I think food aficionados would agree when I say that the best kind of cuisine is fusion cuisine. Fusion cuisine allows for the food to be traditional in taste and yet delectably global in its presentation.
My swirl roll with Indian chicken filling is one such dish. It is a delicious combination of continental bread and a classic Indian chicken prepared with ground spices. The result is a mouth-watering delicacy which is perfect to carry along on picnics, serve for brunch or even eat as a filling snack when you have guests over. You can couple it with a fresh salad – https://onsonalstable.com/arugula-and-apple-salad/ or, https://onsonalstable.com/arugula-and-apple-salad/ and, what you have is a complete meal.
The roll turns out soft and fluffy and the chicken is juicy and moist. Now, I prepare this with a chicken filling but you can tweak the recipe to suit your distinctive palate.
CHICHEN SWIRL ROLL WITH INDIAN SPICES
For the roll
- 2 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour + 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra for kneading (if required)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons dry, instant yeast
- 3/4 cup milk (whole fat is preferred)
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
For the filling (chicken)
- ½ kg boneless chicken (chopped into ½ inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoons refined oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pieces star anise
- 1 black cardamom (optional)
- 2 onions (1 cup), finely chopped
- ¼ cup green capsicum, chopped (optional)
- ½ cup red and yellow capsicum, chopped (optional)
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
- 4 plump cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- Fresh coriander for garnish, chopped.
For the garnish
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
How to make the dough?
- In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together and keep that aside.
- In a microwave proof bowl heat the milk and butter together at 20 second intervals (stirring at every interval), till the butter is amalgamated into the milk and the mixture is warm to touch (not hot). The ideal temperature for yeast to activate is between 38-43 deg C.
- Pour this warm milk mixture over the bowl containing the flour mix and add the egg.
- Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or a hand held electric mixer), beat the mixture till the ingredients come together in a soft dough consistency. You can also do this with a stiff spatula and hand. I prefer to use the electric mixer as it gives faster and more uniform results. You can identify the dough’s readiness by beating to the point when it no longer sticks to the side of the bowl and starts to pull away.
- Note – I use instant yeast which can be directly added to the recipe ingredients. However, if you use active dry yeast then you have to activate it first. To do that, add the yeast into the bowl of warm milk and butter and mix well. Cover it and keep it side for about 15 minutes in a warm place till you see the yeast activate (bubbles will appear at the top and the mixture will start to froth). Then add this mixture to the flour and continue the rest of the steps of the recipe.
- Sometimes, the dough may appear very sticky. In such a case, you may add 2-3 tablespoons of flour (as needed). Once the dough consistency has been achieved, spread some flour on the countertop of your kitchen and tip the dough atop that. Knead the mixture with your hands for about 3-4 minutes. You can add more flour if the dough still appears to be sticky. This kneading is vital to ensure yeast activation. After 3-4 minutes the dough will start to feel spongier and will no longer stick to the hands. You can perform the finger test to check the readiness. Simply, push the dough back with two fingertips. If it feels spongy and springs back up then it is done. If not, then knead it for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Do not, under any condition, overuse extra flour. We need the dough to be on the softer side. Hard dough will not rise much and will give a dense roll.
- Once done, grease a bowl and keep the dough in that. Cover it with a towel and keep aside for about half hour in a warm place for the first proofing.
How to prepare the chicken?
- In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and add cumin seeds once it is hot. When the seeds start to sputter, add the onions. Saute till they soften and turn pink. Then add ginger and garlic and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Finally, add the capsicum, tomato, bell peppers and green chilli. Sauté till all the ingredients have softened.
- Add salt and pepper to season and all of the dry ingredients except the garam masala, coriander leaves and lemon juice.
- Mix the masala into the vegetables and add the chicken. Mix everything together and cover the pan to allow the chicken to cook (about 15 minutes)
- When the chicken has cooked, take a spatula or fork and mash the chicken pieces into smaller slivers. Once done, continue to cook over a slow flame for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the garam masala, lemon juice and coriander leaves and give the chicken a good stir to mix everything up.
- Turn off the heat and allow the chicken to cool down completely before you use it as a filling.
- Once it is cool, remove the bay leaf and any other large spices.
How to roll out the dough?
- While the dough proofs, grease a 9 inch baking dish and keep that aside.
- After half an hour you will notice that the dough has risen slightly. Take it out of the bowl and shape it into a ball.
- Sprinkle some flour onto the kitchen counter top and with the help of a rolling pin, roll the dough ball out into a rectangular shape.
- The size of the rectangle should be about 15 x 12 inches. This size ensures that the thickness that we need for the roll is adequate.
- Take the softened butter, set aside for the filling, and smear it on top of the rolled out rectangle. Make sure you do this evenly.
- On top of the butter, sprinkle the chicken filling (please ensure that it needs to be at room temperature)
How to shape the swirl roll?
To do this step you will need a very sharp knife or preferably a pizza cutter with a rolling blade. Depending on how well you have rolled out and cut the dough, you should get 5 to 6 strips. Just make sure that they are all even sized.
- Cut the above, rectangular piece of dough with the chicken filling on top, into 2 inch wide strips. Take one strip and roll it into a loose swirl. This will be the center of the swirl so place it in the center of the pan. The rest of the strips will come around this main strip quite like a rose shape.
Alternatively, if you are not confident of handling the above step and would like smaller sized individual rolls then then you can simply life one side of the dough and roll it till you get a tube of the dough with the filling inside. Just ensure that you roll it tight but not too tightly. We need to leave some breathing room for the dough to proof and puff up. Once you have this tube, take your pizza cutter and cut 2 inch pieces of the rolled dough. Place them on the greased baking dish and follow the steps as detailed below.
- Take the next strip and roll it around the centrally placed swirl, starting where the first one ended. Continue this step till all the cut out strips have been added and you have one giant swirl in the baking dish.
- If any filling dislodges in the transferring process then you can simply pry the folds apart gently and add evenly sprinkle them in.
- sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
- After the swirl is shaped, cover it with an aluminum foil (it should be loose because the dough will rise to double its size as it proofs. We don’t want it to stick to the aluminum foil). You can also use cling film.
- Keep aside the covered dough for at least 1.5 to 2 hours or till it is double in size. It should be left to proof in a draft free environment which is warm. That is how the yeast shall activate more and do its magical job.
How do I bake the roll?
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
- Bake the swirl bread at this temperature for about 30-35 minutes till the top is a nice golden brown. If you feel that the tops are browning too quickly and the bread might burn then mid way through the baking, cover it with a silver foil.
- In a microwave oven this baking may take up to 45 -50 minutes.
- Once done, remove from the oven and set it aside.
- Enjoy with a fresh salad