Photo Credit: Lia Wiedemann
I discovered Indian food while studying abroad my junior year in college. During a weekend trip to London, I tried many overpriced and underwhelming meals, but there was one lunch with chicken tikka masala and naan bread I’ll always remember. I wish I could say I’ve sampled all sorts of other types of Indian foods since. Instead, I always want the same thing: marinated chicken in a spicy, slightly creamy tomato sauce, with lots and lots of naan bread.
For a while, I’d only eaten my two favorite Indian foods in restaurants. Then, a few years ago, I found naan at Whole Foods. Now, I use it all the time—to serve alongside homemade chicken tikka masala, and lately, to make Indian pizza.
The recipe comes from Aarti Sequeria, this year’s winner of The Next Food Network Star. After spending many years working at Food Network (and on the website for this very show), I still have a soft spot for it. I was rooting for Aarti from the very beginning. Everything she made looked so good and I loved the new angle she wanted to bring to the network. I’ll admit that I haven’t checked out her show, but I have been bookmarking her recipes.
Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner, her naan pizzas have a sweet and spicy sauce that’s made with tomato paste and mango chutney. Topped with a mixture of fresh mozzarella and paneer, a mild Indian cheese, cilantro and prosciutto, they’re hearty with a hint of heat.
Sadly, my supermarket stopped carrying paneer, so when I made this recipe yet again the other night, I just used extra mozzarella. It still tasted good, but I missed the distinct texture of the paneer—it doesn’t melt and sort of squeaks while you chew it. I’ve searched a bit online and apparently, it’s very easy to make. Next time, I think I’ll just make some myself. Aarti’s already introduced me to some new Indian flavors, so why stop there?
Mango Chutney, Prosciutto and Paneer “Pizza”
Adapted from Aarti Sequeria
For the mango chutney, experiment with different brands. Some are sweet, while others have more heat. I seem to always have mango at home, but not mango chutney. On nights when I crave this but don’t feel like running out to buy some, I chop up a small mango and simmer it on the stove with white vinegar, sugar and raisins until it’s soft and slightly thickened.
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 tablespoons mango chutney
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup crumbled paneer cheese (A special type of Indian cheese that can be found at specialty Indian markets. If you can’t find it, double the amount of fresh mozzarella, or try another cheese, such as feta or queso blanco.)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 pieces of naan bread (I like the Fabulous Flats brand that Whole Foods carries)
8 slices prosciutto, torn
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small saucepan, combine the tomato paste, mango chutney, minced garlic and water over medium heat, until well combined. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes and then remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the mozzarella, paneer, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Arrange 4 naans on a cookie sheet. Spread the tomato-mango chutney sauce evenly among them. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Place in the oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the naans feel crispy around the edges.
While the pizzas are cooking, tear up the pieces of prosciutto. As soon as the pizzas come out of the oven, top each one with two slices of prosciutto. The quicker you do this once they’re out of the oven, the crispier the prosciutto will get. Cut each naan into 4, and serve.
Lia Wiedemann is a writer who loves food and her two little boys. She leads Brooklyn food tours for new moms and shares favorite recipes and restaurants on her blog, This Little Piglet.
WATCH: How to Use a Pizza Stone