Roti Pizza

Back when my sister and I were younger, brattier, and far less appreciative of my mother’s amazing cooking, we would beg my mom to let us order pizza for dinner. Instead of giving in to our demands, she came up with this compromise: our favorite pizza toppings, but on roti. As it turns out, roti makes an excellent pizza crust—it chars and crisps up nicely, and it doesn’t get soggy under the weight of the toppings. Roti pizza is now the most-made dish in our house, and we’ve gotten really creative with topping variations. We’ve graduated from mozzarella and tomato and moved toward newer discoveries, like potatoes, rosemary, and Parmesan (an innovative Spanish-slash-Italian pizza), or chutney, cheddar, and onion (salty, spicy, and very addictive). Feel free to get as creative as you want! Try making it with sweet ingredients, like cinnamon-sprinkled apples or Nutella and strawberries. Roti pizza parties are for all.

Roti Pizza is excerpted from Indian-ish © 2019 by Priya Krishna with Ritu Krishna. Photography © 2019 by Mackenzie Kelley. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Ingredients

  • Four 7-inch rotis or whole wheat tortillas (use 8 rotis if you are making both variations)
  • Olive oil, for drizzling

For the chutney-cheddar topping

  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons Cilantro Chutney

For the potato-rosemary topping

  • 1 medium russet potato, sliced into paper-thin rounds (a mandoline works best for this)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary

For the cilantro chutney

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, preferably organic, stems and leaves roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 small Indian green chile or serrano chile, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime), plus more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed

Steps

Step 1

Make the cilantro chutney: In a blender, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a few drops of water to get it going. Taste and adjust the salt and/or lime juice, if needed. This chutney keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 2 days.

Step 2

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Step 3

Score each roti a few times with a knife or fork. Place them on a perforated pizza pan or a broiler pan. Drizzle olive oil on each roti (enough to coat the roti but not soak it) and smooth the oil over the surface with your fingers. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. Once more, drizzle each baked roti with a little olive oil (again, enough to coat but not soak the roti) and smooth it over the surface with your fingers.

Step 4

To make chutney-cheddar pizzas: Evenly distribute the onion among the rotis, followed by the cheddar. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheddar is melted and bubbling and the edges are crisp. Remove the pizzas from the oven, let cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then drizzle them with the chutney.

Step 5

To make potato-rosemary pizzas: Layer the potato slices over the rotis, and top with another small drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and fully cooked. Distribute the cheese evenly over the rotis and bake for 5 minutes more, until the cheese has crisped up at the edges. Remove the pizzas from the oven, sprinkle with the rosemary, and drizzle a little more olive oil on top.

Step 6

Cut the roti pizzas into quarters.

Cook Notes

Cilantro chutney is the king of chutneys. Why? Because it goes with any and all Indian food: samosas, dal roti, any kind of chaat (the Indian genre of snacks)...you name it. During the photo shoot for this book, my mom churned out literal buckets of the stuff every single day because (1) it’s delicious, (2) it’s photogenic, and (3) we drizzle it on everything. I love this simple, OG recipe from my mom because it retains the pleasant grassiness from the cilantro and has a creeping, lingering heat (though you can nix the chiles if creeping heat is not your thing). There are also many ways to customize it—add mint for fresher notes, or nuts for richness. Use it as a salsa, a sauce for grilled chicken, or as a topping for this Roti Pizza.

photo by Mackenzie Kelley