Afghan flatbread or Nân-i Afğânī is the national bread of Afghanistan. The bread is oval or rectangular and baked in a tandoor, traditionally made using a starter referred as the Khamir Toursh. In modern recipes, yeast is used and it is baked in Oven.
I adapted my Afghan flatbread from this recipe. Afghan FlatBread or Afghan Nan are loaves that are long oval shaped, measuring about three feet long, speckled with Nigella seeds. These are traditionally cooked in a clay oven/tandoor built into the earth. The searing hot wall of the tandoor cooks this bread in minutes and tastes out of the world when it is piping hot straight out of the oven.
Afghan Nan is my first choice in this A to Z Flatbreads, where I am cooking 26 flatbreads in A to Z English Alphabetically order across the globe, with a sub theme of 4 different categories like Flatbreads for Lunch, Breakfast, Street Food and my own twist to the Sweet Dishes.
When I started checking out the different flatbreads, I read about Afghan Flatbread and didn’t go any further. I came across this wonderful post that talked so much about this Afghan Flatbread and how it is made. The author also shared a traditional recipe with loads of tips about making it in an oven.
Traditionally Nan is made using a starter referred as the Khamir Toursh but this recipe is made using packet yeast. Another factor is having the oven to very high temperature and sprinkling the bread with water in intervals of baking. I believe Afghans eat a lot of this nan, for almost every meal.
I paired it with a creamy mutter masala and it was so delicious. In fact, Konda and Peddu eat it as such before I could even offer the gravy!
I made half of the recipe, quoting the original recipe below for reference.
If you are interested to know what’s A for Street Food, Check my other space.
In A to Z International Flatbreads
A for Afghan Flatbread
Step by Step Pictures for making Afghan Flatbread
Afghan Flatbread | How to make Afghan Nan
5 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Salt
1 packet Instant Yeast
5 tsp. Cooking Oil
2 cups Water warm
1 tsp Nigella seeds (optional)
1 spray bottle filled with water
Making the Dough
Put the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade. Process it for a few seconds to mix the ingredients. Next, add the oil to the flour.
Now slowly add the water to the flour with the processor running. Depending on how the dough comes together, add or continue processing. After a few minutes, the dough will come together in one smooth lump and it will move around the food processor. Let is swirl a couple of time and then it’s ready to rest.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the bread by hand. Pour all the dry ingredients in a big bowl and mix well. Add oil and mix further. Gradually add the water and knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes the dough is smooth and elastic. Once the dough is done, set it in a large bowl, cover with cling film and keep in a warm place for 2 hours. Punch down the dough. It is ready to be baked. I normally preheat my oven and rest the dough after preheating is done with oven switched off.
Baking the Bread
Preheat oven to 500 F/ 260 C. In my oven highest is only 215, so I had to bake at this temperature only.
Spread some flour on the work surface. Ensure the dough doesn’t stick to your hands by dusting well. Divide the dough into three balls and work it gently into an oval that measures about 1 ½ feet long and ½- inch thick.
As you stretch the dough it will pick up some of the flour from the work surface, make sure that you add more flour or the dough will stick to the work surface. Once the dough is shaped make three deep lines (don’t cut the dough) lengthwise on the surface of the dough with a knife.
Once the oven is very hot, gently lay the shaped dough onto the baking tray and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Gently press the seeds into the dough. Place the dough in the oven, spray 5-6 times with your spray bottle and bake for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, spray the bread around 5-6 times and continue to bake for another 5 minutes. The nan should be golden brown and crusty on the outside. Since I couldn’t find my spray bottle, I sprinkled water over the bread.
Once the bread is baked, let it sit for few minutes, before you cut into 3 inch squares or however you want to serve.
I served it with a creamy peas gravy.
The original recipe calls for bread flour, I just replaced it with regular flour.