Yesterday afternoon, we had an impromptu invite from our friends Shilpa and Jayesh for Sunday dinner. We were at the cusp of a new week and decided to head over early, giving Monday a chance to start off the right way. When we got there, the kitchen table was filled with lots of little bowls. Sliced mushrooms, chopped chilies, finely-diced capsicums, onions, cilantro and market fresh mozzarella. Perhaps a late night ahead since dinner was not ready? I was starting to feel a bit anxious and chugged back some of my crisp white.
Within a few minutes, Shilpa called us to the kitchen saying that dinner was ready. We walked in with the kitchen status not seeming to have shifted much. She then handed us all pizza trays and told us, the oven was ready for our pizzas.
What fun! We were going to make our own pizzas for dinner. All those little bowls were filled with finely cut pizza toppings and there was an intensely jammy sauce of fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and oregano. I could set up my own pizza with as much green chili as I wanted and not worry about my husband complaining that he’s on fire – after all, he could make his own however he liked. And what a pizza base! This was no doughy, tooth pulling pizza. Shilpa used a base that was like a sheet of paper. It was made from barley and once cooked, the pizza could be cut in to slices or rolled-up in to a flute. Simply delicious and not to mention, much healthier. If you are looking for a thin base that gets crisp on contact with the oven, then I cannot recommend Mountain Bread’s Barely Wrap highly enough but should you want something a little heavier and not so thin, StoneFire Naan bread works really well too for individual pizzas.
Our kids had their own little pizza fest in progress and they could be left alone to actually finish their meal without fuss. Needless to say, it was win-win all around. The evening was perfectly easy, the way Sunday nights should be and hopefully established the tone for the week ahead.
Recipe for Pizza Party
4 individual pizza bases (Mountain Bread’s Barely Wrap)
1 medium-sized onion, diced finely
1 green or red pepper, diced finely
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 green chilies or jalapenos diced finely
Any fresh green herbs (cilantro, basil, parsley, dill)
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 vine-ripe fresh tomatoes, de-skinned and diced
2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. dried red chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees
1) Pizza Sauce: Warm the garlic in the olive oil to sweat lightly. Add tomatoes and salt, pepper and oregano and cook until moisture has evaporated and sauce is dense
2) Brush a little olive oil on the pizza base, spread with the sauce, toppings and cheese
3) Bake in the oven for about 7-10 minutes until base is crisp and cheese has melted. Allow to rest for a couple of minutes before slicing or folding
Saira Malhotra, is of British–Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: www.passportpantry.com where she shares approachable and international recipes