Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 3½ hours
This combination of flavors—sesame and garlic oils, sesame and nigella seeds, and the sambhar masala on top—works well with Indian-inspired dips and dishes. To enjoy the naan with other combos, think of this more as a flatbread recipe. Use a neutral oil or even an olive oil instead of the sesame and garlic-infused oils. Switch up the seeds or even leave them out. You could leave the garlic out too (but why would you?), and season the top with a different spice blend, dehydrated garlic, or simply, but deliciously, flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
⅔ cup warm water
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
Canola oil, or another neutral oil, for oiling the bowl and brushing the naan
⅔ cup plant-based yogurt
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic-infused oil
1½ tablespoons white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1¾ teaspoons fine sea salt
3½ cups all-purpose flour plus more as needed
Sambhar masala, for sprinkling, optional (see note below)
Put the water in a small bowl. Whisk in the yeast, cover, and let sit in a warm spot until active with some bubbles, about 20 minutes. (If it doesn’t bubble, the yeast could be dead, and it is best to start with new yeast.)
Lightly oil a mixing bowl and set to the side.
This dough can be made by hand or in a stand mixer. Stir together the yogurt, agave, both oils, both seeds, and the garlic. Add the yeast-water mixture, followed by the salt and then the flour. Mix to combine (if using the mixer, low speed for about 2 minutes), then knead until smooth (increase the speed to medium-low, about 5 minutes. This is a stiff dough).
Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl, turning to coat on all sides. Cover the top of the bowl and put in a warm spot until about one and a half times larger, 1½ to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, and form each into a ball. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
Heat a generous film of oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Press the balls into flat ovals or rounds and add to the pan 2 at a time, as long as they aren’t touching, and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Transfer the naan (still on the rack over the pan) into the oven and bake until no longer raw in the center, 15 to 20 minutes.
Brush with a bit more oil and sprinkle with the sambhar masala or seasoning of your choice and serve immediately.
Note on sambhar (or sambar) masala: This ground spice mix of Southern India is traditionally used to flavor its namesake stew, sambhar. Although the blend varies from household to household, curry leaves, dal (split pulses), coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and some chile for heat are the most consistent ingredients.