Indalian!

Om.

Here I sit, waiting for my husband to come home for lunch… and stomach growling because my pitta is ready to eat!

On the menu today is a fusion of Italian & Indian… it’s taken me years to get here.  It was about 10 years ago, that said husband and I were preparing a meal and I freaked out when he attempted to combine basil and cumin in the same dish…

“Ugh! Basil is Italian and cumin is Indian, they can’t go together!”

I realize now that, as a Lebanese-Russian-Polish-Iraqi-Episcopalian-Jew this is a strange response.  I should know better than most: given the right circumstances, almost anything can go together.

These days, fusion is the hip thing in food… from bacon chocolate (sorry fellow vegetarians) to green tea ice cream, everyone is mixing it up. So today? Masala Flatbread… with Cilantro pesto and curried veggies… though you could just do the veg & the pesto, because, let’s face it, the starch (be it pizza crust, pasta, rice, chapati, tortilla, nan or pita) is mainly a vehicle to carry the goods!

Masala Pizza & Cilantro Pesto

Okay, in addition to being a yogi, cook, and ayurveda-freak, I’m a total word-nerd… so I like to call this meal Indalian (Indian + Italian)… the structure is Italian, because it looks and feels like pizza, but the flavor is all Indian.

Indalian Masala Flatbread

Veggie Masala

  • 2 TB Coconut oil or sunflower oil
  • Finger length piece of fresh ginger – thinly sliced in to slivers or chopped finely
  • 1 green chillie (optional) – chopped finely
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 7 curry leaves (found in Indian markets, optional)
  • 1 sweet potato (a few carrots would work too) – peeled, cut into quarters, then thinly sliced
  • 2 yellow summer squash (green zucchini would work too) – sliced thin on a diagonal
  • 1/2 Cup frozen peas
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tb sucanat or cane sugar (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the cumin & mustard seeds and stir about a minute or two until they start to release aroma.  Add the ginger, chillie, curry leaves & turmeric and stir another minute.  Add the vegetables, salt and sugar, stir to coat & add a splash of water to prevent sticking.  Cover and cook over medium low heat about 15 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.

Now your Masala Veg is ready… you can have it in a tortilla, serve over rice, or continue on with the pizza crust & cilantro pesto…

Cilantro Pesto (okay, it’s chutney, but it’s going on flatbread)

You’ll need a blender and ….

  • 1 head of cilantro – chop off the bottom thick stems, soak in a bowl of water to clean top
  • 2 TB dried coconut
  • 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 of a green chillie (optional)
  • Juice of 3 limes (or lemons)
  • Splash of filtered water (about 1/4 cup)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 TB maple syrup

Put all of the ingredients in blender and blend until smooth… adjust consistency with more or less water.  This will store nicely in a glass jar in the fridge for 3 days – you can have it as a “leftover” because  it was not cooked.

Serve over the masala veg and rice, or put on a flatbread or pizza crust like a pesto, with the veggies on top (read on)

Structuring it on a Flat Bread

You can use a ready made pizza crust or flatbread – there are lots of great ones out there in the freezer or cold section of the health food store… choose from white flour, whole wheat, corn, or rice based gluten free versions.  Follow the directions on the packaging… for a crisper more structured delight, you’ll usually prebake the crust at about 425 degrees, then add the toppings, then replace in the oven for a few minutes once again to warm through. Times vary from brand to brand but usually range from 5-10 minutes.  I plan one flatbread per person… but like I said, I’m pitta and I like to eat!

For today’s recipe, I warmed 2 gluten free flatbreads until they were a little crispy, then I covered one with just veggies, and the other with the cilantro pesto, and put the veggies on top.  I placed both  back in the oven for about 7 minutes.  I served the veggie-only flat bread with the cilantro pesto to spread on top or dip!

Flatbread with cilantro pesto, ready to add the masala veggies on top

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5 thoughts on “Indalian!

  1. Hi Kaya ~

    Thanks for this great recipe. I made it last night & it was good – minus one thing … the pesto gave off so much water that the flat bread (I bought the brown rice pizza crust you recommended) was soaking wet after baking it 1st to get it a bit crunchy & then baking it again w/the pesto & veggies on top. Any suggestions for how to avoid this ? Thanks.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Hmmm….bummer about that! The pesto needs to be thick to start with. It may be that your head of cilantro was small, and that you needed less lime or water than you used? The pesto should be a thickness somewhere between ricotta cheese & cream cheese. Ways to handle this issue: 1) use less liquid (add slowly as needed); 2) add more coconut as a thickener if it is too thin; 3) do the other style I mention in the recipe – just put the veggies on the crust & bake. Then have the pesto on the side to pour on top or dip. – Kaya

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