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Not Your Bubbe’s Brunch: Naan Bread with Salmon and Paneer Cheese

Is there anything more Jewish than a bagel with cream cheese and lox? Many a Sunday have started, right foot forward, with the help of this classic sandwich. In honor of Purim (which begins this Saturday night and continues through Sunday), I decided to give the lox bagel a “nahafoch hu” spin by flipping it into a lovely fresh flatbread.

My favorite type of bagel is an everything bagel, with its sharp blend of seasonings. As we all know, Bubbies get a lot of things right, such as the combination of an everything bagel’s spices with silky salmon and rich cream cheese. This recipe—made with naan bread and paneer cheese—definitely packs the flavorful punch of an everything bagel, while giving the fish a real chance to shine alongside the dairy.

You should be able to pick up paneer cheese from your local Indian grocery store—if you can’t find any, ricotta is a good substitute. The recipe has multiple steps, but you can cook the salmon separately in advance, and prepare the dough whenever convenient.

It’s a cinch to make this flavorful Indian bread filled with garlic and cilantro, and it’s a fun, original way to start off your Purim seuda (festive meal). Purim is all about celebrating the unexpected, whether it’s being saved from our enemies at the last minute, or re-working traditional Sunday brunch into a new culinary experience.

Naan Bread with Salmon and Paneer Cheese (serves 6)


2 garlic cloves (minced)
¾ tsp ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 lb salmon fillet

Naan Bread:
1 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
¾ cup warm water
2 cups bread flour
1 tsp sea salt
4 garlic cloves (diced)
1 tsp cilantro
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp butter (diced)
1/3 cup paneer cheese or ricotta cheese


1. Combine the garlic and spices in a small bowl. Add the oil and vinegar and combine, creating a paste-like texture. Rub the paste on top of the salmon and allow it to marinate for at least 3 hours.

2. After the salmon is done marinating, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

3. Roast your salmon for 10 minutes on the top rack. The salmon should be browned but not entirely cooked through. (You’ll continue cooking it later.)

4. With a fork, create small flakes of salmon before setting aside for later use.

5. Start making the paneer bread by combining the yeast, 1 tsp sugar, and warm water together in a medium bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes until the yeast starts to foam.

6. Combine the flour, salt, remaining sugar, garlic, and cilantro in a large bowl.

7. Once the yeast has foamed, add the olive oil to the yeast mixture.

8. Add the yeast mixture to the large bowl with the flour mixture. Knead it together by hand until it creates a soft and sticky dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 4 hours.

9. When the dough is ready, divide it into six equal balls and heat a large frying pan over a medium high heat. In addition, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and cover two cookie sheets with wax paper.

10. Place one ball on a lightly floured surface. Flatten your dough ball with a rolling pin until it’s about ¼ an inch thick. Traditionally, paneer bread is shaped like tear drop, but it’s delicious no matter what way you roll it.

11. Melt a few pieces of margarine in the pan and then place one of your flattened pieces of dough in the pan.

12. While the bottom half of your dough cooks, place flecks of salmon and small mounds of paneer or ricotta cheese over the top of the dough. Cook the dough in the pan until the sides begin to brown.

13. Place the half cooked dough on top of your cookie sheet and spray the top of the dough with oil.

14. Repeat the last four steps with the remaining 5 balls of dough.

15. Bake the paneer bread on the top shelf of the oven for about 7 minutes, or until the dough seems entirely firm.

16. Serve immediately.

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