Indian

This Indian-Inspired Naan Pizza Will Make a Crust Lover Out of Anyone

Nik Sharma's bold flavors are a welcome twist on a classic.

March  4, 2019

I could legitimately eat pizza every day of the week if left to my own devices. Yes, I'm a full-fledged adult, but tell me who doesn't love a warm, cheesy slice? I'll take it every which shape and style: a Neapolitan pie, a New York slice, a Detroit pan, a clammy New Haven riff, flammkuchen in German (or tarte flambée in French), a Korean corn and ranch variety, and yes, even—close your eyes, fellow New Yorkers!—a Chicago deep dish.

That's why, when I stumbled upon Nik Sharma's spice-forward version in his gorgeous debut cookbook, Season, I knew I'd hit upon a winner. His Margherita Naan Pizza is a clever Indian riff on a crowd-pleasing classic using bold, unconventional flavors like coriander and nigella seeds, and homemade naan as the chewy "crust." (I never saw pizza disappear so quickly in our office, something worth noting for the crust-averse.)

The bridge from naan to pizza was an easy one for Nik to draw.

Naan as pizza crust, a delicious maneuver. Photo by Jenny Huang

"In India, nigella seeds are a classic topping on naan," he tells me. "And they give off a nutty, onion-like smell when toasted, which is why it pairs beautifully with bright summer tomatoes. A little unexpected, and yet a simple way to play with a classic."

It may be winter, and juicy tomatoes are all but impossible to get your hands on. But this pizza is pretty darn tasty with itty cherry tomatoes as well, which are ripe and widely available now. Plus, the sentiment of nigella seeds offering a nice counterpoint to sweet-tart tomatoes rings true, regardless of the season.

The beauty of pizza lies in its ability to take on the flavors and whims of its creator. For Nik, that means jazzing up his version with fresh peppery arugula leaves or a poached egg and a bit of chile oil right out of the oven.

As for his pro tips on getting the flavors and textures just right?

"Get a baking stone or baking steel to get a fantastic crust with the nice char," he says. "For the last 2 minutes, set the broiler on to get a nice blistered char to recreate that fire-oven finish." You can also use this recipe on a grill or smoker. You'll want to make sure to line the base of the grates with foil or use a baking stone or steel before proceeding.

Whatever you do, don't forget the most important matter, according to Nik. "I have a rule: There should be plenty of cheese."

Watch Nik's pizza get made in the video above, and be sure to let us know your favorite pizza style!
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2 Comments

MollyDoc March 10, 2019
I have been usin naan for pizza crust for years (thank you Aldi)—so good and easy for weeknights!
 
Amy H. March 9, 2019
I love my Season cookbook, but my question here is where can I get that lovely little spice grinder used in the video? Thanks!