I read somewhere that of all the foods in the world, Pizza is the most universal. Having traveled to a few countries (35 at the last count) I can vouch for the fact that there has been Pizza everywhere I have been to, usually with a local twist in most cases. Nowhere is this more evident than India where even the chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut have Pizzas catering to local tastes (Paneer Vegorama anyone?). Two things are evident very quickly to anyone who has eaten Pizza in India – a) The sauce is spicy, almost curry-like and b) there has got to be Paneer (Indian Cheese) incorporated into the recipe.
Over the years while I have gotten better at making Italian style Pizza, I have not had much success with the Indian style version. My first attempt of using a Korma sauce with Paneer was disastrous, the second attempt was marginally better – I used a spicy tomato sauce and a combination of Paneer and Fresh Mozzarella as the topping, but as they say, third time is a charm, plus this time I had help. My friend Vipin Sachdev who owns Tuscana – a Pizzeria in Chennai, connected me with his Chef, Hari who was very helpful. So using the overall design guidelines of Chef Hari, I made another attempt at an Indian style pizza. It was quite good. The Margherita is still my favorite (see here) but this is a good variation.
Here is what I did. Since I was winging it, the recipe is approximate but you should get an idea of what I did with it. I will post a recipe once I fine-tune it.
For the sauce I sauteed onion/garlic/ginger paste with some Tomatoes and Chilis. I used salt and Garam Masala for seasoning. It was basically a Tomato-based sauce for a North Indian curry. I then pureed it.
For the topping, I used Red Onion and Green Peppers. For the cheese, a combination of crumbled Paneer and Fresh Mozzarella in approximately, and this is important so the Paneer does not dry up too much, a 1:1 ratio of Paneer to Mozzarella.
When it was done, I drizzled it with some thin plain yogurt and cilantro. Not a bad Pizza at all.