make this gluten-free, you can substitute in 2 1/4 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour mix for the regular flour, plus 1 1/4 tsp xanthum gum.
Ingredients for the first three steps of the recipe await mixing.
Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix the ingredients together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to mix. It will feel as if there isn’t enough flour at first, but keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky, pliable dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 2-4 hours.
Have two bowls near-by: one with flour in it, + one with water. The dough will be extremely soft and sticky — the way it should be! Divide dough into 8 or 10 or 12 equal portions and lightly roll each portion in the bowl of flour to prevent sticking to each other.
++if using gluten-free flour, pat the naans into shape with your hands and fingers.With a rolling pin++, roll out each dough ball on a lightly floured work surface into a tear-drop shape about 4-6“ in diameter and 1/4” thick. Lift up by one end and wiggle it — the dough’s own weight will make it stretch a bit. Repeat with remaining dough.
Have: Cast iron skillet
lid to fit the skillet
Warm the skillet over high heat until it’s nearly smoking. Dampen your hands in the bowl of water and pick up one of your naans. Patty-cake it from one hand to the other to dampen it slightly.
Gently lay each naan in the skillet + set timer for 1 minute. The dough should start to bubble. Flip the naan. It should be blistered + a little blackened, don’t worry – that’s typical! Cover the skillet with the lid and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Repeat with remaining dough.

Here they are skillet-baked and ready to eat. You have seen the naan in some of my previous recipes, such as Indian Vegetables with Turkey and Naan. Create your own favorite way to eat this bread and imagine that you are an Indian Noble.

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