The first Indian heritage chef to be awarded a Michelin star, Vineet Bhatia has launched an online cooking course with BBC Maestro. Featuring 30 easy-to-follow lessons, the course provides a chance for budding chefs to learn how to cook dishes from Vineet Bhatia’s restaurants and cookbooks, as well as learning other tips and tricks for cooking delicious Indian food at home. The course features recipes for dishes such as Malali broccoli, Keralan vegetable stir fry, this classic naan recipe, and more.
On the launch of his BBC Maestro course, Vineet Bhatia said: “Through my unique approach, I have become widely regarded as the ‘father’ of progressive Indian cooking; marrying East and West to challenge perceptions of my native cuisine to redefine and revolutionise Indian fine dining in the UK, and displaying my continuous devotion to creating something new. You can’t get there however without the foundations! My aim in these videos and in these courses notes is to transform you into a confident cook who is not afraid to experiment and who can push boundaries in the same way, once you have the basics absolutely nailed. Anything and everything around me, influences me — plates, magazines, people with opinionated likes and dislikes, my travels. Inspiration can strike anywhere, and I want you to be just as inspired.
“Bread is an important part of Indian cuisine, and naan is probably the most popular of all those breads. It is the perfect vehicle on which other dishes so often ride: for scooping up sauces, for loading with chutneys and wiping your plate clean. It is satisfyingly soft and chewy in places and toasted and crisp in others. Part of the magic of naan comes from its cooking inside a tandoor, a place of intense heat that bubbles and scorches the bread in places. You may not have a tandoor at home, but that is no problem, neither do I. This is how I make authentic naan at home.
“A nice piece of naan dipped into some sauce is absolutely fantastic.”
- Griddle pan
- 500 g strong bread flour plus extra for dusting
- 6 g salt
- 10 g caster sugar
- 1 ½ tsp black onion seeds nigella seeds
- 7 g yeast
- 175 ml milk
- 125 g yoghurt
- 1 tbsp melted ghee plus a little extra for drizzling
- Flour for dusting
- Vegetable oil for slicking
To serve (Vineet Bhatia’s variation)
- Softened butter
- Roasted pepper pieces
- A few pieces of sundried tomato
- A sprinkling of fresh rosemary
- Crumbled feta
- Place all of the ingredients, except for the extra ghee, in a large bowl and roughly mix together. When the dough begins to come together, get your hands in and knead the dough. This dough does not need to be kneaded heavily into a smooth ball. The dough is ready when you feel there is no more dry flour.
- Drizzle over the extra ghee and turn the dough in the fat to roughly slick. Tightly cover the dough with a damp muslin or tea towel and leave for 30 minutes to rest.
- After 30 minutes, gently tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and with gentle hands shape the dough into a ball. Using lightly floured hands, divide the dough into 8 roughly equal sized balls and place on to a floured tray. Cover again with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for another 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, uncover the dough balls which should have risen a little. Take one ball of dough at a time and coat generously in flour. Use your palm to push the dough into a disc, then use your fingers to push the edges out evenly. You are aiming for a rough circle about 12-15cm in diameter. Lightly oil your hands and gently pick up the dough.
- “Slap” the dough from hand to hand to thin it even further. Your naan can be a circle, or you can create the classic teardrop shape by pulling down one of the edges.
- Place the dough directly on to a hot griddle. Cook the naan over a medium to high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side. Repeat the process with the remaining doughs.
- For my favourite variation, brush the naan with butter, and top with roasted peppers, sundried tomato pieces, a sprinkling of rosemary needles and a few chunks of crumbled feta. Place the topped naan in a hot oven for a few minutes and remove when the tomatoes have browned a little and the cheese has melted.
Modern Indian Cooking with Vineet Bhatia is available to purchase now on bbcmaestro.com – The full price is £80 for lifetime access to 30 lessons, including written course notes.