When I met Matt and he first moved to Texas from Tennessee, he marveled at how us West Texans liked to “smother” our food. Smothered burritos, smothered chili cheese dogs, biscuits and tons of gravy. I never really thought about it till he pointed it out. We certainly aren’t a “sauce on the side” kind of culture. I grew up eating biscuits and gravy on Saturday mornings as a rare treat. It was by far my favorite comfort food growing up and remains so to this day. Matt even prefers rolls to biscuits. I’m the opposite. Opposites really do attract. So I suppose it was a natural progression to eventually combine two lovely opposites – spicy Indian sauced dishes and Southern biscuits and gravy.
This dish was a fabulous invention. Won’t even pretend to be humble about it. I made a crockpot full of chicken tikka masala a couple weeks ago and I thought, instead of the traditional naan flatbread, I would serve it over buttermilk biscuits for a collision of India meets West Texas. It worked. Really well. The crispy, fluffy, buttery biscuit was the perfect little sponge for the spicy, sweet curry. The biscuit recipe was from one of our favorite cookbooks, Fire in My Belly. The recipe calls to grate frozen butter into the flour to create the most even distribution of butter I’ve ever seen! What a great technique! The crockpot recipe was wonderful, too, but I’m excited to try my friend, Katrina’s recipe, as it’s on a stained recipe card and comes by way of her Indian friend. You know that’s got to be good. Next time, I will. And I’ll definitely serve it with a side of biscuits 🙂
makes two dozen
4 cups (20 oz) AP flour
3 TBS (1 1/4 oz) baking powder
2 TBS (3/4 oz) sugar
1 TBS+2 tsp (1/2 oz) salt
14 TBS (7 oz) butter, frozen
2 cups (14 oz) buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture, tossing after each quarter stick of butter to coat the butter shards with flour. Toss to combine. Stir in 1 3/4 cups of the buttermilk and, using large strokes and stirring from the bottom up, stir just enough to combine the mixture into a crumbly mass. If the dough doesn’t come together, stir in more buttermilk a tablespoon at a time, just until the mixture barely holds together.
Dust a clean, flat work surface with flour. Scrape the dough onto the floured surface, gather into a ball and gently knead with the palms of your hands about 10 times, just enough to form a cohesive dough ball. Sprinkle a little more flour onto the dough and gently roll or pat into an even 3/4 inch thickness.
Dip a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit butter in flour and punch out the biscuits. Gather any remaining dough, knead a few times to form a cohesive ball and roll or pat the dough into an even 3/4 inch thickness. Repeat until all used up.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet, close enough so the edges just touch. Bake until the biscuits start to brown – they should be a rich golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let the biscuits rest 5 minutes before serving.
*from Kevin Gilespie’s book, Fire in My Belly
Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala*
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 onion, finely minced
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons curry paste ( I used Thai Red Curry Paste)
2 tablespoons ground garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can add as much as you want but my kiddo was sharing so I kept the heat down)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (14 ounce) can lite coconut milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup half and half
In a large glass measuring cup or bowl mix together the coconut milk, Greek yogurt and half and half. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, ginger and all the spices. Mix well.
Spray the inside of your crockpot bowl with cooking spray or grease with olive oil. Sprinkle the onion over the bottom of the crockpot bowl. Add the chicken and then pour the coconut milk mixture over the chicken so the chicken is completely covered. Add the butter and place the lid on the crockpot. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. I like to stir mine once or twice during cooking, but it is not necessary. When ready to serve, taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve over homemade biscuits 🙂
*adapted from Half Baked Harvest