Another month, another exciting theme. This month we decided to do a different theme. Yes, we are going to showcase how each of us indianize the many dishes that we adapt from other cuisines. It can be a simple pasta and how we spice it up by adding garam masala or pizza which gets doused with Red Chili flakes and chili powder. Or atleast that is the way I mostly make my pizzas.

We are going to begin this month with some beautiful pizzas from Alka!
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Pizza, the name fascinates many, isn't it?

My first brush with Pizza was only after my marriage, a bite of melted cheese topping, some black oval shaped things (Yeah I didn't knew till then, how olives looked like), some baby corn, some assorted veggies and rubbery textured bread base, it was not a pleasant bite for sure. Later when I came to know that it costs something in 3 digits, I went mad. Are people nuts to go gaga over these exorbitantly priced cheesy, rubbery, bland pieces, was what my mind yelled.

Years later, when slowly my taste buds developed for these Italian Specialties, I still feel the pinch due to the price tag that comes along with Branded Pizza. But having a foodie Kid surely keeps me wondering about the way outs, to have my cake (pizza) and eat it too.
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Making pizza at home may or may not be a rocket science. Since many feel afraid of working with Yeast, and those who do not own an Oven, have another reason for not making Pizza at home.

But then thanks to Pizza base available in markets now, it is no longer a thing of "Eating out exclusively". A bit of compromise with thickness of Branded pizzas, but not with quality, the taste, the choice of toppings, the control on amount of cheese added and of course easy on pocket.What else do you seek?


Recipe: Veg.Pizza
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-5 minutes for each Pizza
Makes: 3
Serves: 2-3
Shelf Life: Serve Immediately
Recipe Level: Beginner
Spice Level: Low or Medium
Recipe/Post by: Alka


Ingredients:

For Pizza Sauce (Sufficient for 3 pizza base)

4-5 Ripe Tomatoes
1 very small onion, peeled and chopped very finely
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp of Tomato Ketchup
1/4 tsp of sugar (just add a pinch, taste and adjust)
Salt
1/4 tsp Oregano
Some amount of Basil (Depends if you are using dried herb or Fresh leaves of Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi )
1 tsp of Olive oil
A generous pinch of Red chilly flakes or red chilly pepper powder (whatever available)

For Toppings :

A large Green Bell pepper, sliced into strips or rounds (whatever fancies you)
2 Small onions
2-3 Tomatoes
6-8 Fresh button mushrooms (or used canned ones)
1 tsp Olive oil
A dash of salt
Red chilly flakes (adjust according to your taste, I added just 2 pinches)
1/4 tsp of Oregano
A pinch of Black pepper powder
Any other Dried herbs if you have, eg: oregano, basil, thyme, sage, marjoram, savory, any of these or tiny pinches of what all you have amongst these.Experiment !
Mozzarella Cheese or use any of those Amul cubes, romano, Parmigiano etc etc.
2-3 tsp of cheese spread (optional, but I like the flavor it imparts)
And finally 3 Pizza bread base, easily available at bakeries, I even tried it with Brown Pizza bread, it still tastes awesome.


Procedure:

To Make pizza Sauce:
  1. Blanch Tomatoes for few seconds in hot water(Just give a criss cross cut at base of tomato and dunk them into hot boiling water for few seconds).
  2. Drain and immediately dump in cold or normal water.This removes the skin of tomatoes.
  3. Peel and grind into a seed-y paste.Do not puree it completely.If needed you can sieve these to get rid of seeds, I didn't bothered for that.
  4. In a pan, add 1 tsp of olive oil, add crushed garlic, saute over medium heat.Do whatever but do not let it get brown.Within seconds, add chopped onion, saute again till translucent.
  5. Add Rest all other ingredients listed under Tomato Sauce. Mix well and cook for a while.Add about a glass of water and let it simmer for some time, till a thick consistency of sauce is obtained.Do not leave it watery, as it will make the pizza soggy.
  6. Adjust the seasoning and keep it aside.
For Toppings :
  1. In case you are using fresh button mushrooms, wipe them clean, chop into chunks, boil these with a little of salt until they change colour to brownish tinge.Drain and keep aside.
  2. In a non stick fry pan, drizzle some olive oil. Add Mushrooms, saute it for a while, till a shade darker, add chunks of onion(Just cut the onions into 4-6 quarters), saute again, add Capsicum chunks/rings/slices, saute for few seconds and then finally add huge chunks of tomato.In all this take care not to over cook your veggies.The bell pepper should retain its colour and crispness, the onion should be just translucent , the tomatoes should be still juicy , bit soft but not cooked.Sprinkle some salt, pepper, oregano, chilly flakes and give it a good mix.
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  1. Take a ready made Pizza base , roast it on a flat Griddle, with the side that you are going to use for adding toppings, facing the heat(This means first roast the top side of pizza, then add toppings and then roast it from other side.This way the top side of pizza too will get a crunchy texture).
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  1. Now spread some pizza sauce, cheese spread, toppings, and shredded Cheese.
  2. Drizzle some oil on griddle,be sure that the flame is on minimum level of heat, carefully place the pizza on griddle, cover it with a dome shaped vessel (any handi , kadai without handle or even a large steel bowl that fits. Just make sure that the inverted handi doesn't touch the top of pizza.
  3. Add some weight over it , in form of a vessel or anything heavy, but take care to avoid mishaps.
  4. Cook for a minute or so on lowest flame, check the base by carefully lifting the pizza with a flat spatula. Cook further in similar way if needed till the base is darker, crispy with some brown spots.The cheese should melt by now, if it was before cooking.



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  5. Remove from heat, cut it into 4-8 quarters and serve immediately after sprinkling some Dried oregano, red chilly flakes or black pepper.


Special Notes/Tips:

  • Roasting pizza base first on one side gives a nice crispy texture. Avoid it if you like it rubbery.
  • Cheese should be thawed very well before using, since a stiff cheese wont melt at the temperature that we are using to cook pizza here.Since the bread and veggies are already cooked, so its important that cheese is almost cheesy when you are using it as topping.
  • Using a mixture of different types of cheese gives the pizza a nice flavor.
  • Do not make the sauce watery, you obviously won't like your pizza soggy !
  • Toppings can vary as per your choice , so do not hesitate, go ahead with what all you wish to add.Just keep one in mind, precook those veggies that need time and saute vegetables in the sequence of their cooking time.Add those first that need more time and those which cooks fast should be added latter.Do not over cook them.


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12 comments

  1. AshKuku // 2 February 2010 at 13:31  

    That's very yummy & tempting..... I wanna taste a bite too... How I wish I could....????? I am just left here drooling.. may be I would place an order for one, now, for lunch.... DOMINOS!!!!!! But this prep posted can challenge anybody... It is so outstanding & mindblowing.... Loved it all the way!!!!!

    Ash....
    (http://asha-oceanichope.blogspot.com/)

  2. Sadia Naseeb // 2 February 2010 at 15:03  

    I am drooling !! yummy recipe with lovely clicks ..

  3. Sharmilee! :) // 2 February 2010 at 18:11  

    Looks exactly likt the one got from Pizza hut, looks super yum!

  4. egglesscooking // 2 February 2010 at 18:32  

    Absolutely mouth watering, Alka. I'm craving for that pizza now.

  5. Sunshinemom // 2 February 2010 at 19:31  

    Now there you go and get me all hungry and drooling, Alka!!

  6. Gautam // 3 February 2010 at 10:05  

    Dear Alkaji,

    Amazing picture! For what it is worth, a Pakistani lady with a cooking show whose name I forget at the moment [sorry!] demonstrated a great improvised oven [although stovetop tandoors are common today!]. She had a large straight-sided degchi whose bottom was partly covered with river pebbles. I guess lava rock or pieces of burnt brick, the type turned completely black & porous, might also work well. These can be heated and various cake racks, perforated pizza pans, and baking containers may be placed on top of them. Nan breads may be slapped on the sides of the DEG, having moistened one side a bit. Then the puffed nan may be browned a bit more by being placed directly on the heated stones, using a chimta. A cover is needed for various operations, not for others, e.g. browning nan over stones.

    My point is, some variation of a nan, cooked a little less, i.e. just onthe side of the deg, may be very suitable as a pizza base. Why this deg oven is better than a box stovetop oven is that depending on the size of the deg, how many pebbles you put in, how much heat you are willingto crank up, a very high heat level can be reached with a real good old-fshioned deg and an airy kitchen [ventilating NOT into your living quarters!!!!]

    Thus, conceivably, you can exceed the 500-550F limit set by most ovens and get excellent pizza, nan, tandoori vegetables, vegetarian seekh kebabs etc. if you can endure the trouble of small batch cooking. You can make 4-5 smallish nans at one time, and each becomes a 1 person pizza-- by the time you arrange the toppings, the deg heats up again to finish them off. You can go on in this fashion quite fast, if things are well organized, mise en place etc.

    Take care.

  7. Nisha // 4 February 2010 at 00:12  

    Wonderful pics , mouthwatering indeeded.

  8. meeso // 6 February 2010 at 22:11  

    Every time I see a post on homemade pizza I am tempted to make them... they are the best!

  9. Anjum // 9 February 2010 at 13:21  

    Yummy recipe.Mouth watering.Thanks for sharing.Do drop by at http://anjuskitchentreasures.blogspot.com/

  10. Vaishali Sharma // 14 February 2010 at 08:17  

    Absolutely Delicious! Pass on a slice pls :)

  11. Sharat // 9 November 2010 at 00:09  

    I tried this yesterday and I must say it came out very well. Thanks very much for the recipe.

  12. MiddleClassBabe // 11 February 2012 at 12:45  

    I tried this today... It came out really well.. thanks Alka for the detailed instructions