Curried Rotisserie Chicken Pizza with Mascarpone Cheese

That one week during the pandemic we roamed around Lake Tahoe it was life-altering for this outdoor enthusiast. I was in awe, just overtaken by the beauty of this scenic area of the Sierra Nevada. Sure, I had heard friends talk about Lake Tahoe. I had seen snaps of the azure blue lake and all those bumper stickers, Keep Tahoe Blue, but I truly had no clue just how majestic this area of El Dorado County really is.

I so lucked out by visiting Lake Tahoe during the global pandemic because when we visited, Lake Tahoe was a ghost town. This never happens. The campsite we stayed in was half empty. There was nothing to do but hike every day, everywhere. And eat a lot of pizza.

Darn it, I have to hike every day!

Gosh darn it, you mean I have to hike to the top of a mountain every day and then refuel with curried pizza? Twist my tanned arms why don’t you! One thing about Lake Tahoe, they do love their curry pizza. Curried pizza you say? Yeah, it’s a bit eccentric. I guess curry pizza is to Lake Tahoe what poutine is to Canada. I think I would rather chow down on a wood-fired curried pizza than french fries with gravy. (I’m just not a stick-to-your-ribs gravy fan over here) Lake Tahoe is the only place I have ever been to in the entire world where they put curry sauce on a pizza. And not just one pizzeria! Every pizzeria in Lake Tahoe seems to have a random curried pizza on its menu.Lake Tahoe

The first time I visited Lake Tahoe in the winter of 2008 I noticed every pizzeria had a curry pizza and I thought that it was quite strange, Lake Tahoe being 14,000 kilometers across the Arabian Sea from Bangalore, India. What is with all the curry pizza bro?

This was a good ten years before my first actual trip to southern India and way before I fell in love with an Anglo-Indian and also Indian cooking. I had no idea about how to even make an authentic Indian curry and I had never had a lamb biryani or a Brinjal Curry I had never tried spicy carrot pickle and did not have a Butter Chicken Butt. Yet.

I really knew nothing about Indian food but I knew curry did not belong on a pizza.

Maybe the Lake Tahoe chefs think wintertime, ski season, what sounds better than a hot spicy curry! Let’s throw this baby on a pizza! Because after a day of snow fun, you have normally burnt so many calories all you want is fat with a side of carbs, right? Hello, curry pizza! It’s an interesting idea for a ski town, right?

Two summers ago, as that damned global pandemic chugged along, we closed out our summertime outdoor adventures with one more planned trip to Lake Tahoe. Yes, maybe I planned to stop for curry pizza. But mother nature had other plans for me. As my birthday hiking trip with my dog neared, there was a crazy-ass fire burning up near Lake Tahoe. By the time I was driving up Highway 395 towards Mammoth Lakes, the first of my stops, Lake Tahoe was actually being evacuated. It seemed unreasonable. It seemed heartbreaking. I had to scrape our Lake Tahoe part of the birthday fun and stay in the Mammoth area instead. I just prayed for Lake Tahoe and the hardworking fire crews would get some breaks with the weather and get this massive firestorm under control. I prayed the fire would not spread too far into the Desolation Wilderness. I hoped I would be able to come back and trek up Mt Tallac and the Aloha Lakes the following June.

Happy birthday to me

That was two years ago. I was grouchy. I actually hate my birthday every year and not just for the usual reasons; Getting older, my back hurts like an old woman’s, everything is on fire and I had to cancel my birthday party with family because of Covid (Again) I don’t like my birthday in late August because it means summer is ending. Like now. And also because it means, well the last few years, all of California may or may not be on fire.

Every year as soon as late August rolls around the days get shorter, the sun starts to set before seven p.m. It gets too cold to enjoy being out on the lake on a kayak or a boat. The warm summertime evenings turn into blustery ones just as I start to blow out my birthday candles. Every damn year. And maybe California is on fire. Again.

I do absolutely adore fall. I just happen to lust after those hot summer days more. But instead of lamenting over summer is over again, I break out my favorite Ugg’s, make a Lamb Shepherd’s Pie and maybe whip up a hearty curry pizza or two. This autumn I actually found a nine-grain pizza crust at Whole Foods and it makes the very best wood-fired pizza crust on the barbeque. (This is the secret to creating wood-fired pizza at home without building your own outdoor pizza oven)

Lake Tahoe
If I hike to the top of this mountain, I do deserve a pizza.

Curried Rotisserie Chicken Pizza with Mascarpone Cheese

1 whole-grain pizza dough

1/2 cup of your favorite curry sauce (I like to save some extra sauce from when I make Butter Chicken)

2 teaspoons ghee, melted

1 cup crispy smashed potatoes

1/2 cup rotisserie  chicken, shredded

1/4 cup cashew piecesLake Tahoe

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

First, preheat your barbeque. When your gas grill is nice and warm, flour your pizza dough. Grease one side of the pizza dough with the ghee and put the greased side down towards the flames. Shut the lid of the Barbeque and turn the flames down to low. Let cook for about two minutes. Grease the other side of the pizza dough and flip the dough. Cook another two minutes until just grilled and remove from the heat. You can do these steps hours before you want to make your pizza and set the dough aside. The dough will continue cooking in the oven so if the crust is not one hundred percent cooked through it is not a big deal.

When you are ready to bake your curry pizza, layer on the crust the curry sauce, dollops of mascarpone cheese, mozzarella, cashews, rotisserie chicken and then the crispy potatoes. Bake the pizza at 375 for fifteen minutes.