Sunday, 15 July 2012

Naan Bread Pizza revisited (on an almost daily basis...)

After meditating for a while over what my first real 'food' post on this blog should be, it struck me that it would be dishonest of me if I didn't return to the delights, the joy and the absolute perfection that is the Naan Bread Pizza.  The recipe was included in my first book 'The Takeaway Secret' and has served me very, very well since.

Naan Bread Pizza is, in many ways, the ultimate 'takeaway secret' recipe.  Quick to make, using inexpensive and readily available ingredients, with a result which easily matches or even improves on many takeaway pizzas.  When you consider that a large pizza from the major fast-food chains in the UK can easily cost upwards of £10, the Naan Bread Pizza is a very tempting alternative.  With a variety of toppings, sauces and naan breads available to use, the recipe can be made slightly different each time, allowing the cook to essentially create the same dish again and again but with a slight twist each time to maintain interest in the food.

Today I thought I might share with you my most recently favoured way to create the Nan Bread Pizza.  Although the essential ingredients and processes are the same, the products used can and do offer a huge variation in results and the following is by far my favourite.

So, using the ingredients below and around 10 minutes of your time, you'll be able to produce what I personally consider to be a pizza to rival anything which you might find in your local kebab shop.

1: The Naan Bread

Every supermarket now stocks various forms of Naan Bread, in some cases even those which have been authentically prepared in a tandoor oven just as they would be in good kebab shops and Indian restaurants.  Whilst the chilli naan, garlic and coriander naan and others definitely have their place alongside a good curry, for the purposes of creating a Naan Bread Pizza we're looking for a traditional, plain naan.  My favourite, winning all three categories by a landslide (cost, size and shape) is Asda Plain Naan Bread.

These come in packs of 2 from the bakery aisle and are kept at room temperature, not chilled.  At the time of writing, the pack of 2 naan breads comes in at £0.55 which is a bit of a bargain.

2:  The Pizza Sauce / Topping

Over time, my use of pizza sauce of any kind on a Naan Bread Pizza has diminished.  Given that the pizza we'll be making only needs to be in the oven for around 8-10 minutes, the use of pizza sauce can occasionally result in a bit of a 'soggy middle' on the finished pizza which isn't ideal for those of us who like a crispy pizza.  I now prefer to use only fresh tomatoes on top of the pizza, and the tomatoes which I've found to be best for this are again, the most inexpensive and easiest to find.  Look for 'salad tomatoes' in your local supermarket.  These are also stored at room temperature, not chilled, which starts to become a bit of a theme in terms of the best ingredients to find for your pizza.  Once rinsed, slice the tomatoes in half and cut them into very, very thin slices.  As the pizza cooks, the thinly sliced tomatoes will almost become a sauce of their own.  If you really like sauce on your pizza, any of the pizza sauce recipes from The Takeaway Secret or More Takeaway Secrets will provide good results, or alternatively you can simply use a tablespoon of any good quality jarred tomato pasta sauce.

3:  The Mozzarella Cheese

In recent years I've tried mozzarella cheese from all of the major supermarkets and by far the one which provides the best results on a pizza is that sold by Sainsbury's.  Many supermarket mozzarella cheeses contain too much potato starch and come out of the oven with a dry texture which isn't ideal on a pizza.  Sainsbury's grated mozzarella cheese remains oily and almost 'greasy', which sounds bad but good at the same time I'm sure you'll agree.  It's easily the best mozzarella cheese to buy from any supermarket when it comes to making pizza.

4: The Finishing Touch

Black Pepper and Dried Oregano.  A little dusting of magic.
House Special Kebab Sauce, for dunking.  Absolutely essential.

So, now we've got our ingredients, we'll put them together to make the ultimate Naan Bread Pizza.

Ultimate Cheese and Tomato Naan Bread Pizza

  • Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, or even right the way up to its highest setting if you like a slightly burnt and crispy crust on your pizza. 
  • Add a small handful of grated mozzarella cheese to the pizza.  We don't need too much cheese at this stage, just enough to provide a 'base' of cheese over the surface of the naan bread.  We'll add more after we've put the tomatoes on top.

  • Add the sliced tomatoes over the pizza.  Spread them evenly so as to provide a tomato flavour throughout the entire pizza.

  • Top the tomato slices with another handful of mozzarella cheese.

  • Place the naan bread pizza into the oven for around 8-10 minutes, or until the pizza just begins to burn.  It's important, I feel, to leave the pizza in until that stage where it does almost appear slightly overcooked.  The 'just burnt' flavour makes all the difference between a good pizza and an amazing pizza.
When the pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven.  Immediately top the pizza with some freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of dried oregano.  I can't stress how important it is to add the black pepper and dried oregano - this herby, peppery flavour is going to enhance the pizza experience massively so I'd urge you to consider it a vital part of the naan bread pizza process.

If you can be bothered, moving the pizza on to a wire rack to cool for 2-3 minutes will ensure that the bottom stays crisp and not soggy.  This isn't essential but it will provide a better result and allow you time to get the House Special Kebab Sauce out of the fridge.

Slice the pizza up and, whilst eating, dip each slice in the kebab sauce.

This recipe and more can of course be found in The Takeaway Secret.

Happy Cooking!

1 comment:

  1. I have 3 daughters that I constantly need brownie points for....this is fantastic!!