April Recipe Swap: Chicken Snails

by Shumaila

As I started writing this post, I could hear the sounds of fighter planes (going about their routine sorties) in the background. And that was enough for nostalgia to sink in.

My dad is a fighter pilot for the Indian Air Force. My childhood has been spent in air force stations (or air force base as they are called in the US). And growing up, the sound of MiGs up in the sky was a common affair.

Sometimes our dads would have night flying. Those were much anticipated events for the wives and the children as well. For us kids, it meant meeting our friends past the regular day time hours and seeing air crafts take off on the runway at night. A truly incredible sight. Our moms would also pack a little snack or something for their kids and to share with everyone and it used to be a mini picnic of sorts. Those were fun days.

The recipe today has nothing to do with those days. In fact all this nostalgia started after I made this dish and made me reminisce the old days. I thought I would quickly share some of it with you.

Coming to this month’s recipe swap. I was supposed to post this recipe yesterday, as we always do for the monthly recipe swap. But somehow couldn’t.

This time Christianna had given us a vintage Ham snails recipe to play with.

I found the recipe quite intriguing and having never tried anything of this sort before, I decided to stay as true as I could to the recipe while keeping in mind the Recipe Swap rules (to change at least three things about the recipe).

I knew I would change the meat of choice in the recipe. V will not eat ham under any circumstances and since I too am not a fan, I thought to use ground chicken instead.Also I added a few seasonings to the chicken before adding it to the roll. I decided to call them biscuit rolls, because the method of making the dough sounded similar to the biscuit dough, plus they do taste like regular biscuits.

Since I did not have any fresh basil, I made my sauce using a bit of dried basil and added oregano, rosemary and thyme as well. Also I added garlic, because I love garlic in my sauces! I added some piri-piri pepper and tabasco to increase the heat a bit. And as an ending note, I added some parmesan cheese.

I had some trouble with the recipe though. Maybe it was just not my day in the kitchen.

In the first batch of biscuits, I accidentally added baking soda instead of baking powder (I had noted down the former rather than the latter while copying the recipe. I do not know why I refuse to listen to my better judgement that was sure that 1 tbsp of soda sounded like a lot).

The result- really, really bitter biscuits. The kinds that need to be spit out immediately.  It was a complete wastage of some precious ingredients including the chicken and 40 minutes of shaping and baking.

I reread the recipe and realized I had incorrectly copied it. I made another batch. And this time the biscuits tasted great. But then I erred on the sauce. I added more salt than required (the addition of parmesan cheese did not help my case), making the seasoning a bit off. Not too much that one couldn’t eat but enough to not make it the perfect dish.

The biscuits though were great and I loved the idea of the chicken filling in it. I might try it again just to get it right.



For the biscuits:

  • 1 1/2 cups sifted bread flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed
  • 3 tbsp shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk ( I used 2 %)
  • melted butter, for spreading on the dough (about 1-2 tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups ground chicken (mixed with 1/2 tsp each garlic salt, oregano, 1 tbsp black pepper, 1 tsp onion powder)

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, pureed in the food processor
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp each basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano
  • 1 tsp piri piri powder (or you could use chilli flakes)
  • 1 tsp tabasco
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes
  • 3-4 tbsp parmesan cheese


For the biscuits:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add in the sesame seeds
  3. Cut in shortening and moisten with 1/4 cup milk till it just comes together.
  4. Roll dough into 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush with the top with melted butter.
  5. Mix the ground chicken with the garlic, oregano, black pepper, onion powder.
  6. Spread evenly over the surface of the buttered dough rectangle.
  7. Roll like a jelly roll. Cut in 1 inch slices. Put on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

For the sauce:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a large enough saucepan. Add the minced garlic and cook till brown.
  2. Add in the pureed onion. Cook till brown.
  3. Mix flour, sugar, salt, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, piri-piri. Blend it into the onion mixture.
  4. Add the tabasco and pepper.
  5. Add the canned tomatoes, and cook till smooth. Add in the parmesan cheese and cook for few more seconds.
  6. Serve the biscuits with the sauce.

Do Check what creative things the rest of the swappers have come up with: