Indian Food for Bad Cooks: The Ready-to-eat Naan Project

Making naans is long and delicate, especially for me who only cooks once a year, for my mother’s birthday. Thus, the only way to enjoy good plain naans or cheese naans ( the French are cheese naan faans!) is to go to the restaurant; but I guess what you are going to say: it takes too much time and too much money. Oh yeah! (That was just for the rhyme!)

So, now you are wondering: BUT WHAT CAN SHE DOOOOO????

Take it easy, my dear scarce but faithful readers! I have got my secret weapon: FACTORY-BAKED NAANS!


WARNING: This article is not suitable for honest housewives and traditional Indian people!

 WARNING again: I am not sponsored by any naan brandmarks and I have no deal with anyone!

I have undertaken a comparative survey about all the industrial naans I could find in my neighbourhood, which means quite few, because, as you know it, although the French love India and its culture, Indians are not so numerous in France and they do not have a significant influence on our way of eating. I mean, they do not have as much food power as in Great Britain, for example, where you can find Indian food in any Mark&Spencer or any other grocery.

Well, Let’s go back to today’s subject: Naans!

 The shops chosen for this very serious survey are:

Picard. (Picard is a famous frozen food chain store, they sell only frozen food; and I think there is no real equivalent elsewhere in the world.)

Franprix ( It is a discount supermarket but you can find brand marks too)

Monop’ ( A small supermarket where there is a tiny department dedicated to « foreign» food, which means: Indian, Chinese, Arabic, Mexican or American food.

1) PATAK’S 4 plain mini naans

The look: The packaging is beautiful and elegant. Pink and purple colours and kashmir patterns.

The naans have the right size! Right size for the toaster and right quantity for my stomach!

Their colour is golden. The pear shape is pleasant to look at.

 Preparation: Ready to eat.

 Taste: I tried them cold; they were soft and a little sweet. Not too salty, the flavour of the kalonji seeds was subtle. It tasted a bit like brioche. I must admit I could have eaten them cold without any problems.

After toasting, they were even better. They were not as light and airy as home-made naans, but they were alright for an improvised Indian meal.

 Good point: Their small size and the delicate taste. Can be eaten cold or hot.

 Bad point: They are a bit hard so it is difficult to soak your daal up with it.

 Mark: 8/10 Patak’s are the Indian food specialists, so, it is not surprising to see their naans top of the list.

 A dish? I ate these naans with Patak’s Lime Pickle. (I am a Lime Pickle addict!) but I did not have time (or courage?) to do raita so I just had yoghurt with a sprinkle of Raita Masala, a sort of masala I bought in Jodhpur and I can’t cook without it!

2) PICARD: 2 naans from their selection: « Recettes de l’Inde »

The look: The packaging is pleasant. Purple. A little logo « Cuisine évasion » shows a plane and off we go!

The naan itself has a nice home-made look: an irregular shape and a few brown stains of burning which reminds us of oven-baking. The size is alright for one person.

 Preparation: 1)Picard naans are frozen but you just have to get them into a toaster and wait for a few minutes. You can leave them in the oven too.

2) These naans have something more: they are a little hollow so once they are hot, you can stuff them with cheese spread (Laughing Cow!) and cumin powder or coriander. It’s delicious!

 Tasting: Thanks to the toaster, the outer part of the naan is a little crunchy and the bread is not too thick. The kalonji seeds that they call black cumin seeds, give a nice flavour to the bread.

 Good points: herbs makes the naans tasty and you can stuff them with cheese or sauces or anything you like. It is my ideas of the perfect naan: it is hollow and it swole in the oven.

Bad points: A bit tough when you eat them cold.

 Mark: 9/10  Picard naans taste the most like home-made naans especially because you can turn them into cheese naans or any other kind of naan.

 A dish? Laughing cow inside and a Madras Chicken Potatoes from Picard.

HONEYTOP bought at Franprix

The look: The packaging is simple. I should say, ugly. It doesn’t make me dream of India if you see what I mean.

The naans themselves are huge! Is it bread or a pair of soles for a big-foot man!? They have traces of flames but the information on the pack precises: it is just « style ».

 Preparation: Ready to eat. No preparation required but obviously better hot. So, I cut it into pieces (my toaster was too small) and made it grill.

 Taste: A little the same as Picard’s but not as refined. When cold, it tastes like a kind of thick, compact and salty English bread.

After the toaster operation, it is far better. It is crunchy outside and mellow inside. The flavour of the Kalonji seeds is more powerful.

Good point: The mellowness inside. You can find them in Franprix!

 Bad point: Too large. Half a naan would have been enough for one person.

 Mark: 6/10 These naans lack refinement. Or you have to be very angry!

 A dish? I ate this naan with grilled slices of aubergine, tomato and courgette, onion and garlic, raita masala and two fried eggs. Yummy!

If you want to do your own naans, look at this tuto by Manjula. I love this woman; her accent is charming and her English very clear.

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