Living in a ‘developing’ country when you are used to the comforts that the UK has to offer was always going to be a challenge for me. I’m a ‘home-girl’ at heart and like to have my familiar things around me… my family, friends, kitchen gadgets… Oh I miss my electric whisk, my kitchen scales and my food mixer… 😉
So it has been nearly two months since I left England and came to live in Yangon. I only have a couple of weeks left in the city before I head off on one final adventure around Singapore and Malaysia. Then I head back to England. Back to reality and ‘real life’. I’ve been taking a career break since September 2014 and I’m now 9 months down the line. It’s been an adventure, full of learning and re-discovering what I love most in life!
I write this post after a particularly gruelling 24 hours of unexplained 12 hour illness, lack of running water (in the middle of handwashing laundry) and sporadic internet access. Being a quite a pessimist, although I’m working on that, I have struggled to get back into a positive mindset and remember the good things about my Yangon adventure. A decent meal in a new cafe and a huge slice of carrot cake soon got me on the right track!
So today I share with you a recipe I am particularly proud of- Pizza in a pan!
At Harmoneat we have been working very closely with the Yangon Women’s Christian Association to teach local Myanmar women to cook ethnic foods from all over Myanmar as a way to learn about the cultures of the different ethnic groups that make up the country. As part of this we also introduced an ‘International cooking’ class for women interested in learning how to cook foods that may never have tried before.
One of the main challenges for people who love cake in Myanmar is that oven’s are not widely owned, so baking is a challenge. For the past few weeks we have been experimenting with ‘baking’ cakes in a rice cooker. I’ve not had much success but my colleague, Mellissa, has definitely cracked it! Using a basic banana cake recipe, she has produced some lovely, fluffy, cakes!
The next challenge posed to us was how to make pizza without an oven. One of our regular attendees had tried it but was confused with the technique so it was obviously do-able! A quick internet search later found a basic recipe that works every time! I did a practice run the day before the class and was surprised by how easy and pizza-like it was. I then left the second half of the dough to proof a little longer and it baked perfectly into a small loaf in the oven. So a good all-round bread recipe!
Ingredients: (Makes 4 large frying pan-sized bases)
- 2.5 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp fast action yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup warm water
- anything you like on your pizza but they must be pre-cooked- we used roasted peppers, aubergines and extra oregano (can add cooked meats too)
- tomato pizza sauce
- some grated cheese (mozzarella or cheddar work well)
- Add sugar and yeast to the warm water and mix thoroughly, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes to get the yeast working (although I have tried it without this resting time and it worked fine)
- Add the flour and the salt to the yeast water and bring it all together into a ball of dough, some extra water/flour may be needed if too dry/sticky
- Knead on a floured surface until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands
- Cut your dough into 4 equal portions and roll them out into round bases. The thickness depends on your liking but it needs to be smaller than the base of the frying pan you are using.
- The actual cooking of the pizza is very quick, so you need to have all your toppings ready!
- Dry-fry one side of the pizza base in the frying pan over a medium heat. You will see the dough start to change colour as it starts to cook through, the dough may bubble up but thats fine as the toppings will squash those bubbles back down
- Take the pan off the heat then flip the pizza base over so it is now cooked side up. Add the tomato sauce base, toppings and cheese as you would with any pizza recipe
- Put the frying pan back on the heat but with a lid on it this time, turning the heat to a medium-low. This is important as the lid will help to melt the cheese and warm the toppings whilst the heat will cook the underneath of the pizza base. This takes about 3 minutes, but need checking to make sure it’s not burning!
- Repeat these steps with the next three bases.
Not only is this pizza recipe good for when you have no oven, but also when you want a quick meal! Once you get fast at making the pizzas, you can do cook several at the same time, if you have the frying pans available! Make the bases as thick as you like, some people prefer the thicker, doughy texture, whereas I like mine thin and crispy! 😀