Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My 'go to' tomato sauce and a chicken tikka pizza

Till recently I used to buy pizza sauce and marinara sauce for pasta and such and after using half of the bottle, the remaining used to stay in the fridge where it would grow other inedible stuff and finally make its way through to the bin. And then again, when I needed a couple of spoons of tomato sauce for a pizza, I'd go out and buy a bottle which would repeat the same cycle.

That's when a friend mentioned she made her own tomato sauce and it freezes really well. I shrugged off the idea saying I'd never really do it because it sounded like a tough job. What I didn't know was the number of easy peacy recipes on the internet that fetched me same results. So off I went on a fanatic search and came up with this easy to do recipe that suited my taste buds and more importantly, was easy to prepare. I now use this for any kinda dishes like in a lasagna, for spaghetti meatballs and of course as the pizza sauce. If not anything, it works well as a dip for those tortilla chips as well. 
So yesterday after a rather heavy dinner, the husband suddenly announces that he wants pizza. I had a doubt if I heard him right and asked him what he meant. He said he had a craving for pizza. Yes, craving is the exact word he used. I said if he was hungry, I could make a couple more rotis, but no he wanted pizza and only pizza.

Well too bad, I wasn't going to make pizza at 8 in the night nor was I gonna order pizza because I was too damn full to eat anything more. Fed him some grapes and promised I'd make pizza soon. Well little did I know it would be this soon, but I ended up making it today and even had the will power to take some pics in spite of the lighting being shitty and such.
I happened to have some sauce tucked away in my freezer and thought it was a good idea to blog it since I intend on making it again. I also had some leftover chicken tikka from a dinner party on Sunday and decided to go for an Indianised version, just for kicks. I'm mighty thrilled with the outcome, as I have evolved from the amoeba shaped pizza to a rather round-like one in about 6 months. I'm getting there people, I'm getting there :)

On a completely different note, a big thanks to my uber creative friend Arun for doing the header for me. He's such a genius, you should check out some of his work here. When he becomes an aspiring film maker, I'm not gonna have this privilege. But till then I'm definitely gonna harass him for random stuff like this. Thanks a bunch A.

Sending the tomato sauce and pizza to the 'Taste for Tomatoes' competition over at Love the Garden. Now I'm just crossing my fingers and waiting to see if I've won :)

Tomato sauce (loosely adapted from Jamie Oliver's recipe)
Chopped tomatoes- 400 gms (canned)
Garlic- 5 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Fresh basil leaves- a handful, cleaned and torn
Olive oil- 1 1/2 tbsp
Dried oregano- 1/2 tsp
Dried red chilli- 2, broken in half (optional)
Salt and pepper- to taste
Into a saucepan add the olive oil and once it becomes hot throw in the chopped garlic.
Swirl it around a bit and once it changes colour a bit, add the tomato followed by all other ingredients.
Stir well and bring to a boil.
Then reduce heat to low and let it simmer away for about 20 minutes, and remember to stir in between.
Once it becomes thick and saucy-like, remove from heat and let it cool for a while.
using an immersion blender, blend to a smoother consistency.
Store in sterilized glass jars and once completely cool, freeze.
When ready to use again, thaw at room temperature, gently heat at a really low temperature and use again.

Notes: I added a wee bit of home made garam masala to the tomato sauce because i was doing a chicken tikka pizza. 
The red chillies add a bit of spice, so omit if you dont want a spicier version.

Chicken tikka pizza (makes 2 8-inch pizzas)
For the base (recipe halved from here)
Plain flour- 250 gms
Olive oil- 2 tbsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Luke warm water- 150 ml
Active dry yeast- 1 tsp
Sugar- 1/4 tsp

For the topping:
Above mentioned tomato sauce- 1 cup 
Chicken tikka pieces- 2 cups (recipe from here, the first part only i.e, the marinade and then grill as per instructions)
Grated Mozzarella cheese- 1/4 cup (optional)
Fresh mozzarella balls- 2 medium, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
Cherry tomatoes- 1/2 cup, each of them sliced in half
Spinach leaves- 1/4 cup, pre cooked in the microwave for a couple of seconds
Grated Parmesan cheese- a couple of spoons (optional)
Olive oil- to drizzle
In a small bowl mix together the yeast and sugar and pour in 50ml lukewarm water. 
Mix well and leave aside for about 10 minutes by which time the yeast would bubble up.
In another large bowl whisk together the flour and salt and rub into it the olive oil, till slightly crumbly.
Once the yeast mix is ready, pour it into the flour mix along with 100ml lukewarm water, and using your hand mix till they all come together.
Lightly flour a work surface and knead till it is no longer sticky, say for about 4 to 5 minutes (yeah that's all it takes, trust me).
Place it back in the bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and keep aside to rise for about an hour.
When you are ready to make the pizza, punch down the dough, knead it a couple of times and roll it out into the desired shape and to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. I used my silicone mat for this purpose so didn't need any flour. If doing so on your work top, then lightly flour the surface.
Place in a lightly greased pizza pan and then using your fingers stretch it out further.
Generously douse with the tomato sauce, leaving about half an inch from the edges.
Top with grated mozzarella, if using, or else place the chicken tikka slices randomly. Don't crowd it too much though.
Next, arrange the chopped tomatoes followed by fresh mozzarella.
Finally top with the cooked spinach leaves, drizzle some olive oil and place in an oven preheated at 200C.
Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, by which time the cheese would have melted.
Once you take it out, you can sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, drizzle some more olive oil, slice and serve with a glass of wine...BLISS!
Notes: Add olives and mushrooms if you feel like and as a veg option, paneer tikka can be used. Just replace the chicken in the recipe with paneer.
The pizza is crisp around the edges and soft at the centre, just like we love it.
It is thin crust and not deep pan. For that you will have to keep the base thicker while rolling it out.


kavis said...

Your pizza looks amazingly delicious..will try your tomato sauce recipe some time soon..Thank you for sharing!!!

Sravs said...

wow superb !! looks so tempting !!

Ongoing Event - Festive Food

Poornima Nair said...

I want that pizza right now, looks amazing. Im going to try that sauce, love the simple ingredients!

R said...

luv the fusion pizza. homemade sauce looks great.

Alpana said...

Wow...Pizza & the sauce both look so good.....I feel like having a Pizza right now.....sooo oooey gooey goodness. Nice clicks ......

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Pizza looks simply wonderful and vibrant. Must have tasted excellent.

Hamaree Rasoi

Sharmilee! :) said...

Homemade pizza sauce is such a nice idea..looks very tempting

Shinydewdrop said...

Fantastic photos! You made me really hungry! Have to try this recipe - looks yummm!

the Junkie book said...

for anyone who reads thru your post will have a lot to comment on!

am def going to flag the sauce recipe...aye sth tht can be frozen should be mine too!

i always crack up when i hear the word "crave" from you and Ro. gone are the days for me to crave and have something...forever on my toes multi tasking..

looked up Arun's site...very interesting. am following him. am a sucker for nething art! ty for introducing him...pretty header!

why don you use foam board for photo like nashi does. i googled foam board photography and hit upon this very useful site studiolighting.net. it's not even difficult. it resolves the natural lighting issue. told nashi to introduce a post on it...i got to tell sarah too.

looked up your Culturama twice...didn load...will try again and will be back with good words..see how optimistic I am ;P

Priya said...

Love that thin crust and the irresistible toppings,delicious pizza..

Ali said...

The pizza looks delicious and the lighting is perfect, I love the pics. I think I too need to make meself a tomato sauce :)

the Junkie book said...

Culturama not loading is only by my network issue here...coz such kind of reading is generally done on my nocturnal sitting and my network disappoints me then...but i have it in my mind...i wont forget..

oh foam...but dont you love those snaps done in that bulb lighting...jus look up that studio site i said...one demo photo is there...it's nice. yea but i prefer natural lit shots too.

love Goa...thomas profession never lets us stay on forever; we move every year...v tough life...so it's like hop in and out. plus my life is very different coz of the Service atmosphere...you don't tend to get fed up...it kinda grows on you with all its protocols. imagine..a week back we gave a surprise to the whole crew getting back on flight; potluck and warm welcome back...i saw thomas landing in the chopper!!!!...boy it was so memorable
also we bought our second flat here in north Goa-saligao...got to do it up and put on daily rent...make a web page...do the business online...lots of things lined up!!

like your chic hair cut and the zoomed in profile pic!!

Nisa Homey said...

Love the fusion you created....and tempting clicks.

TheYummyMorsel said...

Just too good. Totally tempting!

vineetha said...

Pizza doesnt look heavy at all,I mean u didnt overdo topping,just the right one for me :)

divya said...

Oh My God. i'm simply drooling here. Wonderful presentation.

Suja said...

Love the toppings,must have tasted delicious..

Sanchita said...

Every thing from first principle!! Wow that sounds great and delicious! Well Done!!

Anonymous said...

I think i might eat pizza tonight. Looking at it i am in super crave right now. And thanks dear for the sauce recipe. I should just make that too!

the Junkie book said...

read it (Culturama)!

very reader friendly article with the perfect pitch!! congrats!

Deepti said...

Plz do join the tagging game with me


Plateful said...

You sure getting there babes, and how! :) The header looks cool, will sure check out your friends space. And I've gotta try that sauce--yum!

Sushma Mallya said...

Wow love to have a slice its tempting me so much...too good!

Happy Cook / Finla said...

Wish i had this for dinner tonight looks super yumm pizza.My sisters call me freezer queen i freeze everything from veggies, curry, coconut chutney, you name it i freeze them :-)

Aarthi said...

http://nisahoThis looks really delicious..I should try this as soon as possible.thanks for the recipe dear..Following your blog straight away..If you have time Check out my blog too..

I am having a Giveaway..


Anonymous said...

Yum,loving the look of that pizza! Since I don't have an oven, baking is something I miss very much. Frozen pizzas have become our Friday routine now, sigh! At least I'm living vicariously through blogs such as yours :-)

Manju said...

that tomato sauce recipe is soo similar to what I make too :) delicious looking pizza!

Susan and Abraham said...

Wish you and your family and blessed and a happy Diwali. Warm Regards Abraham & Susan www.chackoskitchen.com

Sarah Naveen said...

Though i love homemade sauce , i have some really favorite brands in sauces too...pizza looks so perfect gal..i think u are an expert alle..ur pizzas always luk gorgeous!and glad to see yummly on the side ;)

Monet said...

Can you come bake me a pizza tomorrow night? Seriously, this looks too good! Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a beautiful Wednesday full of laughter and love.

themustardseed said...

Love the recipe!! The pictures make it even more tempting and irresistible. Have bookmarked it to try it out!

Shabs.. said...

Thats a great post nish....I used to make the same sauce, with 2 cans of tomato (800g) and freeze them in smallpots...I also add paprika and couple of tablespoons of tomato paste along with it.....you can also freeze store bought ones...including dolmio and others....nice pics...Liked that brown dish u plaed beneath the red one..:)