This Stuffed Naan Recipe with Candied Carrots, Cashews and Coconut is a unique addition to your Thanksgiving meal.
Think beyond the standard rolls this holiday season. This naan recipe will surprise and delight guests with its sweet taste and tender crust.
When Kevin and I lived in New Haven, Connecticut, despite being young and broke, we frequented this little Indian restaurant. It was a hole-in-the-wall, unassuming joint that served all the usuals like samosas, biryani, aloo gobi, and lamb pasanda.
But they also had a special naan stuffed with nuts and coconut that was sweet and delightful. We LOVED this bread!!! After we moved, we longed for it but no other Indian restaurants served it. When we visited New Haven a few years ago we were disappointed to learn that the restaurant had changed hands and that they no longer served this particular naan. Total and complete sadness followed this unfortunate news. But a light of hope was on the horizon!
Until recently, we hadn’t done a lot of bread baking. Then we took a class on grilling pizza at Sur la Table which inspired us to try new things. So, I figured why not try to recreate this special naan? How hard could it really be? I started with the New York Times recipe for naan, but bread aside, I was mostly concerned with getting the filling right.
After some internet sleuthing to find the old menu I came upon listing for Royal Special Naan that read, “clay oven bread stuffed with fresh grated coconut, nuts and a touch of sugar”. Sounds right, but we both remembered the filling being orange, so I took a guess and went with carrots.
I’m happy to say we hit the nail on the head! This naan recipe is stuffed with a sweet candied filling of carrots, cashews and coconut and tastes just like we remember. It’s baked on a pizza stone to give it that crispy outer texture but soft inside. Tasting the sweet, yeasty bread was like stepping into a time machine. The feeling was indescribable!
Now I’m passing this recipe on to you, so you can break bread with your loved ones. You can make this recipe any time of year, but I love the idea of serving this naan for the holidays. The flavors go great with the traditional turkey meal. Its sweet and savory and perfect for mopping up that extra gravy! Extra bonus is that each naan takes only two minutes to bake, so you can prep the dough in advance, refrigerate it before the second rise and bake it immediately before serving dinner. Or if you are short on oven space, you can grill this naan recipe on the barbecue too!
An eclectic Thanksgiving meal seems natural since we are such a melting pot here in the United States. I’m thankful for the diverse cuisines we get to experience! Aren’t we lucky?
- 4 carrots grated
- 1 cup cashew pieces
- ½ cup Turbinado sugar
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 TB oil (canola, vegetable, coconut) or ghee
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 4 TB water or more
- 2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast 1 envelope
- 2 TBSP granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup warm water, (110 - 115 degrees fahrenheit)
- 4 1/2 cups AP flour plus some for dusting
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 TBSP whole milk
- 2 TBSP vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil plus some for coating the bowl
- 3 TBSP melted butter or ghee
- Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan
- Cook over medium heat until carrots are soft and mixture is fragrant and water has cooked off, about 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside
- Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl, stir to mix
- Let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes)
- Sift the remaining dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
- Combine the milk, yogurt, egg oil and warm water in a small bowl
- Add the yeast mixture and the wet ingredients to the mixing bowl.
- Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, between 5 and 8 minutes. (if the dough is too sticky you can add flour as needed.
- When the dough is being kneaded, coat the inside of a mixing bowl with oil.
- Turn out the dough into the mixing bowl and turn to coat it.
- Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and place in a warm location
- Let the dough rise until it has doubled in volume, between an 60 and 90 minutes.
- Punch down the dough
- Divide it into 8 equal portions and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet
- Cover with a lightly damp kitchen towel and leave to rise until doubled again, about 60 minutes.
- Working with one dough ball at a time, on a floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 6 inches in diameter
- Brush off excess flour
- Spread the filling (about 2 tsp) around the top of the dough leaving a 1/2 -3/4 inch edge
- Gather up the edges of the dough so it looks like a pouch and flatten the dough.
- Roll out the dough a second time to a seal in the filling
- Repeat for all remaining dough balls
- Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack of your oven
- Preheat your oven's broiler (about 450 degrees)
- Place one or two Naan on the pizza stone and let them cook until they are puffed and toasted (about 2 minutes)
- Turn the naan over and toast the bottom side if needed/desired
- Broil for another 20-30 seconds
- Remove from the oven and brush with butter/ghee.
- Cut naan into pieces for serving.
- This naan recipe makes 8 whole naan. Calories are based on each naan being cut into 4 pieces.
- Naan can also be grilled! Check out this Serious Eats recipe for instructions on grilling naan.
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