In 1991, there were 1 million computers on the ‘net (surfin’ USA), Hannibal Lecter charms us with his food-and-wine pairing in ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ (fava beans and chianti!) gas cost $1.12/gallon (WHAAAAT???!!!), and Cooking Light ran a recipe for Malaysian Chicken Pizza.
Fast forward to 2013 and there are now 8 to 10 billion devices connected to the internet (BIG surfin’ USA), Hannibal Lecter is still charming us, but this time in his very own TV series about his pre-being-caught food-and-wine pairings; gas is, um, how do you say? oh yes, expensive as all hell; and that very same recipe still. sat. in. my. folder. Unmade. Sometimes I don’t even understand myself.
Luckily, 2012 brought my friend, Keri, into my life. Keri also saved recipes from Cooking Light circa 1991 (back when margarine was the STUFF, folks) like Malaysian Chicken Pizza. Cooking soul mates? Um, yes!
Zee big difference is that Keri has been making and enjoying this pizza for years and years, while it made my moves between Belgium, Penn State, Baltimore, Honolulu, and finally to Knox-vegas… still unmade. I think that magazine cut-out is the oldest thing I own that isn’t some sort of beautiful heirloom passed down to me from my grandmother. First edition Lladro, diamond earrings, inscribed family cookbook… Malaysian Chicken Pizza clipping.
Sometimes you need friends to support you with all your quirks, and sometimes you need someone like Keri to give you a crazy-pants look and tell you to get off your keister and make this awesome pizza, already. (Keri is a classy Southern woman who would never say anything like that to me, but I’m so totally sure that is what she was thinking. I could see it in her eyes.)
OF COURSE it was delicious. My favorite way to eat fusion food is in pizza form, and this is a line drive into my left field of awesome. Malaysian flavors are really varied, and this one probably isn’t all that authentic since it involves peanut butter, but hey! It’s crazy-amazing! The ‘sauce’ is rich, tangy, sweet and salty. The chicken makes it filling. You can do it on the grill or in the oven. You can add way more cheese than the original recipe calls for (hello!). Like all things from 1991, it’s just plain FUN.
- ¾ c rice vinegar
- ¼ c firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ c soy sauce
- 1 T minced peeled fresh ginger
- 3 T water
- 2 T peanut butter (I used Jif, feel free to use the natural stuff)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used less due to toddler)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 T olive oil plus more for the baking sheet
- 1½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 c shredded Italian blend or mozzarella cheese
- 1 lb pizza dough (or frozen dough or dough from your fave pizza place/Trader Joe's)
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- Preheat oven to 550°.
- Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl (rice vinegar through garlic); stir well with a whisk.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan.
- Pour rice vinegar mixture into pan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. (Mixture will be consistency of thick syrup.). Set aside while you prep your dough.
- With a floured rolling pin and floured hands, roll and stretch dough into a ⅛-inch-thick pie shape (this gives you a medium-thickness crust, like Neapolitan pizza) on a floured work surface (you get the idea... flour everything!). Draping the dough over your knuckles and slowly rotating the dough around them also helps. If you're having a hard time stretching your dough, it may be too cold. Try letting it rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 10-15 minutes at room temperature, then reattempt the stretching. My pizzas are far from perfect circles- embrace the rustic look.
- Transfer the stretched dough to a large baking sheet lightly oiled with olive oil (or if using a pizza stone and peel, dust peel with cornmeal instead of olive oil. See notes for more on pizza stones.). Sprinkle half the cheese over dough, leaving a ½-inch border; top with chicken mixture, then the rest of the cheese. Bake pizza for 13-15 minutes, until crust is nice and browned and crisp, and cheese is bubbly. Let the pizza rest for a minute or two before adorning with green onions and cutting into slices.