|Saag Paneer/ Mushroom Pizza|
Pizza is an all time favorite among the kids and the adults. Pizza is one dish where you have a lot of scope for creativity. Make it a family project, the results are even better.
My Indian version was a super hit. You can see in the picture that it is half green and half red. The green part is the Saag paneer and the other half is the Mushroom topping.
Basic Pizza dough:
The recipe for the pizza dough yields 3 medium size pizzas.
All purpose flour - 5 cups
Warm water - 1 1/2 cups + extra as needed
Active dry yeast - 1 packet (1/4 ounce) (I used Fleishmann's rapid rise highly active yeast)
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Olive oil - for drizzling
Microwave the water till warm. Put the water in a bowl and add the yeast and the sugar to it. Stir it until dissolved.
Take a large bowl and whisk the flour and salt together. Add the yeast and mix until it forms soft dough. If the dough is too dry, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Flour your hands; knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Knead it for 15 minutes. Drizzle some olive oil and keep kneading. Brush a bowl with some olive oil and transfer the dough into the bowl. Cover it loosely with a damp kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free area. (I have preheated my oven for a minute, turned it off and placed the bowl in the oven). Let it rest for 2 hours until the dough has risen double its original volume.
After 2 hours, take the dough out. Deflate the dough by punching it. Now divide it into 3 equal pieces.
Form the dough pieces into 3 balls and place each into 3 oiled bowls. Cover each bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour. Remove the dough and wrap in plastic. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 1 day or freeze the dough for a week and use it as and when needed.
Saag paneer pizza sauce:
Spinach leaves - 100 gms
Green chillies - 2 (or as per your taste)
Garlic - 2 cloves
Lemon juice - 1 teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Grated mozzarella cheese - 1/2 cup
Paneer (cottage cheese) - few pieces cubed
Olive oil - for blending
Blend together the spinach leaves, garlic and the green chillies. It isn't a fine paste yet. Add in the lemon juice, salt and the cheese. As you blend, add the olive oil. Olive oil should help you blend it into a smooth paste. Do not add any water for blending, add oil instead. Take the mixture into a clean bowl and add the cubed paneer pieces.
For the Mushroom Pizza sauce, I have just cut up some mushrooms and added half a cup basic pizza sauce.
I use Prego pizza sauce.
Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Roll the pizza dough into 14-inch diameter circle, about 1/4 to 1/16-inch thick. If you like a thick crust pizza, roll it thick. Dust it with flour while rolling if needed. Take a pizza stone; sprinkle it with some corn meal. If you don’t have corn meal, you can just sprinkle some sooji (rawa). This prevents the pizza from sticking it to the pizza stone. If you do not have a pizza stone, any baking tray would work just as good. If you are using a baking tray, spray it with some cooking oil, before placing the pizza on it. Or you can just use a parchment paper to prevent it from sticking to the baking tray.
With the help of the rolling pin, transfer the dough on to the pizza stone. Drizzle it with some olive oil, this helps the pizza from drying out.
Now spread the saag paneer sauce leaving a half inch border. Top it with some tomatoes. On the other half of the pizza, spread the basic pizza sauce, top it with mushrooms. On top of it goes, shredded mozzarella cheese. Add as much or as little cheese as you wish. Brush the edges of the pizza with some olive oil. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into wedges and serve.
You can do both these sauces on the same pizza like I did or you can do it on two separate pizzas.
While making the pizza dough, do not heat the water too much, else it kills the yeast. The ideal temperature the water should be is 100 F to 110 F. Make sure all the yeast is properly dissolved in the water before you add it to the flour.
The important thing to remember here is the amount of salt you add. The cheeses we are adding already have a lot of salt in it. The pizza dough has salt in it too. So adjust the salt accordingly.
With the toppings you can be as creative as possible. You can top the pizza with just about any of your favorite vegetables or meats.