When dining at an Indian restaurant, an order of naan is one the essential items to consume. Even Indians always order naan at Indian restaurants, because it is not a type of Indian bread that is typically made at home. (Truly authentic naan should be cooked in a super hot clay tandoor oven, with charcoal or firewood, and that is not something most us have at home.) Traditional naan is made with white flour mixed with yeast as the leavening agent, which is then cooked in a tandoor. The final product is a pillowy flatbread that is then served plain or brushed with butter. Naan is usually eaten as an accompaniment to the many savory Indian gravy-laden dishes like korma, kofta, and daal, where you can use the naan as a vehicle to mop up all the sauces and chutneys and gravies. In recent years chefs have grown creative with various naan toppings, ranging from sesame seed naan to blue cheese naan. The chefs in our local D.C. restaurants have also taken a turn for the imaginative when it comes to making naan. Here are the most exciting options currently offered in the city.
Bindaas’ Spinach and Paneer Naan
Doughy naan stuffed with creamy spinach and heaps of fresh paneer. This is the best naan in town. It is super savory, with the earthiness of spinach and the richness of cheese. It comes glistening in a silver bowl, perfect for dipping in one of Bindass’ delicious karees.
Rasika West End’s Truffle Naan
If you are looking for the most decadent naan in town, this is the one for you. Drenched in truffle oil, this naan has the heady scent of truffles and the bread itself is doughy and crispy and burnt in all the right spots.
Karma Modern Indian’s Cheese and Herb Naan
For a naan that is almost like a white pizza, head to Karma Modern Indian. Smothered in melted cheese and adorned with fresh herbs like cilantro. The naan is chewy and rich, and frankly can be eaten as its own dish rather than an accompaniment!
Punjab Grill’s Whiskey Smoked Sugar Naan
It’s a little sweet and very heady; this may be our city’s most unique naan yet. The bread itself is light and crispy and the sweetness is not overpowering. I would sample it on its own to taste the unusual flavor before dipping in it anything!
Jewel of India’s Peshwari Naan
Peshwari naan is baked stuffed with raisins and pistachios, adding a divine sweet and crunchy element. It is typically brushed with butter at the end, which of course makes it even better. It hails from Peshawar, Pakistan.
Pappe’s Garlic Naan
While garlic naan isn’t so unique, the one at Pappe is particularly divine. With heaps of garlic bits dotting the bread, a smattering of herbs and plenty of butter, the fragrance alone of this naan will have you swooning. Just don’t kiss anyone afterwards!
Indique’s Butter Naan
It sounds simple, but when the dough is cooked just right and is smothered with melted butter there are few things that are better.
Masala Art’s Rock Salt and Cilantro Naan
Cilantro is heavily used in Indian food; its bright citrusy flavor is a great match to the strong, warm spices used in Indian food. The sprinkling of rock salt adds just a bit of salt and crunch, and takes this naan to a different level.