Two of my favourite things in the world are naan and pizza. I love them in all shapes and forms from classic peshwari naan to hybrid naan pizzas – especially when they involve cheese, green veggies and lashings of garlic. I’ll be honest, getting home from a long day at work and sitting down to a naan pizza made with shop-bought garlic and coriander naan and leftover paneer butter masala is one of the most incredible dinners ever! Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.
Here’s a simple recipe that celebrates my love of naan and pizza in an easy-to-eat fashion. My recipe for naan pockets uses crumbled paneer and crushed peas as a stuffing for the deliciously-light and buttery naan envelopes. They’re folded into the classic teardrop shape, brushed with a mixture of butter and turmeric, sprinkled with kalonji seeds, and then baked in a hot oven until golden.
If you’re not a fan of paneer, these are also great with a filling of grated broccoli and spinach, steamed sweet potato, and cauliflower and green chilli cooked in the exact same way as I do the paneer and peas filling.
To serve, slice the pockets in half and serve with a bowl of my spicy pizza dip which is infused with a touch of garam masala, green chillies and ground coriander.
These are the perfect party nibbles, starters for an Indian meal and a sure-fire hit with kids. I even love them for dinner, served with both the spicy pizza dip and a cooling cucumber raita.
Stuffed Naan Pockets with Spicy Pizza Dip
Makes 18-20 mini pockets
For the naan dough:
310g strong white bread flour
7g fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp kalonji (nigella seeds)
1 small clove garlic
1 tbsp plain yoghurt
2 tbsp sunflower oil
135ml warm water
For the peas and paneer stuffing:
250g shop-bought paneer, cubed
130g frozen peas, thawed
1 clove garlic
2 green chillies
1 inch piece ginger, peeled
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbsp crème fraiche
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped finely
2 tbsp sunflower oil
To brush the pockets:
¼ tsp turmeric
For the spicy pizza dip:
2 large tomatoes
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
1 clove garlic
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
First, make the naan dough. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt kalonji seeds and garlic. In a separate jug, whisk together the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil and yoghurt. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Bring together using a spoon and then your hands. Knead for 10 minutes. The mixture may seem stick at first, but keep kneading and it’ll come together. Grease the bowl with come oil, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend together all the ingredients for the spicy pizza dip in a food processor. Add the mixture to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and allow to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.
To make the stuffing: in a food processor, blend the garlic, chillies and ginger. Remove and set aside. Next, pulse the peas a few times until coarsely chopped. Remove and set aside. Repeat the same process with the paneer. Bring the peas and paneer mixture together in a bowl. Heat a saucepan and add the oil. Sauté cumin seeds and the garlic, ginger and chilli mixture until aromatic. Add the peas and paneer mixture, black pepper, salt, crème fraiche and coriander and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a few baking trays with greaseproof paper and spritz with non-stick cooking spray.
To fold the pockets: take the risen naan dough and knock out all of the air. Take a ping pong ball-sized amount and roll into a ball. Use and rolling pin to roll into 3-inch in diameter round. Don’t add any extra flour – the oil in the dough should stop it from sticking too much. Take a tablespoon full of the cooled stuffing mix and place into the middle of the dough. Starting with the top and bottom of the dough, pull the dough around the filling, pinching the dough to seal until you get to the outer edges. Ensure the dough is well sealed without any cracks by pinching it all together until smooth.
Roll the dough gently until around 3 inches in diameter. Then use your hands to gently pull the top of the dough into a teardrop shape. Place the other side up on the greased and lined baking tray and repeat for the rest of the pockets.
Use a sharp knife to make small holes (not all the way through) in the naan pockets. Melt the butter and whisk in the turmeric – this will give them a lovely golden colour. Brush the pockets generously with the butter mixture and sprinkle on the kalonji seeds.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden all over.
Serve hot from the oven with the warm spicy pizza dip.