Currying Flavor

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Curry On Pizza puts an Indian spin on pizza

Dhum Aloo

There are some who would have you believe that pizza is sacred—that any alterations made to the traditional format is a food crime at best and a sacrilegious abomination at worst. Slapping that notion in the face is Curry On Pizza, a curious eatery that dares to deliver pizza loaded with Indian ingredients.

Opened earlier this year by owner and restaurateur Vidhu Mun literally across the street from Nassau County in Bellerose, Queens, Curry On Pizza (COP) combines the dynamic spice array found in Indian cuisine with the crust and cheese pizza composition we all know and love. With pizzas running the gamut from butter paneer to gobhi masala to chicken tikka and tandoori chicken, it is truly Indian-style pizza rather than merely pizza with curry sprinkled on top.

“Everybody loves pizza and the love of Indian food has grown and keeps growing, so I wanted to combine it and make something new and different,” said Mun, who said he hopes to franchise the idea for Curry On Pizza in the very near future. “It’s a twist on pizza.”

That twist begins with the very base of pizza—the crust, which is lighter and crispier than traditional dense pizza crust, with pleasantly puffy pockets of air. That’s when things get really interesting—and fragrant—as ingredients vary depending upon which Indian dish is being showcased on the pie. The Chicken Tikka pizza features creamy garlic sauce, mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, red onion, chicken tikka, scallions and fresh cilantro; while the Saag Paneer pizza displays a richly green saag sauce with spinach, paneer cheese, red onion, green chilies, ginger and garlic. Dhum aloo brings marinara sauce into the fray, combining it with mozzarella cheese and potatoes marinated in a curry-forward sauce.

One of the most popular pizzas on the menu also happens to be the owner’s favorite, Chicken 65, which takes its name from the legendary southern India dish which has an ingredient list that includes red chili powder, ginger garlic, turmeric, cumin, curry, green chilies and more. The Chicken 65 pizza starts with that airy crust and mozzarella cheese, along with green bell peppers, red onion, fresh cilantro and 65-style sauce and deep-fried chicken. Definitely the spiciest pizza on the menu, Chicken 65 features a heat that builds as you eat it. At first, the spice level is deceptively tame, but before long brow sweat begins to accumulate as the incredible flavor and the endorphins released by your brain force you to keep eating, despite the heat.

Less spicy, but just as flavorful is the COP Veggie Pizza. Loaded with mushrooms, green bell peppers, olives, red onion, jalapeños, diced tomatoes, garlic, ginger and fresh cilantro, it is finished with mozzarella cheese and COP’s special curry sauce. The highlight of the veggie pie is the big, “meaty” mushrooms that provide a grounding earthiness amid the dizzying array of fragrant spices.

The pizzas are available in four sizes: 10-inch “small,” 12-inch “medium,” 14-inch “large, and 18-inch “extra-large.” Customers are also encouraged to build their own pies from an array of meat and veggie toppings.

COP also boasts more Americanized versions of pizza, like the All Meat Combo loaded with marinara, mozzarella, ham, salami, pepperoni, chorizo, sausage and ground beef; the Hawaiian, with marinara, mozzarella, ham and pineapple; along with other pizzas like Sizzlin’ Bacon and Garlic Chicken.

Beyond pizza, COP also brings chicken wings into the world of Indian spices. First, the eatery offers wings with the usual sauces—spicy garlic, teriyaki, BBQ, buffalo, etc.—but it is the two Indian preparations that are of the must-try variety, sending a spark to the senses and convincing the eater that wings should have always had an Indian option. The Tandoori wings are marinated in classic tandoori spices, such as paprika, turmeric, garlic, nutmeg, cayenne, ginger, coriander and garam masala, for a finished product that is immediately distinct and spicy. Meanwhile, the COP Signature Wings are marinated in a secret, proprietary blend of spices that brings a touch more heat than the Tandoori Wings.

Don’t skip the side orders, particularly the masala fries and the garlic sticks. There’s also potato wedges, onion rings, zucchini sticks and popcorn shrimp, along with a few salad options and desserts like cheesecake, chocolate lava cake and gulab jamun, a spongy sweet treat straight from India. And to quell the heat, there are mango lassis available.
Curry On Pizza is the Indian twist on pizza we didn’t know we needed. It’s available for dine-in, take-out or delivery and can be found on Seamless and Grub Hub.

To inquire about franchising, contact Vidhu Mun at 518-488-9002 or email him at vidhucurryonpizza@gmail.com.

Curry On Pizza, 248-49 Jamaica Ave., Bellerose; 929-405-1000; www.thecurryonpizza.com.

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