When you think of popular cuisine in India, the average person doesn’t automatically think of a delicious slice of pizza – instead, it more likely follows the thought process of a tasty selection of flavourful Indian dishes such as biryani, dhokla or naans. However, there is most definitely room for pizza in India.
With the popularity of a cheesy, doughy slice growing within the country, many local and international chain restaurants have established a foothold in the country, serving up pies with traditional toppings like pepperoni or margherita. There is also a broader appreciation for incorporating conventional Indian toppings such as chicken tikka, paneer and tandoori chicken – without shying away from a variety of additional toppings such as mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, jalapenos, corn and even red paprika.
Many people across the country have embraced pizza as a comfort food, with most pizza lovers enjoying it as a treat or a meal for special occasions.
As of September 2022, the popular pizza chain Domino’s has over 1,700 restaurants nationwide, in 371 cities. This is now the largest market outside the US in terms of the number of stores, according to the Economic Times.
So, let’s look at some of the popular pizza flavours in India.
Peppy Paneer Pizza
An Indian twist, which sees the use of paneer or cottage cheese. For the toppings, diced paneer is coated with a mixture of flavourful spices, green olives and green peppers. It is then further seasoned with red chilli flakes and black pepper.
A simple yet oh so tasty pizza. Made with spicy meat (a combination of pork and beef) and then seasoned with a mixture of paprika and red chilli powder – slightly different to the UK recipe, but this twist on a classic goes down a treat.
A true classic – the quality of a pizza shop’s margherita is very telling. If they can nail a good quality margherita, they can be trusted to make any others on this list. The typical Neapolitan pizza uses fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. However, they need to use San Marzano tomatoes for this pie as they are essential to taste.
Paneer Makhni Pizza
Swapping out the traditional pizza sauce, for this offering makhni gravy is used instead. Made using red and green chillies, onion, tomatoes, cashews and other spices. The delicious paneer is cooked separately in the usual tikka spices. This is then combined to create a true fusion of Italian pizza base and Indian flavours. This is a must-try if you find yourself over in India.
Indi Tandoori Paneer Pizza
Another Indian variation on a classic pizza. The paneer is first marinated in tandoori masala and then fried. It is then added to the pizza base with red paprika and peppers. Mint mayonnaise is then drizzled over the top, which brings out the symphony of flavours.
Chicken Tikka Pizza
The wholesome and truly recognisable flavours of tandoori masala with pieces of chicken tikka, onion, mint mayo and red paprika.
It turns out that many popular pizza flavours in India share the same DNA as those preferred in the UK. Wherever it’s served, pizza gets tailored to local tastes and preferences.
Whether a peppy paneer or a pepperoni passion, great pizza is always a winner.