Cooking With Naan

Naan is super versatile. A quick visit to our blog (The Stonefire® Spark) and you’ll see what we mean. But it’s not just versatile by way of what you put on it. It’s also versatile by how you choose to warm it up or bake it. Having fun with heat creates a plethora of other fun and interesting uses.

To help explain, we sat down with Alison Jarvest, Head Chef in our Stonefire® Test Kitchen, to get her take on all the different ways you can cook with Stonefire® Naan.

Chef Allison Jarvest, surrounded by vegetables and fresh herbs, cuts a yellow bell pepper in an industrial kitchen to top her naan bread

Let’s start with a simple question…
What is naan?

Naan is a traditional hand-stretched Indian flatbread. At Stonefire®, we stay true to its culinary customs by using the finest ingredients like fresh buttermilk, a clarified butter called ghee, and hand-stretch each naan into its unique teardrop shape. We also bake it in our patented tandoor tunnel oven at a very high heat to emulate a traditional tandoor oven. And in doing so, it gives the incredible texture and taste.

How does heat affect naan?

Heat makes naan, naan! The heat actually cooks the naan in less than 60 seconds – creating a soft, fluffy inside and a bubbly charred outside.

What’s with the bubbles and char?

Bubbles and char are characteristic to naan – bubbles come from the high heat and charring occurs when the dough gets close to the heat source.

Is there a ‘perfect temperature’ for naan? When does it taste the best?

In my opinion, naan tastes best when it’s warm – the warmth really brings out the buttery flavour and soft texture that makes it an amazing meal or an addition to other dishes.

Do I have to heat it in the oven?

Not at all. Naan is very versatile and perfect any season. You can use a grill pan, frying pan, toaster oven, BBQ, or pop it in the microwave if you’re short on time.

What about ‘straight from the freezer’? How do I get the best out of my frozen naan?

I recommend keeping naan frozen until you’re ready to use it. It’s super simple – just take it out and thaw the flatbread for 15 to 20 minutes before topping and baking it. We’ve included simple instructions on the packaging to help you get the best naan experience.

People love to use our naan to make pizzas or flatbreads but what else can it do? Can I make a sandwich with naan?

You absolutely can! We weren’t kidding about the versatility of naan! Start by warming the naan and then top it with your favourite sandwich fillings – or grill it to make a fantastic grilled cheese or panini! Naan is perfectly fine on its own as well – I often warm it up and serve it as a table bread with an oil-based dip.

Any other expert tips on cooking Stonefire® naan?

You can warm naan over an open flame – you just need a gas burner (your stovetop or BBQ side burner). Turn the flame to medium and grab a pair of tongs to hold the naan. Carefully place the naan on the burner and turn constantly, it only takes about 90 seconds to warm the naan. Don’t leave it unattended or it will burn. Remove it from the heat and brush with some butter or olive oil, then sprinkle with grated parmesan – serve immediately!

Chef Alison Jarvest is the Corporate Culinary Chef at the Stonefire® head office in Toronto. She received her Culinary Management Diploma from George Brown College and worked in fine-dining restaurants and food companies until joining Stonefire® 10 years ago. Alison is a certified Pizziolo and has completed 30 hours of intensive training in Artisanal Bread Baking at The International Culinary Center in New York.

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