The Sweet Ingredients That Make Peshwari Naan Different From Others

Packed with flavor itself, naan is a common accompaniment to a variety of Indian dishes full of spice, such as butter chicken, palak paneer, and chicken tikka masala. A type of flatbread, naan, is baked in a traditional oven called a tandoor, which is made of clay or metal, according to MasterClass. By cooking the leavened bread at a high temperature, the naan becomes glossy and develops blisters on its surface. 

There are many kinds of naan, from simple and plain to those with toppings and others with fillings, such as Peshwari naan, which contains dried fruits and nuts. And with so many different kinds of Indian foods, there is bound to be a naan that will complement its flavors. While the freshest naan may be served at a restaurant or made at home, packaged naans are increasingly available at grocery stores across the country and are often located near pita bread; however, naan and pita bread are distinctly different with naan is softer thanks to the butter it contains. Peshwari naan is also quite different from most other types of naan thanks to its sweet ingredients.

Enjoyed for centuries

Naan has served as a delicious companion to flavorful dishes in India for centuries, with the first documentation of the flatbread made by Sufi poet and scholar Amir Khusrow in 1300 A.D. (per Top Naan). Like so many foods that have been enjoyed for generations, how naan bread came to be is not exactly known; however, the theory is that the bread was first made after the Mughals brought yeast from Egypt to India. During the 16th century, Regal states that royals enjoyed naan with their breakfast. It would remain a luxury item for about two centuries until it began to be enjoyed by a larger group of people.

Top Naan explains that the word "naan" is translated from Persian to mean bread. While naan may first have been enjoyed in the area around India and Pakistan, its popularity grew, and it began to be eaten in China and the Middle East before making its way to Europe. In 1799, an Englishman, William Tooke, first wrote about trying naan.

What is Peshwari naan?

Just one of the many types of naan, Peshwari naan is one of the sweeter varieties thanks to its filling of dry fruit and nuts (via Times of India). According to Fatima Cooks, some of the more common ingredients are coconut, nuts, and raisins. The nuts used are often almonds or pistachios. While Peshwari naan is sweet, especially compared to other versions of the bread. However, Fatima Cooks states that it is not generally sweet enough to be enjoyed as a dessert.

Sprinkles & Sprouts suggests eating Peshwari naan with the Indian curry of your choice. Butter chicken and dal or Peshawari chole have complementary flavors (via Archana's Kitchen). Several recipes for Peshwari naan call for sultanas, which are dried seedless white grapes and are generally juicier and sweeter than other raisins, per The Spruce Eats. Sultanas are generally used in puddings and cakes. Other ingredients used to make Peshwari naan include ghee, yogurt, warm milk, sugar, flour, white sugar, and dry yeast. Fatima Cooks also suggests using cinnamon and cardamon for the filling for a little extra flavor.

How to make Peshwari naan

To make Peshwari naan, the dough must first be created using warm milk and yeast. Once combined in a mixing bowl, the milk and yeast should be allowed to sit for a few minutes, per Fatima Cooks. Next, oil, sugar, egg, and yogurt are added and mixed together before the flour is incorporated. Once the dough has risen and rolled out, the filling can be placed in the center. It's important to seal the filling inside the dough, which is done by pulling the edges of the dough in order to enclose the filling in the middle, according to Times of India. Once the filling is tucked away, the dough should once again be turned into balls and then shaped into ovals before being baked.

The Peshwari naan can be baked in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes or until puffy and with brown spots. For the home cook without a tandoori oven, Fatima Cooks advises that naan can be cooked on a pre-heated griddle on medium-high heat for a few minutes. One final, and optional step, is to brush ghee on the naan before serving to give it a little additional flavor and a glossy appearance. 

How Peshwari naan compares to other types

There are many kinds of naan bread to accompany a variety of dishes, from simple to complex. Some have fillings, while others do not. Plain naan bread is a common variety that goes with just about any dish. It's often thick on the outside but fluffy and soft on the inside, explains Regal. With a little more flavor, garlic and butter naan are two alternatives commonly found on restaurant menus. According to Crazy Masala Food, butter naan is often served at weddings and with gravy dishes. The butter on the naan makes it especially soft.  

Like Peshwari naan, there are several kinds of naan that contain fillings, including paneer naan. A type of cheese, paneer, serves as the filling. While most of the different kinds of naan are vegetarian, one variety, keema naan, is stuffed with seasoned ground lamb. America's Test Kitchen says the naan can also be made vegetarian with veggie protein crumbles, garam masala, chili powder, and coriander.

Whatever your personal taste, or the flavor of your main dish, there is a type of naan just right for the meal. Next time consider adding the Peshwari variety for a hint of sweet flavoring.