Straight out of Italy!

Abraham Mathew, a dental surgeon-turned chef is on a mission to familiarise Malayalis with authentic Italian pizzas

author_img Arya UR Published :  09th December 2021 11:48 AM   |   Published :   |  09th December 2021 11:48 AM


KOCHI: A popular quote from the internet goes like this — you cannot please everyone, you are not pizza! The round Italian delicacy is more than just food, it’s what makes Saturday nights and football matches special. It is consolation you need after a long day — pizza is an emotion!

His undying love for pizza drove dental surgeon Abraham Mathew to quit his job and start baking them. The Irinjalakuda native started baking pizzas at home during the 2020 lockdown. A year later, he and his brand Pizza On My Mind is popular among foodies of the state for its Neapolitan pizzas made similar to those prepared in Naples in Italy back in the day. 

“I came down to Irinjalakuda in 2016 to practice dental surgery at our family clinic. When the pandemic hit, I started experimenting with pizzas, especially the Neapolitan, which people were not very aware of. I studied the art of making real Italian pizzas online and through social media pages of international chefs. Soon enough, I got myself an FSSAI licence and started baking them,” he says. 

Neapolitan pizzas require authentic, native ingredients., even the oven has to be customised. Abraham owns a hybrid dome oven he sourced from Delhi. “The normal oven at home can only heat up to 240 degrees Celsius. But Neapolitan pizzas require around 400 degrees Celsius heat. The dough takes under two minutes to bake at this temperature. I source fresh cheese from northern states, Italian tomato sauces, highly refined flour and toppings from Italy,” he adds.

Neapolitan pizzas have fewer seasonings and toppings, unlike pizzas served by popular chains. Before its baked, the dough is fermented for around three days. They are also lighter on your tummy. “Neapolitan pizzas digest easily. The taste is a good balance of hand-tossed base and toppings. I don’t give oregano, chilli flakes or ketchup as accompaniments. They ruin the real taste of pizzas,” he says. Abraham makes single pizzas that are 10 to 12 inches in size. 

His Classic Margherita pizza, made using fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, Italian tomato sauce, fresh Italian sweet basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil is a best seller. Those with a sweet tooth can go for the Roman-style pizza topped with banana cream, low moisture mozzarella, thinly sliced fresh banana, soft dark brown sugar, small mozzarella cheese balls, roasted hazelnuts, red cherries and a tint of wild honey. The Truffle Pizza or White Funghi pizza topped with portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions and white truffle oil is a great pick for vegetarians. Meat lovers can go for the Goan Pork Chorizo pizza or Chicken meatball pizza.

“Most authentic Italian pizzas have pork toppings. Mine do too, along with Salami Napoli (slices of cured meat imported from Naples),” he says, adding that the aim is to introduce Malayalis to the goodness of real pizza. “It feels good when Malayalis settled abroad taste my pizza and say it is much like the authentic pizza they tasted abroad,” concludes Abraham.

Instagram @abramatt