The History of Naan Bread

Pictonix Co

From za’atar infused doughs to coconut-sprinkled peshwaris, naan breads today have many flavoursome incarnations. While this Asian staple makes a perfect accompaniment to many global cuisines, the existence of naan bread was first documented by 1300AD by the Sufi poet and scholar Amir Khusrow.


Its precise origins are unknown but it’s believed to have been created after yeast arrived in India from Egypt, or that it came from the Mughals. During the Moghul era, naan was served as breakfast for nobility and ‘naan’ means bread in Persian.


The naan we know and love today is likely to have come from around India or Pakistan, and thanks to migration over the centuries, its popularity spread like wildfire across China and the Middle East.


Naan bread was introduced to the West by English historian William Tooke who documented tasting the bread in his 1799 logs. Like the noble Mughals, naan bread was only the preserve of the English aristocracy who enjoyed it, such was the skill and technique to make it.


It wasn’t until the 20th century that naan bread’s popularity exploded across the masses when Indian restaurant Veeraswamy opened on London’s Piccadilly Circus in 1926. Officially London’s oldest Indian restaurant, Veeraswamy soon had customers falling in love with naan bread.


Today, naan bread in all its guises and flavours are a welcome accompaniment to dishes enjoyed all over the world. For the finest tasting naan breads made in London, Top Naan’s incredible naan bread range includes Middle Eastern inspired Za’atar Naan and aromatic Garlic & Coriander Naan.