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Pizza Pakistania


Pizza is Italian and everyone knows it. However, as remarked by a cousin from Italy, what Pizza Hut and other pizza brands make are delicious foods, but they are not Pizzas. A typical Italian Pizza is extremely thin crust with a crispy base.

What is interesting are the legends associated with its origins. Not sure how authentic or true are they, because one does not find them documented in books.

One is that Pizza used to be a poor man’s food in Ancient Greeks, who made a flat loaf of bread and spread it with onions, garlic and herbs.

In the 1st century BCE, the Latin poet Virgil refers to the ancient idea of bread as an edible plate from his Latin epic poem, the Aeneid (trans. A. S. Kline ):
When the poor fare drove them to set their teeth
into the thin discs, the rest being eaten, and to break
the fateful circles of bread boldly with hands and jaws,
not sparing the quartered cakes, Iulus, jokingly,
said no more than: ‘Ha! Are we eating the tables too?’

Another is that in 1800s Italian Royality commissioned a cook to make Pizza, in honor of Queen Margherita. Out of the three, the Queen picked up the one made with tomatoes, olives and mozzarella cheese, because it had the three colors of Italian flag–red green and white. And so this is how it came to be known as Pizza Margherita. Not sure if Italy had the same flag then too.

Interestingly,  when you ask some friends who make pizza at home,  they share that they add many ingredients into the base including eggs, powder milk, baking powder, baking soda, butter etc. Yet many of them fail to make the necessary sponge, or the crisp the base made from shops get.

However, the recipe that a cousin shared from Italy was surprisingly simple, yet fail-proof. Never ever has my pizza base, after following her instructions,  failed to rise.

The ingredients are simple– flour, yeast, a pinch of salt, a teaspoon sugar, some lukewarm water and Olive oil. It is the method of making the dough that makes the real difference.

Fond of homemade Pizza, as it comes steaming hot from the oven with its appetizing aroma, the grown up kids,  take active part in custom designing the toppings. Having tried almost all the renowned and strange combinations, they are now fond of green and white topping which includes– pesto sauce at the base, baby spinach leaves, fresh basil leaves, green olives, feta & mozzarella cheeses.

Nostalgic with the green and white colors of the Pakistani flag, they call this (originally a Greek recipe) Pizza Pakistania.

Following is the making of the Pizza Pakistania from the scratch:

First and the most important step: To let yeast ( I teaspoon), a fist of flour( half a cup), and  sugar ( 1 teaspoon)  froth with lukewarm water ( 2 cups) for 15-30 minutes
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The kneading of dough. Add gradually the remaining  flour ( total 3 cups) , olive oil( half a cup) and pinch of salt. Knead it well and leave it to rise for half an hour in a warm place.

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Rolling out a leavened dough. The more leavened it is, the more it gets tough to roll out as  it keeps recoiling back:

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Base spread with Pesto paste, which if homemade needs basil leaves, pine nuts, fresh garlic made into a paste with  olive oil:
{Homemade Pesto sauce: Take a cup of fresh basil leaves(tulsi leaves), half a cup of pine nuts( chilghoza), half cup extravirgin olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic and salt to taste. Grind them coarsely in a chopper or a mortar}.

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Our fresh supply of basil leaves, which adds aroma to the pizza:

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Assembling together baby spinach leaves(2 cups), basil leaves( half a cup), feta cheese( 1 cup) and mozzarella cheese(1 cup):

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Bake it in a preheated oven at 225 degrees C, for 15-20 minutes, until cheese and the crust is golden brown.

Hot and crispy pizza, just out of the oven:

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And it took just a quarter of an hour for two pizzas to vanish from the dining table:

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Moral of the story: Its simple to make ( with less cumbersome toppings), loads of green healthy stuff, and a pleasant change of taste from the usual pizzas.

Don’t miss the close look at the fine sponge and the crisp of the base bread. 😀

How I wish, these Christmas vacations are forced upon us, every few months !!!

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Comments on: "Pizza Pakistania" (1)

  1. Hi i. it’s good to see you in 2013. This looks delicious. I am going to bookmark it and of course have my girlfriend make it. 🙂 Looking forward as always to your informative pots in the new year.
    Namaste

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