Friday, August 9, 2013

Homemade pizza

 Pizza is an absolute favorite with the husband. So adhering to the age old saying " The way to a man's heart is through his stomach " , pizza makes its appearance in my kitchen quite often. It is quite effortless to make and is such a versatile dish that you can pretty much experiment with the toppings. If you have a family with differing taste buds, simple bake small sized pizzas for each family member with their favorite toppings …Such a feat it will be to keep them all happy at the same time :)

We would often buy pizza from the oh-so-famous "Pizza Hut " or " Dominoes ". When, we moved to Singapore, Canadian pizza became a rage ( obviously so, since they have the one-for-one offer and I felt less guilty about buying pizza way too often :) ) Celebration for us means , binging on pizzas n colas, like the time when India won the world cup in 2011. We were ecstatic and celebrating was imminent. And so, pizza and coke it was for us. I wanted to learn to make this at home so I don't always buy it from the pizza outlets,simply because it is too expensive and also homemade is always better, considering hygiene and health.

My first pizza recipe was from a cookbook Sugraas-siddhi from Mrs. Uma Amrute, my cooking class teacher. The pizza was a hit and I made it a second and a third time too. Nevertheless, I , did experiment with different recipes from the internet . I stumbled upon this recipe during one such browsing session from Simply Recipes. The crust was perfect and is such a breeze to make it as well. Even baking beginners won't fail… Try it for yourself, you will have a beaming family asking for more !!

Recipe source : Simply Recipes

Ingredients :

Makes one 10 - 12 inch pizza

For the dough
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour or maida ( original recipe recommends bread flour )
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

Pizza topping  :
1/4 cup Pizza sauce ( See recipe here )
2 tbsp Tomato sauce ( optional )
150 - 200 gms boiled chicken ( cut into pieces )
2 tsp kebab powder
8 - 10 pineapple cubes ( fresh or canned …drain the liquid when using canned )
1/2 red capsicum, chopped into tiny cubes
1/2 green capsicum, chopped into tiny cubes
1/4 large white onion, thinly sliced ( You can use regular red onion here )
Grated cheese ( I used mozzarella )…enough to cover the base of the pizza

Method :
1. Marinate the boiled chicken pieces with the kebab powder and keep  for about 3-4 hours.After that, shallow fry in a pan and keep aside.
2. Pour warm water in a large bowl ( or a wide surfaced deep plate ) and sprinkle yeast on it and let it sit for 5 minutes till it is completely dissolved. You may stir it to completely dissolve , if need be.
3.  Mix in the olive oil, salt, sugar and the flour. Knead to make a smooth dough. If the dough becomes too sticky, you can sprinkle in a little more dough.
4.  Place the dough in a bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Turn the dough around so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover it with a plastic wrap ( or a kitchen towel ) and let sit in a warm place till the dough doubles up in size ( takes about 1 1/2 hrs…more or less depending upon the warmth of the place  ). After that, remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough. Form into a ball and let it sit for another 10 mins. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
5.  On a floured work surface, take the ball of dough and start flattening it to form  a 10-12 inch circle using your finger tips. If the dough is no too elastic to be stretched merely with hands, use a rolling pin and gently flatten it. You can pinch the edges to form a lip. Transfer it to a baking tray lined with baking paper.
6.  Spread pizza sauce and tomato sauce on the dough. Then sprinkle some grated cheese to cover it up. Add the shallow fried chicken pieces, pineapple, red and green capsicum and onion.
7.  Bake for about 10-15 mins or until the pizza base and cheese turns brown.

Notes :
1. The toppings and their quantities can be varied according to one's taste and liking.
2. The chicken can be substituted with paneer for a vegetarian version of this pizza.
3.  I have spread grated cheese on the base of the pizza. You can also sprinkle some on the top towards the end of baking.
4. I have used store bought kebab powder to marinate the chicken. Alternatively, you could also marinate the chicken with a mixture of red chill powder, turmeric powder, ginger - garlic paste, lemon juice and salt.
5. If the place isn't warm enough for the dough to rise, switch on the oven light ( don't turn on the oven ) and place the dough inside the oven. Alternatively, you can switch on the radiator and place the dough near it . It will rise beautifully.

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