Uigher Naan Bread Recipe (新疆烤馕)

This Xinjiang style Uighur Naan, which is a flatbread that looks like a pizza without sauce. The edge is thick, and the middle is thinner. It is usually topped with sesame and sometimes onion or other spices. This bread is sold on the street in every city in Xinjiang.

 

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5 from 1 vote

Uigher Style Naan

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients: 1kg of all-purpose flour, 2.5 tsp of salt, 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 whole egg, 1 pack of instant yeast (7g), 120 grams of vegetable oil, and 440 grams of milk. Use your spatula to mix it.
  • Knead it by hand (8-10 minutes) or a stand mixer (10-12 minutes) until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Cover it the dough with a lightly damp towel and let it proof at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • 1 hour later, it should be doubled in volume. lightly dust your finger with some flour and poke a 1/2 inch deep hole in the middle; The hole remains so we know we are ready for the next step.
  • Make a fist and punch the dough for a minute to eliminate the air bubbles that are formed from the expanding carbon dioxide during the proofing.
  • Then continue to knead it on the working surface for another 5 minutes or until most of the air pockets are gone. This can also be done with the KitchenAid. You just let it run on low speed for about 5 minutes.
  • Divide the dough. You can eyeball how much dough you want to use as this depends on your tool's size and how big/thick you want your naan to be. I am just going to go with 4 huge ones.
  • Shape each one into a smooth ball. Cover the dough again with a lightly damp towel, and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. This relaxes the gluten and makes the dough easier to roll out later. Otherwise, it will bounce back when you try to roll it flat.
  • I am making 2 onion naan and 2 sesame naan today. For the onion flavor, you will need to saute 1/4 cup of chop red onion with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil until fragrance. Set it aside.
  • For the sesame naan, soak 2 tbsp of sesame seeds with 1.5 tbsp of milk for 10 minutes. This prevents the sesame seeds from burning while baking. You can use both raw or toasted sesame seeds.
  • Dissolve 1 tsp of salt into 1 cup of water. Stir and set it aside.
  • Put the pizza stone or cast-iron skillet into the oven and preheat the oven to 500 F
  • Use a clean and lightly damp cloth to wrap a strainer tool. Tight it up. Set it aside.
  • 15 minutes later, the dough should be much softer. Roll it with a rolling pin until the diameter reaches about 10 inches. Form the edge to make it thicker. Use your knuckles to press the middle to make it thinner. At the same time, if you see that the edge is becoming a bit flat, you can always form it again.
  • Apply the sauteed onion or soaked sesame onto the naan. Use the tip of your fingers to keep pressing the bread. It will help the onion bits or sesame seeds to attach to the bread.
  • Stamp the bread by using a Naan Zhen or a fork. Flip the naan on the cloth wrapped strainer. Onion side down. Wet your hand with the salt solution and apply it to the naan. This will ensure the naan sticks to the pizza stone and create a crusty bottom.
  • Quickly open the oven. Stick the naan in and carefully flip it on the pizza stone. Press the center a few times to make sure the bottom sticks to the pizza stone fully. Otherwise, the center will bulge quickly, and your bread will not come out crispy. Put in the other piece of naan.
  • Quickly spray some water and close the oven.
  • Each naan takes about 10-15 minutes depends on your oven. If this is the first time you are making naan in your oven, be sure to keep an eye on them. In my case, I already know it will take about 12 minutes.

Video

Now we are ready to enjoy this beautiful bread from the west of China. When it just came out of the oven, I like to eat it plain. If you make a big batch, you can store it in the freezer. It will stay good for months and months. This is a staple food for Xinjiang people. There are many ways to eat it. You can serve it with grilled meat. You can apply some fruit jam on the top which is great to go with milk tea. Some restaurants will put it under a dish called Da Pan Ji. The bread will absorb the sauce and become extra flavorful.
I once had a special stir fry call Mi Fen Chao Naan. It was recommended by one of my Xinjiang friends in my college. Basically, they cut the naan into bite-size and stir fry it with rice noodles. The sauce they put is so flavorful and flaming hot that I will never forget that experience.
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