The Naan Quest

A pressing take on an easily overlooked but very essential part of our eating out experiences.

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Bread has been one of the most ultimate forms of food for humans since the earliest times. Throughout history, every country and every culture in the world has had their own forms, sizes and shapes of bread. In India, bread forms a vital element in all three meals of the day. From the Paos in Bombay, Luchi in Bengal, Baati in Rajasthan, Parotta in Kerala to the Khamiri Rotis in the North, the collection of breads in India is as diverse as our culture.

However, there is one particular method of cooking bread which is synonymous with our eating out habits, esp. in North India, i.e. The Tandoor. Veteran restaurateurs believe that if you take the Tandoor out of a North Indian restaurant then you are left with just empty chairs and tables. We can make a tandoor at home also by using just a pressure cooker, however, the smokiness in breads from a traditional tandoor is something natural gas as a fuel just cannot replace.

And perhaps the most famous of breads ever cooked in the Tandoor is our humble Naan. It comes in so many variations now that its hard to keep track of all ranging from deliciously stuffed keema to being transformed into a pizza-like abomination aka a Naanza. However, it is an element so heavily pushed in sales in most restaurants by offering 10 different versions against a sparse variety of Rotis & Paranthas and, so deeply ingrained in the routine eating-out experience that we have taken it for granted. Even when we eat at home, tandoori (an upturned cooker serving as the tandoor) naan doesn’t enjoy the same praise as the mutton or the sabzi may receive given the fact that a poorly made roti will always spoil the meal even when the gravy is tasting like a goblet of golden water from the fountain of youth.

The treatment of rotis, paranthas, Naans and Indian breads as edible utensils to scoop up gravies and sabzi doesn’t need to stop but we can stop taking them for granted and start appreciating the rich and pliable nature of all Indian breads esp. the Naan which is already quite famous. There is a silver lining too when I see restaurant businesses flourish and are still famous and clocking in profits for decades by serving just Naans. On this happy discovery, I would like to ask you all, my readers, to suggest the best spots in India where a person can have the most delectable morsels of Indian Breads, be it Kulchas, Naans or even a stuffed roti. I shall try to personally visit, taste your suggestions and publish it here as a laundry list of “The Best Naans (Flat Breads) in India” (I have generalised flat breads as Naans but you can suggest Kulchas, Bakharkhani Roti etc. also. The whole point is to have all the best spots worthy of being included and get ticked off in every foodie’s bucket list)

I have taken the liberty to list some of the nominations below (no ranking):

  1. Keema Naan at Karim’s, India Islamic Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
  2. Mix Parantha at Amrik Sukhdev, Murthal, Sonipat, Haryana
  3. Blue Cheese Naan at Indian Accent, The Lodhi, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
  4. Paneer Naan at New Gole Hatti, Patel Road, West Patel Nagar, New Delhi
  5. Gobhi Naan at Baljeet, Shubham Enclave, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi
  6. Bukhara Naan at Bukhara, ITC Maurya, Sardar Patel Road, New Delhi

Just think and believe that this will be a service to the humankind. Please share your suggestions, comments and opinions freely!

Till next time, keep rocking peeps!

2 thoughts on “The Naan Quest”

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