Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Craving pizza?

No problem.

I received another reader request last week-- via text message at 8 in the morning (which, if anything, gave me more of a reason to follow through with the request). The request was for a paneer pizza. I thought it was a fantastic idea. I love reader requests. (Hint hint!)

Paneer is Indian cheese. And it is SO GOOD!!! If you haven't tried it, I urge you to go to your nearest Asian or Indian store and buy it ASAP. It's easily my favorite cheese in the entire world.

Large block of paneer.
What do you do when you want to make pizza and you don't have a pre-made crust?!

No problem. Make your own! It's really easy.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • optional seasoning: black pepper, oregano, rosemary, basil, parmesan, nutritional yeast, garlic...the possibilities are endless!

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the olive oil and gradually add the water. Mix to incorporate.

Use your hands here! The dough should begin to form the more you mix it together. When it forms a solid, knead it until it becomes uniform. (Knead for 3-5 minutes...this part is kind of fun!)

Wrap it in plastic wrap or seal it in an airtight plastic bag and keep it to the side while you prepare the rest of the pizza (about 10 minutes). Then take it out and set it on a baking sheet. Flatten the dough to form your crust.

Note: the crust does rise a bit after baking!

That's all there is to the crust (except for the baking portion). Easy enough, right? (And a lot cheaper than store bought crust...just sayin'). 

Next issue: what do you do when you don't have any pizza sauce?!

No problem. Make your own!

I made a broccoli and tomato sauce, because I have way too much broccoli in the fridge.

Pizza Sauce

  • 1 can diced tomatoes (fresh tomatoes can be used as well)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • seasoning: pepper, oregano, basil, etc. (if using canned tomatoes, additional salt is not necessary!)
  • optional: veggies (broccoli, mushroom, spinach, etc)

In a pot, heat olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes. 

Add the seasonings and veggies.

There really are only two steps. 

Prepare your paneer by chopping it.

Assemble the pizza! Note: if the sauce is watery, make sure to not include the watery part on the crust. Please see below picture, specifically the lower right corner.

Soggy pizza.
Don't worry, I fixed the soggy problem soon after I took the picture. 

Bake in the oven (400F) for about 15 minutes. I judged by the pizza crust and not the paneer, because it doesn't melt. 

Slightly browned paneer?! YUM. 

The pizza crust looks good, too.

Please try this recipe. It's really easy.


Anonymous said...

Is paneer healthy?

Tulika said...

Paneer does have some benefits (good source of calcium, high in protein, and apparently can aid in weight loss). But all of these benefits are found in other cheeses as well! The difference is that paneer is a fresh cheese (such as ricotta, cottage cheese, cream cheese) and fresh cheeses usually have low fat and sodium compared to "aged" cheeses.

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