Noon Barbari (Persian Bread) & Nazkhatun (Eggplant dip)
I have been meaning to make this bread and this dip for sometime now. In March I had visited my parents in Kuwait and we ate nazkhatun at a Persian restaurant. It was delicious and an instant hit on our table. It does need a special ingredient – pomegranate molasses which adds this amazing flavor to the dip and make it unique. The dip has this tart flavor from the molasses and the freshness from mint – all this complimented with the smokiness of eggplant (which comes from grilling the eggplant) makes one dynamic combination of flavors. Although I didn’t but you can also add some pomegranate seeds in the dip for sudden bursts of flavor.
The bread – noon barbari is a lot like naan, the Indian bread you mostly get at the restaurants….and I am pretty sure that the word noon is connected with naan somewhere. Its a beautiful bread, very large and a lot thicker than naan and is baked with this glaze made out of water and flour smeared all over it. Once the dough proofs and you roll out the bread, you make length wise indentations using your index fingers. As a result, once the bread bakes you can tear/cut it into long strip and eat it like bread sticks with a dip of your own choice - hummus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki or nazkhatun. It should taste pretty awesome with all of them. I love breads so much that I could just eat it as is or with a cup of hot beverage. Before baking, you sprinkle a lot of sesame seeds (preferably white & black) and that gives the bread a lot of flavor. Its an easy and achievable recipe – take it from a person who has failed miserably at making loafs of bread at home over and over again.
On another note – I will be MIA for a couple of weeks as I will be traveling. Next week is my anniversary and birthday (in that order) week and I am looking forward to some alone time with my man! I am also looking forward to picking up some new recipes and ingredients from my travel and then sharing it with you guys upon my return. Till then make is easy bread and dip and feel like a pro ;)
For Noon Barbari
3 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups + ½ cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
Sesame seeds to sprinkle
- Dissolve yeast in half cup warm water with 2 tsp sugar.
- In a separate large bowl whisk together flour and salt.
- Once the yeast is activated, add it to the flour and knead to form dough adding 1 tbsp warm water at a time. When the dough comes together a little bit, transfer it to a well floured surface and knead for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add very little flour while kneading (if needed) if the dough sticks to your hands. This step can also be done in a stand mixture if you have one.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and keep it in a warm spot for 1.5 to 2 hours or till it doubles in size.
- Meanwhile prepare the glaze (see below)
- Once the dough is doubled, divide it in two equal parts.
- On a floured surface flatten each part out into an oval shaped bread about 1/2″ thick. Use your hands to stretch and pull for this step. You can also use rolling pin for help.
- Spread about 2 tablespoon of glaze on the bread. Spread to cover the dough completely.
- Using your index finger punch the dough down to form several long parallel ridges (lengthwise) along the bread.
- Sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds and bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 20 minutes.
- Repeat with the second part of dough.
For the Glaze
2 tbsp all purpose flour
½ cup water
- In a deep sauce pan combine flour and water and using a whisk mix well to form a lump free mixture.
- Cook over medium low while stirring continuously to form a thick glaze.
- Cool completely before using.
1 big eggplant
1 medium tomato, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
- With the help of a fork, prick the eggplant (at 5 to 6 spots) and roast it (with skin on) in the oven at 400 F for 1 hour. If you have a stove top with burner then this step can be done on the flame as well.
- Once charred and cooked through, place the eggplant in a large bowl and cover with a plastic wrap for 15 minutes.
- Peel the eggplant and mash the pulp till its of a uniform consistency.
- In a sauce pan heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook on medium low till it becomes fragrant.
- Add onions and continue to cook till they turn soft.
- Add tomatoes and cook till most of the liquid is evaporated.
- Add eggplant and stir well.
- Add molasses, salt and mint and mix well. Taste to adjust the seasoning.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.