Monday, January 31, 2011


A few Saturdays back, we had a pizza experimentation night.  And by "we" I mean Asmi was inspired by a recipe she found here and wanted to use us as her taste-testers.  I was, of course, happy to oblige!  Asmi, domesticated goddess that she is, made everything from scratch: the paneer for the pizza, the pizza sauces, and the naan itself.  As you recall from prior experiments, I love home made naan.  I also love home made paneer (oops.  I just realized I never posted about my home made paneer experiment.  Sorry.) because I love how crumbly it is, and the overall taste is (obviously) not processed at ALL.  You can make home made paneer into the cube shape like you get at Whole Foods, but I've never tried that.  And, really, home made paneer is not time consuming at all!  You just have to boil milk, throw in some vinegar or lemon juice, let it curdle, strain it through cheese cloth, and put something heavy on it and let it relax.

Instead of going into detail about what Asmi made, I decided to let her guest blog again!  Thanks Asmi!

Hi everyone!  Thanks pyaari for letting me contribute to your fabulous blog again, I feel special.  :)

Onto naan pizza, I decide I wanted to do spins on 2 of my favorite paneer dishes my mom used to make: palak paneer and kadai paneer.  What I ended up doing is assembling the base as described in the recipe link above, the only change I made was to roast the garlic and ginger in a pan before adding it to the naan dough to bring out more flavor.  For toppings: potatoes on palak sauce and mushrooms on kadai sauce.  I topped each with sauce, covered with paneer and mozzarella, and the toppings.  

Ginger and garlic - class Indian flavors.

Roasting ginger and garlic.

Preparing yeast for the naan dough.

Paneer is ready to go, just need to drain out the whey.

Spices to make the naan extra tasty.

Dough is ready, just needs to rest and double in size.

Palak is a lovely backdrop for chili powder, turmeric, and salt.

Capsicum (aka bell pepper) adds a hint of sweetness to the sauce.

Palak sauce!

Kadai sauce!

Naan's all rolled out.  The naan didn't rise as much as in the original recipe, I think the water I used with the yeast wasn't the optimal temperature.  Intitially, Lavi and I were worried that this wouldn't be enough, but the pizzas were very filling with the toppings, plus we had champagne, wine, bread pudding, ice cream, AND sorbet to help fill us up.  I <3 pyaari dates!

To prep the veggies, I thinly sliced 2 potatoes using a mandolin and placed them in salt water, I did the same for a package of sliced mushrooms.  The salt helps pull water out of the veggies, this helps them cook quickly in the oven and keep the pizza from becoming soggy when water evaporates from the veggies.

Naan + sauce = already yummy

Kadai mushroom pizza here we come!

We were so excited about the aloo palak pizza that I didn't remember to take a picture until after I had already cut it up.

Tandoori Pizza, recipe adapted from various sources

Serves 3-4 people


Palak Sauce
  • 1 package of baby spinach 
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/3-1/2 cup ground cashews, based on desired consistency (I used 1/2 cup)
  • Salt to taste
For the Sauce

1. Chop the onion
2. Blend the spinach with a little bit of water
3. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat
4. Add onion and saute for a few minutes
5. Add ground cashews and saute, quickly stirring to keep cashews from browning too much
6. Add liquid spinach
7. Add turmeric, chili powder, and salt, stir and cook for 10 minutes

Kadai Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 capsicum
  • 1.5 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste (I used fresh ginger and garlic instead)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 medium onions
  • Salt to taste
For the Sauce

1. Chop the onion and thinly slice the capsicum.  Chop fresh garlic and ginger if using.
2. Heat butter in a wok/kadai on medium heat
3. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes
4. Add ginger garlic paste and fry well
5. Add chili powder, cumin coriander powder, turmeric powder, and tomato paste, stir and cook for 10 minutes
6. Add garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes

Naan, recipe adapted from here

  • 200 ml lukewarm water (side note from Jyoti: when I made my bread, I turned my kitchen faucet onto the hottest setting and let it cool for a few minutes)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • oil spray
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  

Combine the sugar and water into a small bowl, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.  Slowly sprinkle the yeast over this mixture, stirring to avoid lumps.  Place the bowl someplace warm until there is froth on top of it - about 15 minutes.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, as well as the cilantro.  Sprinkle the lemon juice over this, and then pour in the frothy yeast mixture.  Mix it all together and knead for about 100 strokes, adding more water as necessary to make a pliable dough.  Cover the bowl and let it rise for at least 1 hour. 

When all the ingredients for the pizza are prepared, knead for another 50 strokes.  Form the dough into a ball and flatten it onto a baking sheet, or pizza pan.  Cover with oil.  

Assemble the pizzas

Top the naan pizzas with the sauce first, and then the toppings.  Cook for about 20 minutes.  Scarf down.  

Wow Asmi! What a great recipe that took a lot of thought and consideration.  Seriously YUM! Can't wait to try more recipes with this naan base and your homemade paneer!

1 comment :

Lavina said...

YUM YUM YUM. cant wait for a repeat :P