Smoked Chicken Curry Pizza – Whip It UP!
THIS pizza is totally Asian at heart! It features a delectable Indian-inspired chicken curry that has been simmered in a tomato sauce tempered with dry spices. It is then smoked with a piece of hot charcoal heated over the stove. It merely requires a quick assembly of ingredients before baking. No need for passata (uncooked Italian tomato puree for pizza, pasta, soups, stews and casseroles). This is an appetising way to enjoy Indian curry!
Total Time: <1 hour
Yields: 4 personal pizzas
A: Chicken & Marinade
500g chicken breast, skin removed, diced
Thumb-size ginger, peeled & minced
Thumb-size turmeric, peeled & minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
½ lemon, juice only
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
B: Spiced Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons oil
2 bay leaves
2 medium onions, peeled & roughly chopped
1 red chilli, seeded & roughly chopped, optional
6 large tomatoes, scalded in hot water & peeled
10-12 cashew nuts, soaked in water for 10-15 mins
¼ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground chilli
1-2 teaspoons garam masala
C: Charcoal For Smoking
1 small piece charcoal
1 teaspoon ghee
D: Roast Capsicums
2 large capsicums (red or yellow) washed
E: To Assemble Pizza
4 wraps (21 cm), tortilla, chapatti or naan
100g feta cheese
2 sprigs curry leaves, stalks removed
Saffron-flavoured extra virgin olive oil, optional
1. In a medium mixing bowl, marinate chicken with A ingredients for 10 minutes. Set it aside.
2. Bring 1 litre of water in medium saucepan over high heat to a rolling boil. Using a knife, mark a cross on the base of each tomato. Meanwhile, fill a medium mixing bowl with tap water. Set it aside.
3. When water boils, gently put in tomatoes. When the skin starts to peel, remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon. Transfer them to prepared bowl of water.
4. Roughly chop tomatoes. Add them with chilli and cashew nuts into a food processor to pulse to a medium paste.
5. Heat up a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Pour in oil, add onions and fry until soft and translucent. Add bay leaf and continue cooking for 1 minute.
6. Add tomato mixture to saucepan, followed by dry spices. Allow sauce to cook for at least 20 minutes until tomatoes have softened. Turn heat to low.
7. Meanwhile, roast capsicums over a naked flame on the stove until charred. Wrap them with paper towels for 5 minutes — this allows the charred skin to loosen, making it easier for it to be rubbed off. Remove seeds and stem, then cut capsicums into pieces. Set them aside.
8. Put chicken meat into saucepan to cook. Simmer gently until tender, approximately 5 minutes until curry thickens slightly.
9. Using tongs, heat up a small piece of charcoal over a naked flame on the stove until it becomes hot. Place it inside a small metallic or ceramic bowl positioned in the centre of the saucepan. Work quickly — pour ghee over coal. Close saucepan with lid immediately. Let it smoke for 2-3 minutes.
10. Remove charcoal when smoke dissipates. Allow chicken curry to stand overnight in the fridge for flavours to develop. NOTE: You can also bake pizza on the same day. Allow curry to cool down completely at room temperature.
11. To assemble pizza: On baking day, heat up oven to 250°C for 10 minutes.
12. Heat up a non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add in wrap, piece by piece to warm up on both sides, approximately 1 minute on each side – check to see that it turned light bown and become firmer. Using a slotted spoon, divide chicken curry between ‘pizza bases’.
13. Break up feta cheese and spread them on top of chicken. Add capsicum. Sprinkle with curry leaves. Put pizzas into oven closer to top heating element. Bake for 4-5 minutes, keeping a watchful eye that they do not burn at the edges. Quicky remove pizzas when they get bronzed.
14. Remove pizzas and transfer to serving plates. Drizzle with saffron extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.
BUYING TIPS: Greek feta cheese is available in full or reduced fat. Red or yellow capsicum is sweeter than the green cultivar. For pizza base, there are several options: naan, tortilla or flatbread. Flatbread or wrap is used in this recipe – select from plain, wholemeal, wholegrain or garlic.
TECHNIQUE: Cashew nuts, when ground to a paste, thickens up the curry and lends it a creamy texture while sweetening the gravy.
Photos: Evonne Lyn Lee