Pizza in Poipet: Delicious Recipes for Homemade Pizza Dough & Sauce

We don't really have a grocery store in Poipet. There are a couple of "supermarkets", and if processed-salty-trans-fat snacks are your thing, you will have no problem. But canned tomatoes, bread, flour, cheese (i.e. any regular Western grocery item)? Good luck. I feel lucky enough when I stop by the shop and find fresh milk for sale.

So we've gotten pretty good at stocking up on grocery items in the bigger cities and learning to make everything from scratch: bread, hummus, granola, spaghetti name it, I've probably tried it at least once.

Pizza sauce getting ready to simmer

Rising pizza dough

But one of the golden standards that we turn to nearly every week is homemade pizza sauce and crust. There is just something about a saucy piece of bread piled high with cheese that gives me comfort. Luckily, my mother had put together a cookbook for my 21st birthday, and it included her recipe for homemade pizza.

I don't really remember making pizza a lot growing up - why would you, when you could buy Tostino's for $2 a piece on sale and have it ready in 15 minutes? Although a few restaurants in the casinos make pizza, it's just not the American style we love so much. I mean seriously, who wants curried basil chicken on your pizza?

Rolling out the dough

So, for the past year, we've made homemade pizza at least a few times a month. Initially we had a supply of pepperoni, but as that ran out, we branched out into making veggie pizzas, like mushroom, pepper, zucchini, and recently, broccoli and roasted eggplant.

Sometimes I honestly get tired of making anything I want from scratch. I just want to wander into Trader Joe's and pull what I want off the shelf, pop it in the microwave or oven, and eat it, without really having to work for it. In America, choosing to make something from scratch is a choice you can make with a bit of pride. Here, it's simply a choice borne out of desperation.

Sauce ready to go on the dough

Roasting veggies

But pizza really isn't that difficult. It probably rates on one of the easiest meals ever, once you get the knack of it. My mom's recipe is super easy, too. So I want to challenge you - if you've never made homemade pizza before, do it. And try to be a bit adventurous with the toppings - pepperoni is for sissies (but it is, oh, so delicious).

Just a handful of mozzarella cheese is enough

Dollops of roasted eggplant and broccoli

Recipes compliments of Mom

Homemade Pizza Crust
makes one 14" pizza

3/4 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/4 c. flour (I use a mix of half all-purpose, half whole wheat - my favorite whole wheat flour for anything is finely ground Indian Atta flour)
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Add sugar and yeast to warm water. Let proof for 8 minutes (after 8 minutes, it should be puffy). Add oil, then dry ingredients. Knead on floured surface, until smooth. Place in oiled bowl; cover. Let rise for 2 hours. Punch down. Roll out to 14" pizza. Place on pizza pan that is covered with a light layer of cornmeal - about 1-2 Tbsp (My favorite pizza pans are Wilton Pizza Pans - great for crispy crusts). Pierce all over with fork to prevent bubbling. Spread with sauce, toppings, and cheese. Bake at 425F for 18 minutes or until brown.

Make-ahead option: After rising for 2 hours, punch down and place in refrigerator overnight. Take out of refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature at least one hour before rolling out.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
makes enough for 2 pizzas

15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. each: oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
Dash of onion powder
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30-60 minutes, or until thick. Remove bay leaf. Spread on pizza. Leftovers can be frozen easily!

If you are feeling extra adventurous, check out these recipes for lemony blackened broccoli pizza and roasted eggplant pizza!

What's your favorite pizza topping?
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