Global Food Guide Ranks 5 Popular Varieties Of Indian Naan

Imagine a bowl of butter chicken or kadhai paneer on a spread. What would these be served within any Indian restaurant across the world? Naan, a popular Indian flatbread made of all-purpose flour (maida), completes these lip-smacking curry-based dishes. A bite of naan scooping curry with pieces of butter chicken or paneer is a wholesome treat for the taste buds and stomach. 

Video Credit: Your Food Lab/ YouTube

At a feast in India and many other countries where curries are prominent, a variant of naan will be served. From its descriptions found in the notes of a popular poet to a variety of recipes that exist today, the popularity of naan has taken over the world. You can spot many American and European food vloggers relishing popular Indian curries with different kinds of naan. 

The flatbread has become so popular that the Croatia-based food guide, TasteAtlas ranked seven varieties of naan across the world. Out of 433,887 ratings, 301,752 were considered legitimate, indicating how much foodies care about the flatbread. Here is a look at the history of naan and its popular variants. 

History Of Naan

According to TasteAtlas, the first descriptions of naan are found in notes of Amir Khusro, an Indo-Persian poet, who was famous in 1300 AD. The word ‘naan’ is derived from its Persian word that loosely translates to bread. The popular flatbread was first made at the Imperial Court in Delhi, India. Baked on the walls of a tandoor oven were two variants - naan-e-tanuri and naan-e-tunuk. 

Initially, the dough for naan was kneaded using eggs, white flour, salt, milk, yeast, and sugar. The tear-drop structure was achieved because of the way cooks used to drop the flatbread in the oven. Today, there are many varieties of naan, and people on the internet keep sharing their experiments.

5 Popular Varieties Of Naan In India

Butter Garlic Naan 

In the TasteAtlas ratings, butter garlic naan received 4.5 stars. Its dough is made using sugar, maida, yoghurt, yeast, and salt. After rolling a small ball of dough, crushed garlic pieces are pressed into it. Once the naan is cooked in the tandoor, the cook brushes melted butter on the surface to add shine and rich flavour. It pairs well with shahi paneer, dal makhani, butter chicken, and malai kofta.

Paneer Naan

Paneer naan is soft, and the preparation of its dough is quite similar to butter garlic naan. However, after rolling the dough for naan, it is filled with a flavourful stuffing of cottage cheese, salt, coriander leaves, onions, and spices, and rolled again. After the naan is cooked, melted butter is brushed all over it. The rating of this naan on TasteAtlas is 4.2.

Aloo Naan

Whether you call it aloo naan or kulcha, it is a delicious combination which is a close cousin of Punjab’s popular aloo paratha. Unlike paneer naan, aloo naan has a stuffing of potatoes, garam masala, coriander leaves, green chillies, and other spices. It is served hot with dal makhani, chole, raita, or a tangy curry. Ratings of aloo naan on TasteAtlas is 4.2.

Kashmiri Naan

Kashmir has a variety of naan in which the dough is prepared with maida, yeast, yoghurt, ghee, sugar, and salt. After rolling, the dough is filled with nuts, fruits, and spices to add a rich flavour and taste to the flatbread. Instead of a tandoor, this naan is cooked on a hot tava until it becomes fluffy and golden brown. People in the state pair it with curries or relish it as a snack with a Kashmiri tea variant. Its rating is also 4.2.

Keema Naan

Keema naan is another Indian variant of the flatbread, which featured on the TasteAtlas’ list with a rating of 3.7. After preparing the rolling dough, it is stuffed with a flavourful filling of keema made with goat or lamb meat mixed with green peas, potatoes, spices, garlic, onion, and chillies. It is topped with black sesame seeds and savoured as is or with a delicious bowl of curry. 

Other varieties of flatbreads that featured on the list included Peshwari naan (4.2) from Pakistan and Naan-e Afghani (4.1) from Afghanistan. If you haven’t tried these varieties of naan, you must include them in your order next time you are planning to visit a restaurant that specialises in Indian cuisine.