I love pizza. I mean who doesn’t right? But I’ve never dared make it by myself. In India there are many dishes or desserts that we just do not make at home. I’m not sure why. It’s not laziness, because I know how much time the women spend in their kitchens making things from scratch on a daily basis. I think its that some stuff we just don’t want to make because its special when we go out and eat them at restaurant. Its just a separation we make.
I was only introduced to the fabulous pizza in my very late teens when I moved home from a small little town, where I grew up to the big city of New Delhi, to go to University. It was only then that I knew of the existence of the pizza. Maybe that’s why because it has been a foreign food to me, something you only ate on the go, outside of the house, that I didn’t even think of trying to make it at home.
I mean I have a ten year old that looooves pizza. That should be reason enough you would think. I think a big reason is, I am afraid to make bread. Because I think I will suck at it. How do the people that bake make it look so perfect. I just couldn’t do that. Or at least thats what I think.
So, it is with much trepidation that I decided to make this pizza. This pizza is inspired by Heather Christo’s shrimp pizza. I mean I looked at it and I immediately thought peas and paneer! Her pizza looks so fantastic, doesn’t it? I do also have to give credit to a dear blogger friend that makes me want to bake bread all the time. I may not still do it (stupid fears!) but Emilie, from The Clever Carrot is a huge inspiration. It was her brioche buns that first got me to try baking. And I loved it. Working with flour and your hands is really an intensely satisfying process. It has also taught me how to be patient.
This pizza has a huge North Indian favourite dish dressing the crust: Matar Paneer. Matar paneer was a staple growing up. And it is unbelievably delicious. The flavours, the soft creaminess and tanginess of the sauce enveloping the tender peas and the firm and yet soft paneer is like an experience in your mouth like no other.
- For the Sauce
- ¾ cup fresh or frozen peas
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 200 grams, homemade or store-bought, cubed small
- ¼ cup
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- 1 inch piece cinnamon
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsps coriander powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsps kashmiri chilli powder, you can get this at any Indian store or substitute with paprika powder
- salt to taste
- 1 inch ginger, finely grated
- ¾ cups water
- 1 tsp kasuri methi, crushed between palms
- Fresh cilantro & ginger juliennes to garnish and serve
- For the Pizza Crust (recipe from here)
- 1¼ cups warm water
- 4 tbsps sugar
- 1½ tsps instant yeast
- 4 tbsps vegetable oil
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- For the sauce, blend the tomatoes along with garlic to a fine puree. Set aside.
- Soak the paneer cubes in warm water. Set aside.
- Heat up the oil in a large pot. Add the onions along with cardamom, clove, cinnamon & cumin seeds. Saute for 5-6 minutes till the onion start to turn light brown. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to sauté for a few minutes.
- Add the dry spices next and sauté for less than a minute. Add the blended tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Let cook slowly till you see the oil separating on sides of the pot. Add the water, mix well and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for about 15-20 minutes till the raw smell of the tomatoes is gone.Uncover and add the kasuri methi. Stir, and again cover and on low heat, let simmer for another 10-12 minutes.
- For the crust, in a bowl, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes until frothy. Add in the vegetable oil.
- In a bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Add the flour to the yeast mixture, ½ cup at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue adding the flour until the dough can be pulled away from the sides of the bowl with a spatula, but the dough will still be quite sticky. You may need to add in a little bit more or less flour. The dough will still be sticky and will stick to your fingers when you try to pull it apart.
- Grease a large bowl, then scrape the dough into the bowl. Turn the dough to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and a let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. (You might need a lot of flour, thats ok). Pull the dough around to the bottom, stretching it to create a smooth ball. Cut the dough into 2 equal portions.
- Roll out the dough. I prefer to do it with my hands to get an oval shape but you could also use a roller.
- Preheat oven to 235°C/455°F.
- Once you have rolled out the dough to your preferred shape, fold in the edges a little. Brush with olive oil and spoon out some of the sauce covering the base. You want to leave around an inch all around. Then spoon out the green peas and lastly throw on the paneer pieces. Now sprinkle some of that julienne ginger on top. Now brush the edges with some more olive oil.
- Bake for 14-18 minutes or till the edges are nice and brown.
- Eat immediately!