New Haven's Sherkaan introduces Indian-inspired pizzas

Sherkaan Indian Street Food has introduced Indian-style pizzas to its menu, with ingredients like butter chicken and palak paneer.

Sherkaan Indian Street Food has introduced Indian-style pizzas to its menu, with ingredients like butter chicken and palak paneer.

Contributed photo: Sherkaan / Meghan Olson

Sherkaan owner Ankit Harpaldas knows his restaurant shares a city with pizza royalty. But that’s just one reason why he’s putting a new twist on pies, topping dough with Indian ingredients like butter chicken and palak paneer.

“It seems kind of fitting, being in New Haven. This is the pizza capital of America, right?” he said.

The Indian street food restaurant introduced four new pizzas to its menu in time for New Year’s Eve, combining two takeout favorites in one. Harpaldas said he’d planned to launch the pizzas sooner, as an idea to adapt the menu for the pandemic-related slowdown.

“Indian food has always been a great takeout option, like Chinese food, but there’s no lie here that pizza during COVID has exploded. Anyone who owns a pizza restaurant, it seems like they’ve been doing great,” he said. “[It] kind of helps bump up that takeout volume.”

Harpaldas described the 12-inch pies as more of a pan-style pizza, using a traditional dough sprinkled with grated pecorino romano cheese, oregano and kasoori methi (fenugreek) leaves. All pies feature Bacio low-moisture, whole milk mozzarella, he said.

The Oye Makhna features a butter chicken style presentation, with tandoori chicken, cilantro and yogurt drizzle, but paneer is also available for a vegetarian option. Other pies include the Cheez Badi, with simple San Marzano tomato and pecorino romano preparation, and the Hai Hai Mirchi, which adds green chili, red onion and garlic. The Palak Paneer features creamed spinach gravy, paneer and yogurt drizzle.

Pies are $10 to $14, and a gluten-free crust, from Still Riding Foods in Bloomfield, is available for an extra $5. Harpaldas says Sherkaan plans to add more pizzas to the menu in the future, possibly one with Indo-Chinese style ingredients.

Sherkaan Indian Street Food is at 65 Broadway in New Haven. 203-405-5808, sherkaan.com.