I’ve long had a thing for naan, which is one of the softest, most delicious breads I’ve ever had (I think the yogurt helps make it fluffy and have a delicious flavor). Naan is also really fun to make – you slap the bread into a hot pan and within 2 minutes you’ve got a puffy, slightly blackened base for a zillion toppings, in this case a pomegranate-studded cauli carpet and a super savory lamb one filled with pine nuts, mint, and lots of other good things. Note for the labneh under the cauliflower: Rosewater (this is the one we used) can go from slightly floral to feeling like you’re washing your mouth out with a bar of rose-scented soap. Start with 2 drops and work up from there.
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ⅔ cup warm water (like cooled bathwater)
- ¼ cup whole-milk yogurt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pound ground lamb
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- Chopped fresh mint, for garnish
- 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed into florets
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 cup labneh yogurt, or thick Greek yogurt
- Drop or two of rose water (optional)
- ⅓ cup toasted pistachios
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
- Chopped fresh mint, for garnish
Make the naan: Stir the yeast, sugar and water together in a small bowl and let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. (If it doesn’t foam, it’s dead; start over.) After the 10 minutes, whisk the yogurt and olive oil.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast-yogurt mixture to the flour and start to knead it right in the bowl until it just comes together but is still sticky, about 2 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, 2 hours.
While the dough is resting, prepare the lamb and cauliflower toppings:
For the lamb topping: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, cumin, cinnamon, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lamb, pine nuts, and salt and cook until lamb is tender and cooked through, 8 to 9 minutes. Season with more salt and cover to keep warm.
For the cauliflower topping:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss the cauliflower, olive oil, and salt in a large bowl, arrange on a large sheet pan and roast, stirring once, until slightly charred and cooked through about 16 to 18 minutes. While cauliflower is cooking, whisk together the labneh and rosewater in a bowl.
Bake the naan: Uncover the dough and place it on a clean, lightly floured surface; have a small pile of flour near you for use. Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 4 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough into an 8 x 4- inch oval (or 6-inch rounds if you want). Sprinkle the tops lightly with flour and cover with a kitchen towel. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until fully heated, about 3 minutes. One at a time lay the naans in the skillet and cook until bubbles form and there are some charred areas, 1 minute per side. Arrange a clean kitchen towel in a large bowl and as you make the naan, place them in the bowl and keep them covered with a towel to keep warm.
Top and serve the naan: To finish the lamb naan, spoon some of the filling on a naan, drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with mint. To finish the cauliflower naan, spread some labneh on bread and top with cauliflower, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pistachios. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with mint. Enjoy!