Restaurateur Munish Narula notes that pizza has been growing in popularity exponentially in his native India—not only has mozzarella production taken hold in Calcutta, but Pizza Hut and Domino's locations are well known for such creations as chicken tikka masala pizza. That's half of the reason why he decided to put a slew of South Asian-inspired pizzas on the menu at his new Tiffin Etc., a casual companion to his fleet of well-loved, more formal Tiffin eateries located around Philadelphia (there are three right now, with two more on the way).
As far as his reasoning, what's the other half? "Everybody likes pizza," he says.
Narula's pies feature thin crusts slathered with sauces and spices and topped with ingredients you're more used to seeing piled on a plate than tucked into a rectangular box. The tandoori subzi combines grilled mixed vegetables, roasted garlic, and fresh mozzarella on top of a cilantro and mint "pesto" with ground almonds, and the murg makhani pizza features Tiffin's ever-popular butter chicken along with cheese, red chile flakes, and a spicy tomato sauce. Chef Hari Nayak cooks all the dishes at Tiffin Etc., including the kati rolls, those popular flatbread roll-ups eaten on the streets of Mumbai.
Drew Lazor is the food editor of the Philadelphia City Paper and the webmaster of the paper's food blog, Meal Ticket.