eliot & drew bike through india for 3 months, trying to inconspicuously do some good in the world.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Food of India, part III: naan

naan is actually a generic term although you will hear people say "i love naan bread." this is pretty much the equivalent of saying "i like bread" which, while perhaps true, is a little vague.  naan just means flat bread (often JUST "bread"), usually leavened with yeast. and, yes, the typically variety you get in an indian or middle eastern restaurant is delicious. i can't fault you there.

in the north of india, heavily influenced by greek and arabian culture, you'll find naan is the staple, and the back-bone of every meal (conversely, in the humid south, rice is king).  naan comes in a bunch of forms - from buttered breakfast varieties, to sugar sweets. roti is a "pocketed" variety of naan, sometimes called india pita.

it's common throughout asia to eat with one's hands (always the right!) and bread and rice act as utensils.  don't believe me? let's take a trip down to the india buffet around the corner: you'll see old and young alike grab a pinch of rice or naan, drop it into the daal and pick the whole shooting-match up to munch on. before you freak out about the nastiness of eating with one's hands, i highly suggest you go take a peak at the kitchen staff at your favorite restaurant. think every single one of those forks and spoons is getting a sanitized scrubbing? think again. at least with your hands you're in control of how clean they are.

i'm not sure what else to say about naan so i'll just drop a link here to a much greater authority on the subject of making naan, Manjula. looooooove that accent.

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