If you’ve never heard of Peshwari Naan before, don’t worry. I hadn’t either until we accidentally ordered them as a side to our butter paneer and chicken korma when we were holidaying in the Isle of Skye back in 2018. I’m pretty sure my husband ordered them assuming we’d be getting a robust, large naan akin to the ones we get back home in London from all our local takeouts. I don’t know about him, but that’s certainly what I was expecting. We both certainly were not expecting small, sweet coconut stuffed naans garnished with raisins and pistachio nuts.
I’d like to state here and now, those naans were delicious – but just not what we were expecting (or wanting!) at the time! It’s not too nice a sensation when your taste-buds are after savoury and they get sweet. It just hits a lil’ different when you aren’t expecting it! I personally love the combination of sweet and savoury together (a’la Kabuli Pilau), however I just wasn’t sold after that first experience, probably because I didn’t fully understand what it was.
It was many months later, a non-Asian friend of mine asked me for the recipe for ‘those really nice sweet naans you guys make’ – that’s when it all clicked together and I realised… Peshwari Naans are an actual thing! A quick Google search confirmed this… and I suddenly realised I had been missing out big on something amazing all my life.
I experimented that exact same day and pulled through with some delectably sweet, cushiony soft and oh-so indulgent Peshwari naans. I posted them to my Instagram the first time I recreated them last year and have made these on occasion throughout the year. Spiked with just a hint of cardamom and cinnamon, this recipe is such a treat for a bit of chai-time action and so satisfying that you won’t even have to serve anything else alongside it!
Disclaimer here and now: Peshwari naan is often eaten alongside curries too in the British Indian takeout scene. I can understand why – the mild sweetness of the naans would counterbalance the heat of any hot curry for someone who may not be so used to spice. For some, it’s just a preference! However you prefer to eat your Peshwari Naan, with a curry or without, this is a wonderfully easy recipe and something always on my repertoire for when I want to make something special. I made these for my daughters third birthday and my Mother insisted I serve these alongside the main course of Kormas and curries, however the majority of our guests had them for dessert alongside their desi tea.
What are Peshwari Naans?
Peshwari Naans are traditional naans cooked with a stuffed of sugar, coconut, nuts and dried fruit such as raisins. My research drew inconclusive as to whether these have any true link to Peshawar (a city in Pakistan) or whether these are exclusively a British-Indian takeaway thing. Whilst online sources and the name (obvs) does point out a link to Peshawar, friends on my Instagram informed me they have never seen these in their family or even in Peshawar. My conclusion from my inconclusive research was quite simply: these are damn delicious and too good not to have up on the blog, so does it really matter if I don’t know where these are from?
How Do you Cook Peshwari Naan at Home?
Traditionally Naans are baked in a tandoor oven, which is a super hot clay or metal oven used around South Asia. If you’re reading this blog, you likely don’t have access to a tandoor oven. If you do, how luck are you!?
Fret not, we can still cook Naan at home. The two most common options (probably your only options tbh) are to cook it on the hob much like you’d cook roti, or to bake it in a super hot oven. I prefer to cook it on the hob, however I have provided instructions for oven baking too in the recipe.
Tips for Your Peshwari Naan
- The measurements for the stuffing are super forgiving, honestly. The measurements I have provided are for a mild sweetness – they’re definitely sweet but not sweet enough to satisfy perhaps the strongest sweet tooth. You can totally play around with the measurements to adjust the flavour to your liking
- Be prepared to generally play around with the quantity of filling you prefer for the naan too. Use the following recipe as a starting point – you may find you prefer more filling or maybe even less
- My preferred nuts for this recipe are almonds, pecans and pistachios. Please double check to ensure the nuts you use aren’t salted, as that really impacts the overall flavour
- For a modern twist, try adding some chocolate chips!
- The dried fruit are optional. Many people don’t tend to like raisins in their food – if so, you can serve them on the side so those who would like to have them can do so. That’s what I’ve done in the images shown
- You can garnish these with icing sugar, chopped nuts, whipped cream – you can really get creative!
- These have a tendency to harden upon cooling thanks to the sugar in the stuffing, therefore these are best served immediately. If you do need to store these, wrap up well in foil so no air can get through and keep at room temperature so the naans don’t harden
Enjoy, with love x
For the Naan
- 1 cup (250ml) warm milk
- 1 packed yeast
- 1tbsp any neutral oil (e.g. sunflower oil) OR 1tbsp coconut oil
- 1tbsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 4tbsp full-fat yogurt
- 600-700g plain flour
For the stuffing
- 0.5 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
- 0.5 cup (110g) white sugar
- 0.5 cup nuts (70g), finely chopped (not salted)
- 2tbsp dried fruit (optional)
- 80g melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, add the warm milk and proceed to add the yeast. Allow to set for a few minutes
- Add the oil, stir in, followed by the sugar, egg and then yogurt. Whisking in with each addition
- Gradually add in the flour 1/4 at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon. Eventually you will need to knead the flour with your hands. Add in just enough flour to get a firm dough that isn't wet to touch.
- Brush with oil, cover with clingfilm and set aside for at least 1 hour to allow it to rise
- As you wait for the naan dough to rise, mix together all the ingredients for the stuffing. Taste test and adjust to your liking
- Divide your dough into 8 equal balls. Work one naan at a time, flouring the surface as needed to ensure the dough doesn't stick
- Roll out one dough ball until it is about the side of your hand
- Add about 3tbsp of the filling into the centre of the naan
- Pinch together the sides of the dough as shown in the images, then flatten with your palm
- Roll this out, careful to ensure the naan doesn't stick to the surface and that the naan doesn't tear
- Transfer this onto a pre-heated griddle pan on medium high heat. Allow one side to cook for a few minutes, then flip the naan using a spatula and cook the other side. Cook as needed until both sides are spotted golden as shown in the images
- Brush with some unsalted butter or ghee (optional step) and set in a warm place covered as you prepare the rest of the naan
- Serve warm and fresh!
To bake these naans in the oven, pre-heat your oven to 200 and cook each naan for 2 minutes each atop greaseproof paper until you see golden spots.