Butter Paneer Curry Naan Pizza


XIAOLU'S NOTES: After a couple of comments about how time-intensive it'd be to make everything from scratch, I wanted to assure you that you don't have to go DIY crazy like me to make really yummy curry, naan, or naan pizza. I'm really just offering several ideas for you to play with and hopefully fit into your own cooking. Feel free to use store-bought paneer and naan. You could even just make naan pizza with traditional pizza toppings like tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, etc. As always I encourage you to play with your food! 

Manjula's Butter Paneer Curry
Adapted from Manjula's Kitchen (she has a video tutorial)
Serves 2 to 4

1/2 lb. paneer (cubed) [I made my own following this tutorial]
Canola or vegetable oil to fry the cheese
2 ripe medium tomatoes
1 jalapeno or other green chili pepper
1/4-inch piece ginger
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
Pinch of asafoetida (hing) [Fine to omit if you can't find this]
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup yogurt, very well beaten with a fork or whisk
1/2 cup green peas (optional)
Scant 3/4 tsp salt, more or less to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp sugar, if desired

In a pan, saute the paneer cubes (in batches if necessary) in oil that's about 1/4-inch deep until golden brown and crisp on all sides. Remove, letting the oil drain off from a slotted spatula or spoon as you do so, and set aside.

Using a handheld immersion blender, traditional blender, or food processor, puree the tomatoes, green chili pepper, and ginger.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add asafoetida and cumin seeds. Once the cumin seeds have cracked (you'll hear it), add the tomato paste, tomato puree, coriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder, and bay leaves. Cook for about 4 minutes more. The tomato mixture will start to separate visibly from the oil and will reduce to about half its starting volume.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the heavy cream until smooth then add the mixture and the well-beaten yogurt to the gravy. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Next, add the green peas (if using) and fried paneer cubes. Let cook for a few minutes until the peas are tender. Finally, add the salt, garam masala, and cilantro. Taste the curry, adding a little sugar if the gravy is sour (add 1 to 2 pinches of baking soda if gravy is very sour) or salt if needed. Serve hot with basmati rice and/or Indian flatbread such as naan (see recipe below) or chapati.

Naan Flatbread
Slightly adapted from Indian Simmer
Makes 6 to 7 naan

NOTES:
 These are the ingredients for dough and then you can flavor your naan with all kinds of herbs, including cumin naan, garlic naan, butter naan and some topped with cilantro greens. So have fun with this!

2 cups all purpose flour or wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together and make a well of flour. Now mix milk and yogurt together. Pour half of yogurt mixture and the oil into the well and slowly combine. There isn't an exact amount of liquid that should be added to make a perfect dough. So just add liquid slowly and combine it all together slowly until a soft dough is made. The dough should be soft enough for you to be able to dig your finger into it without applying any pressure. If dough sticks to hand too much then use little bit of oil on hand and then punch into the dough. Cover with damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

After a few hours, dust your working board with flour, take out the dough and knead it about 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the dough into smaller balls (you should get about 6 or 7 balls to make naans). Flour the board again and flatten [I used a combination of rolling and pulling] the balls to make bread which is a little thick and elongated [about 7 to 8 inches long]. If desired, sprinkle one side of the bread with a flavor of your choosing (such as cumin, minced garlic, or chopped cilantro). Brush the other side with water.

Heat a thick bottom skillet or a wok or any heavy bottom pan with a lid. Once its nicely hot, place the naan wet side down which would stick and cover it with a lid. Let it cook for about 30 seconds or until you see bubbles on top. Now cook the other side of the naan over the direct flame of a burner with the help of tongs (be careful!). When you see some charred brown spots then you know that the naan is done. Spread some butter over the bubbly side and enjoy!

Curry Naan Pizza
Assembly adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Makes 4 small naan pizzas

1 1/2 cups Butter Paneer Curry [Leftover from above recipe]
4 Naan Flatbreads [Leftover from above recipe]
Grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
Fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush one side of each naan bread with olive or vegetable oil, and place breads on a large baking sheet, oiled side down. Spread about 1/3 cup of paneer curry across each piece of naan, leaving at least a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, if desired. Bake naans for 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and dig in!