A new spin on pizza: fresh homemade garlic naan topped with veggies and cheese!
During 2011-2012, I studied abroad in Berlin, Germany. All in all, it was pretty great, though the program had some shortfalls. Sorry, FU-BEST, but there is really no integration with Germans in your program. So I didn’t make any German friends, but I did make some great American friends. I’ve been living with one of them since last August (she has a blog too, go check it out!), and in January another friend from study abroad moved nearby.
During our travels in Europe, we did a lot of hostel cooking to save money. Pasta with red sauce filled with vegetables served with garlic bread was probably the most common, but pizza, sandwiches, stir-fry, and even pancakes also made appearances, not to mention the endless snacks of Nutella on brötchen and Prinzenkekse. Last week, study-abroad-friend-turned-roommate, study-abroad-friend-who-now-lives-nearby, and I decided to make dinner together. Instead of one of our usual staples, we made naan pizzas.
It’s been so hot, we didn’t want to do anything that involved turning on the oven. However, the kitchen has terrible ventilation so using the stove made it hot anyway, but whatever. These were delicious, though, so I think that made up for it. We served them with a semi-healthy side of corn on the cob. This sparked a discussion as to why some Europeans put corn on their pizza and a debate on whether or not we ate pizza in Dublin–one vote for yes, two for no–which was resolved by texting another study abroad friend who then checked her travel journal. We did indeed eat pizza in Dublin.
I was going to show you photos of our hostel meals, but then I couldn’t find any. So instead, study abroad pictures!
But back to the present. Homemade naan is super easy to make. If you’ve never had naan or never heard of it, naan is an South-Asian leavened flatbread traditionally cooked in a tandoor, or clay oven. Ours is cooked in a cast-iron skillet on the stove. The finished product is chewy, puffy, and tastes of yeast and garlic.
While making pizza with naan is definitely a non-traditional application, it is also a perfect use for naan. Our pizzas were “fresh,” i.e. we didn’t bake them again. The cheese got all melty from the residual heat from the naan, and the garlic from the naan was the perfect addition to our toppings.
Topping choices for this are endless and completely customizable as well. We went with two cheeses (goat and mozzarella), fresh spinach, tomato, basil, and caramelized onions, but I think sauteed mushrooms, grilled chicken or vegetables, cucumber, or zucchini would also be great. Just whatever your heart desires.
Adapted from Alaska from Scratch
Makes: 6 pieces (about 6-inch long ovals)
- 1 1/3 cup water at about 110 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1 packet active dry yeast (or about 3/4 T)
- 1 T sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 cup olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat and 2 heaping cups white, I’ve also used all white whole wheat)
- 1 T butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Place warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Let stand for about five minutes as the yeast reacts and becomes bubbly. Stir in the salt and olive oil, then gradually add the flour. The dough should be sticky and should not be stiff. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do the last bit of mixing by turning the dough onto a clean countertop or workspace and kneading briefly–but it will be messy!
Transfer dough to a large lightly oiled bowl. Let rise, covered, at room temperature for two hours. It will rise a lot!
After two hours, place in the fridge for about an hour or until ready to use to make it easier to handle.
Melt butter and place in a small bowl with the minced garlic.
There are several ways to attack the actually cooking of the naan. You can either (1) divide all the dough into tennis sized balls and place them on a floured surface and make them into rounds before each goes into the pan. You can also (2) make dough balls and stretch the it into rounds at this point, and then once all your dough is flattened into circles, you can begin frying the dough. Or, you can (3) leave the dough in the bowl and grab dough as needed. I’ve done (1) and (3) and I prefer option three.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil. Place one round of dough in the pan. Spoon some of the melted butter and garlic over the dough. When the underside is slightly browned, flip, and cook until both sides are golden brown (about 5 minutes total). Remove, add more olive oil if needed, and repeat!
Top a piece of fresh naan with your favorite pizza toppings, such as mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh spinach, onions…and enjoy!
Want more from TheWordyBaker? Check out my Twitter!
Posted to Sugar and Dots’s What I Whipped Up Wednesday!