Thursday, February 25, 2016


            Sally and I have had a lot of success making pizza in Mongolia. It is always satisfying to dine on something that taste like home, and all the ingredients can be bought in most aimag centers in Mongolia. My only warning to PCVs is that I use a small oven, which I know not everyone has, but it is possible to create a baking apparatus using a ger stove. I don’t know how, but other PCVs have done this with success.

The Dough (makes two 8 by 12 pizzas or one large calzone/Stromboli)

A dab of sugar
4 cups of flour
7 grams of instant yeast (Half of a small Mongolian bought packet. Packet is white and has Instant Yeast in English)
1 tsp of salt and desired seasoning
1 ½ cup of water (You can always add more later if need be)
¼ cup of oil, plus 1/8 cup of oil

1.      Warm up the water to slightly hotter than lukewarm. Add the yeast and sugar, and let sit for five minutes or until the yeast looks bubbly. While the yeast is sitting, mix the flour with salt and seasoning in large bowl. (I have taken to seasoning my dough with Cajun season from the US or locally bought oregano. I usually add seasoning until the flour takes on the desired smell; just be careful not to over salt anything.) You should also prepare another bowl with about 1/8 cup of oil on the bottom to place dough in to rise.

2.      Mix the water/yeast and ¼ cup of oil with the flour and salt. Stir until it is mixed somewhat, then dump the whole mixture on a smooth surface and knead for 10 minutes. When it is one solid cohesive mixture, I will throw it in the air to mix more air into the dough. (if you know Italian songs, now’s the time to sing them.)

3.      Place the kneaded dough in the oiled bowl and roll it around until it is covered in oil. Place it in a warm, moist environment for 30 minutes. If you have a microwave, heat a mug half full of water for 5 minutes while you are kneading the dough. Leave the mug in the microwave and put the bowl of dough in front of it. Shut the door, and let sit for 30 minutes. (Don’t microwave the dough)

If you do not have this luxury, it is a little harder to create this environment. Use a water boiler to boil some water while kneading the dough. Pour some water into a cup of bowl and place bowl of dough next to it. Then try placing tupin over both. If you are in a ger in the winter perhaps place everything at a warm distance from the stove.

Sauce and Toppings

1 can of tomato paste
Salt, pepper, sugar, hopefully oregano
Garlic Chopped
Onion Chopped
Cheese, ideally grated, but chopped is fine too
Whatever else you want to put on top of your Pizza

While the dough rising, prepare everything else. 

For the sauce, open the paste and pour into a small bowl. Season with sugar, salt, pepper, and oregano until it reaches desired taste. Beware of over salting! But if you do, you can recover to an extent with sugar. (Some people add garlic and onion to the sauce. I prefer to sprinkle raw chopped garlic and onion on top of the sauce after it is spread on the dough.)

Prepare the rest of the toppings on a plate for easy reach when creating the pizza. Finally, oil a baking pan to place the dough in. If you do not have a baking pan create one with aluminum foil. This is usually done by taking a sheet of foil and folding the edges in until desired size is created.

Create the Pizza!

The dough should now be about twice its original size. Half it and spread it out on the oiled pan. Add sauce followed by garlic, onion, cheese, and other desired toppings. Place in oven and bake for appropriate amount of time. Our oven in Mongolia does not really adjust temperature, so I usually put it to its highest setting and leave the pizza for about 20-30 minutes. The cheese should appear melted, not burnt. The dough should appear cooked and a knife should be able to easily slide into it without sticking. Remove from oven, let sit a few minutes and enjoy!

The dough is the hardest part to making a pizza, once you have mastered this feel free to experiment and do whatever you desire. I have made calzones, strombolis, broccoli cheese stuffed rolls etc…


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