The one travel destination that everyone in our family can agree upon is New York. Trips to other cities can trigger off heated debates as we argue the pros and the cons, but everyone is always ready to go to the Big Apple!
Everyone can find something to do in New York. Whether you love theater, art, music or history, you will find something to keep you entertained. The best thing to do, of course, is simply to walk the streets. Manhattan is one of the most walkable places in the world – it is almost impossible to get lost, and every corner brings you a new sight. From the beautiful to the bizarre, the sublime to the ridiculous, you will see it all within a few blocks. New York is also one of the best destinations for food lovers. You can dine at five starred restaurants, but you can also find all the world’s cuisines on the streets. The sheer variety and number of food trucks is unmatched anywhere else. Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Indian – a culinary tour around the globe is possible without leaving downtown!
New York can truly be considered a spice mecca. Every kind of spice or spice mixture from every corner of the world can be easily obtained here. My favourite place to shop for spices, whenever I’m in the city is Kalustyan’s. No matter how well stocked my spice cabinet, I always find new and interesting things to buy here! On our recent trip to New York, we enjoyed Cuban paella, empanadas and kimchi dumplings. But, you can’t go to New York and not have pizza! The most memorable one we ate was a delicious Indian version with Shahi paneer. Shahi paneer can be called the vegetarian relative of Butter chicken. The rich flavours of paneer simmered in the spicy tomato cream sauce are so good that you won’t even miss the chicken! You can also serve the shahi paneer without the pizza with some naan on the side. Or you could fold the pizza dough in half over the stuffing and make a delicious calzone!
Shahi Paneer Pizza
1 cup (about 4 large) canned premium whole plum tomatoes with puree
1/2 tsp each: ground coriander, ground cumin, garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves, cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbsp each: butter, whipping (heavy) cream, chopped fresh coriander leaves
1 lb prepared pizza dough
1 cup each: crumbled paneer, shredded mozzarella cheese
Additional suggested toppings: sliced olives, sliced red onions, chopped baby spinach
Blend tomatoes with puree, spices and salt in blender or food processor till smooth. Warm deep non stick skillet over medium heat. Add tomato spice mixture and let it start to bubble. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 min, stirring occasionally. Fold in butter, cream and fresh coriander. Cook for two minutes. Sauce can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time and kept refrigerated.
Preheat oven to 420F. Line 2 pizza pans or baking sheets with parchment. Divide dough in half and roll out each half into an 8 inch wide circle, sprinkling it with all purpose flour whenever necessary to prevent sticking. Place on baking sheets. Spread half of tomato sauce over each pizza. Sprinkle evenly with the two cheeses. If using additional suggested toppings, spread them evenly over top. Bake for 15 min or until cheese is melted and pizza is done.
Smita Chandra is the best selling author of 3 renowned Indian cookbooks and the Easy Tandoori cooking app (available for iPhone,iPad iPhone, iPad and Android). She is a spokesperson, recipe developer and brand ambassador for Kraft Canada, recipe developer for Sofina Foods, food consultant and recipe developer for Saveur magazine in New York. Smita teaches cooking at Centre For Food at Durham College, Kraft Kitchens, LCBO, Fortinos and other area cooking schools. She is a freelance food writer for several publications, TV personality and South Asian cooking expert. She has made several popular How To videos on simple cooking techniques and dishes, including cooking commercials for television and appeared on several prominent TV and radio shows such as Christine Cushing, Anna Olson, The Mom Show, Kitchen Equipped, CTV’s Balance, Breakfast TV, Mary Ito’s More to Life, CBC Radio’s Fresh Air, World band media, and national Public radio.