When Not In Mumbai 

Cheese Masala Pao Pizza

Summer is here! So is everyone from all across the globe, including Mumbai! What’s not here unfortunately, is a restaurant that serves Masala Pao, the Shiv Sagar way! (Yes, you’ll probably say that your local hangout makes better masala pao but I’m a SoBo girl, and this is my blog so we’ll just agree to disagree.) 

Here in Manhattan, we don’t have “Shiv Sagars” but we seem to have a lot more pizza joints in a square block radius than any other place I’ve ever been to, which is saying something. And in spite of which there are some weirdos (like me) who still try and bake some fresh pizza pies at home. 
No, I’m not deluded and I don’t think I can better the New York Slice. But I can definitely give it a crazy twist and make an absolutely mouth watering Cheese Masala Pao Pizza Pie! And although the NYC pizza will always be the best (again, agree to disagree to whatever you’ve got) but there’s hard evidence of this being my finest work so far! So here’s a recipe in case you don’t believe me. Try it out yourself. 


  • 2 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped 
  • 4 – 5 tbsp chili-garlic paste* 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
  • 1 tsp cumin powder 
  • 1 tbsp paprika 
  • 2-3 tbsp pao bhaji masala 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1 package pizza dough (bought mine at wholefoods, big enough for a 13″ pie)
  • Olive oil to coat the dough 
  • Mozzarella + cheddar : 1 cup half & half, shredded 


*For the ginger garlic paste, soak about 8 – 10 kashmiri dried red chilies + 6 – 8 cloves of garlic in a little bit of hot water (till submerged) for about an hour. Blend into really fine paste and season with salt. 


  1. In a saucepan, warm the butter and oil and fry the cumin seeds. 
  2. Add onions and saute till brown.
  3. Add tomatoes, chili-garlic paste, spices and salt and cook down till it’s semi-dry. (Think chunky salsa)
  4. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  6. In a round 13″ pizza pan, spread out the dough and coat generously with olive oil.
  7. Leaving about half inch near the border, spread the “sauce”
  8. Top with cheese.
  9. Bake till the cheese melts and the crust is golden brown. 
  10. Slice and devour and try not burning the roof of your mouth. 

Some places & products I used👇🏼




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