Another dish for the Church’s potluck lunch.  I feel like I’m in the Coptic Lent version of the Great British Bake Off.  This week’s theme was Indian and I originally intended to make vegan gulab jamun which was a disaster.  So I switched to naan and it turned out quite well actually with the substitution of coconut yogurt.  The flavor of ghee is hard to replicate but with a blend of oils you can come pretty close.  You might recall last week’s church bake and the marital troubles that ensued.  Well, we came to an agreement which was pretty fair. I do my baking after the kids go to bed or during the little one’s nap.  So, since baking is essential to my mental health I am perfectly willing to wake up a little earlier on church mornings to get things done.  This weekend I was making both naan and chai for church and when I woke up I realized I didn’t have soy milk.  The little man was already awake at 6:30 AM because he had just gotten a new toy with which he wanted to play.  This posed a dilemma.  Little man likes his cereal as soon as he wakes up and the whole point of this exercise was to avoid waking up the Dad and alerting him to my potential child-neglecting activities while I baked.  Some women hide their shopping.  I hide my baking (much trickier).  I pulled it off though and I have assembled some tips for you in case you face a similar challenge one day:
  1.  Prepare an extra large bowl of cereal for your child so that he is barely finished eating it by the time you get back from the store with the soy milk (or other essential item).  In my case, he actually said, “Wow, Mommy, you were fast!”
  2. If another child wakes up and your baking project starts to run over-time then quickly scramble an egg for second child to make it look like you are a totally dedicated mom who feeds [at least one child] a hot breakfast.
  3. Since you went to the trouble of making 1/3 of your children a hot breakfast you can then ask the Dad  to feed her the hot breakfast .  You then have a few minutes to go back to baking (in my case, making naan).
  4. Now, its your turn again.  Since the naan takes 2-3 minutes to blister on each side you can grab the baby, run upstairs and dress her and then run back downstairs by the time the naan needs to be flipped.  Go ahead and gild the lily.  Put a matching barrette in her hair — it will earn you another point in the awesome Mom tally and also serve as a distraction while you continue baking e.g. “Look how cute she looks!”
  5. By now you have proven how dedicated of a Mom you are to the Dad.  You let him sleep in. You mostly provided breakfast to the kids.  You dressed one of them.  Now you must be the first one in the car so that the illusion of got-it-togetherness is complete and you can thus max out on your points later.  For example, “I let you sleep in this morning, so…”
Vegan Naan

6-8 Naan


  • 11⁄4 cups (300 ml) lukewarm water (105-115 F/40-46 C)
  • 1 package (21⁄4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 3⁄4 cups (450 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 cup (61 g) coconut or soy yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp coconut oil + 1 tsp almond oil + 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  • I prefer to use whole wheat pastry flour for rolling out the dough but you can use more AP flour if you prefer
  1. In a small bowl, mix the water, yeast, and sugar together and let stand for 5 minutes, or until creamy and foamy on top.In a mixing or mixer bowl, combine the flour and salt. If using a stand mixer, add the yogurt and yeast mixture, and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together. Change to the dough hook and knead for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. (If making the dough by hand, add the yogurt and yeast mixture and mix until a dough forms.
  2. Knead on a lightly floured work surface for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest until doubled, about 2 hours or refrigerate overnight for a slower fermentation. After fermentation, punch down the dough and divide into 6-8 pieces (depending on how large you like your naan). Roll each piece of dough into a ball on a lightly floured surface. You can do this by rolling it under your palm with your thumb and pinky finger planted on the work surface or by folding the sides of the dough ball underneath it like gathering pursestrings. The idea is to create tension over the top surface of the dough ball. If your dough was refrigerated overnight then cover the balls with a tea towel and let rest at room temperature for about 45 minutes. If the dough is at room temp then cover the dough balls with a tea towel and work with one ball at a time.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  4. With a rolling pin, roll out a dough ball to form an oval about 1/8" thick.
  5. Quickly brush the pan with the oil blend, place the dough onto the pan and cover with a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes on first side or until bubbled up. Flip over, sprinkle with kosher salt and cook another 1-2 minutes or until it starts to form dark brown spots. Remove the naan from the skillet, brush with oil blend and wrap with a tea towel. Repeat with remaining dough and serve. They are best eaten right away but you keep them warm for a few hours by placing the naan wrapped in tea towel inside a dutch oven.

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