Friday, 22 June 2012

No dough pizza! Pseudough pizza!

Portobello mushroom pizza

A few weeks into my first job in Australia teaching English to international students at the Monash University’s language centre, I was still not as adept at recognising accents and facial/racial features. All my Asian (read South East/North/Far East Asian) students seemed similar looking. It’s interesting how we give in to lumping things, people and what not into bundles based on broad categories that we believe they will fit into! No wonder I was astonished when on a class excursion my daughters had come with me and some of my Asian students remarked fawningly that my daughters and I looked ‘ditto’ like each other’…  after laughing uproariously at the use of the quaint use of the word along with Ditto 1 and Ditto 2,  it struck me- Is this how they saw us? Did they really not see the noses are different, the facial structure somewhat similar, but the chins and jaw lines… I took a reality check- how carefully had I tried to decipher their accents, relate their faces to their ethnicity and tried to see patterns? Didn’t I still call them ‘my Asian students’? If the strong emphasis on the use of inclusive and politically correct language had not got my buy-in and approval, I would still be using possibly discriminatory terms like….oops! I almost said it!

So when Ditto 2 wanted to eat pizza tonight but was too hungry to wait for the dough to rise; and as we had only portobello mushrooms, which I was unwilling to butcher  to top the pizza;… too complicated- I took an executive decision to make the best use of all available resources and under all constraints (I am currently writing courseware for a transport and logistics course) and decided to settle for a trade-off!

I put together a no dough pizza.

Wordplay! A wordster that I am, this is something to dig my nails into…Hey, how about pseudo-pizza? Or better still no-dough, pseudo pizza! But my fanciful thoughts got caught on this word ‘pseudo’ like a silk scarf renting on a thorn. Why do we have this fascination with this word? Is it because we get attracted by appearances rather than reality, or is it because the ‘make believe’ allows us to indulge in thoughts and actions we normally wouldn’t entertain for a minute? Or is it because we can get away without any real price to pay, real trouble or real guilt?

Talking of guilt, somehow, I wonder how meat eating can be completely disassociated with guilt. But then, I also could never understand why people love to eat fake meat. After several  awkward dinners (or rain checks thereof) with business associates in countries like Vietnam, Korea and China who feel obliged - and privileged at the same time- to take to you to these Buddhist veggie eateries serving soy products, I quickly settled down on the stock excuse that I did not wish to eat as I had an upset stomach. Not happy to offend people who supported our business, I preferred the rather indelicate and possibly unladylike ruse to stay back in my hotel room and dine on crackers and cuppa soup.   And to this day I struggle to understand how, if you don’t eat meat because you don’t like the idea in principle and have a stand on this issue of eating meat, can you eat something that looks, tastes and smells like meat? Even if you don’t eat meat for religious reasons isn’t it perhaps an aberration to lust after it and enjoy sinking your teeth in the flesh?

Hmmm… very complex ideas and I am not a social scientist nor competent enough to make some very profound observations about why we have this fascination with the word ‘pseudo’. So I must return to my recipe of the no dough pseudo pizza. However, I can’t resist the temptation of admitting an indulgence in passing. I do like the idea of fake turf. Imagine having the luxury of an ever green patch of lawn that requires no mowing and no weeding! You can forever keep up with the Joneses, you know. And you are willing to spend a bit, you can cover the nature strip as well. In a few years the outlay cost will be evened out by the savings you have on council fines for an unkempt nature strip. What more, you are actually doing the environment and ourselves a favour by saving water!

I’d better get back to the no dough- pseudo pizza. Very tasty and carb-free, this dish can be served as an entre or as a snack. Suitable for people on low carb or gluten free diets.


4 large portobello mushrooms- stalks removed, caps wiped clean and gills cleaned thoroughly

2 tbsp EVOO


1 cup pizza sauce - I made it by sautĂ©ing ½ onion, garlic, ¾ can of chopped tomato, oregano, salt, sugar and pepper in the same pan in which the aubergine and zucchini were roasted- adds to the flavour of the sauce!

4 slices aubergine, slices of half a zucchini – pan roasted lightly in EVOO

4 slices of baby red capsicum (got these beautiful babies in the market)

4 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese


Chilli flakes

Flat leaf parsley to garnish


Place the mushrooms gills up and oil them generously. Sprinkle salt and place them in a hot oven and bake for about 10 minutes until quite soft. Remove from the oven, spread the sauce and arrange the slices of aubergine and zucchini. Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese, chilli flakes and oregano. Top with slices of baby red capsicums. Grill for about 10 minutes until the cheese melts.

Serve hot garnished with parsley.

I am posting this as my contribution to healthy eating -in Spotlight healthy snacks!


  1. This is so good Shruti, simple ingredients for health conscious people - yet fulfilling.. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you Bakul! Your approval means a ot to me! :)

  2. that looks fantastic, thank you. and as a word geek, i will treasure a recipe card titled "pseu-dough pizza" :>

    1. Thank you very much fellow word geek! Privileged! :)

    2. You must be a terrific person to know.I can see that you are more than a word geek.Forget the recipes -- the stories and experiences which preface the recipes is the stuff I like .This is indeed the stuff that weary web wanderers feed on.Play on!



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