I'm not sure what my hang up was before, but in all my years growing up in Ahmedabad I did not eat Gujju Pizza. Maybe I was too much of a snob as a kid, turned my nose up to the idea or maybe I love Pav Bhaji too much. Plus- I grew up on Smokin' Joes when it was only available to us South Bombay kids- or the first Pizza Hut in which the staff got together and did the Macarena. Oya my pizza eating experience was very Americanized even before I made it to the great country. And then Chicago Deep Dish happened. Holy cow! Its amongst the top 5 things Chicago is well known for. Deep dish pizza which has a super buttery crust and filled with sauce and toppings. The heaviest meal ever.
So when Chandni, my lovely host in Ahmedabad, asked me if I had Jasuben's Pizza she could not believe her ears. As usual I got the - 'What kind of food blogger are you?' look. (I seem to be getting that look a lot more often now). That's it dinner plans were laid. We drove up to the one location near her house on the highway. I insisted on picking up some pav bhaji (old habbits die slow).
We sat on some chairs on the sidewalk with a hundred others loudly chatting and chomping on little quartered pieces of cheesy saucy bites. There was a little stall with a vertical oven, a sandwich press and a blender. Three boys whipping out a dozen pizzas by the minute, grilled sandwiches, cheese toasts, and cold coffee to go with it all. Serving a hundred people by the minute and this too on a Sunday Night. And they kept on coming.
Ok let me tell you- Jasuben's Pizza is a pilgrimage. Its a tourist destination. Any foolish notion I had of what a real pizza should be and granted pizza is Italian, it all flew out of my mind when I took my first bite. The crust is biscuity, crunchy, buttery almost like a bhakri. The bubbling hot tomato sauce is a close cousin of tomato ketchup just as sweet but quite spicey. The toppings are simple- no fancy pick your own toppings. No fancy mushrooms, corn, olives, jalapenos. Huh? What are you talking about? Stick to simple finely chopped onions and capsicum ok. Top it with loads ( and I mean large amounts) of grated local white cheese. The singular cheese we grew up- the Amul's white cheese. This is way before the cheese and wine revolution hit us. Simple and yummy are the keywords here.
The crust is baked in the vertical makeshift oven, red sauce spread, then back in the oven, then quickly topped with onions and capsicum and then topped with the grated cheese.
Any Amdavadis reading this do holler and tell me why you love Jasuben's Pizza. I am a convert- Gujju pizza I love you. Whenever I think about this pizza meal I feel like I could have broken into a moves like Jagger, a rock n roll strut, a bit of knee twisting, pelvic thrusting, sliding in a moonwalk across the floor. Oya!
This is how I felt after my very first Jasuben Pizza: