Foodiva's Kitchen: Savory Tomato and Beetroot Cobbler with Turmeric Curry Leaf Biscuit Topping

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Savory Tomato and Beetroot Cobbler with Turmeric Curry Leaf Biscuit Topping

Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.
~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Our party host Penny of Jeroxie blog had us all 'cobblered' this month and believe me when I say this... it is a rare occasion that I will post something savory up on this blog, least of all a cobbler. When you hear the word 'cobbler', images of the freshest seasonal fruits dotted all over or buried underneath something sweet tend to flash across the mind. Correction, make that my mind.

That is why I find it most bizarre that whenever I'm participating in cooking groups such as this International Incident Party (IIP), the savory side of me that forever struggles to exert her presence against that dominatrix of a sweet-toothed side, manages to find a voice loud enough for me to hear her version of a cooking theme - and often (wow!) wins. Case in point, this is my fifth savory IIP dish in a row.... what is happening to me?!

Do you want to know made me bow down to my savory persona? This Murraya koenigii tree.

It's also known as the Curry Leaf tree, and it grows right in my backyard. In fact, I hadn't realized its presence over the years until I started this blog and more importantly, cooking in earnest. You see, when I moved into this property, my mother the green-fingered extraordinaire, had already planted numerous fruit trees, flowering plants, herbs and landscaped bushes. I think she may have made up her mind back then that we could live however the hell we wanted inside our home but no way would she allow us to completely screw up our garden! Why? Because that's the first thing the neighbors and passers-by would see and judge us by. But of course.... 

So ever since I became conscious of the existence of our curry leaf tree, I had been looking for more ways to use its impossibly-hard-to-describe but highly aromatic leaves. Our usage of curry leaves in Asian cuisine is akin to that of bay leaves in Western cuisine, but they are not the same thing. I've thrown in curry leaves to flavor many curries and also used them in chutneys and savory preserves, but that was about it. Then when this cobbler idea came around, it occurred to me how brilliantly the curry leaves would impart its flavor somewhere in there. Exactly where, I hadn't decided then, but that slowly came to me too. The topping, which would be made out of  curry leaf biscuit dough! 

As for the cobbler filling, I decided tomatoes would be a good savory choice and since I had some beetroot left over, that went into the bowl too. You can never have enough red in your food, that's my philosophy! To spice it up a bit, I added purple Thai basil and cumin. I don't know if you already realize this, but those two go horrendously well together. Too well, that I can't seem to stop pairing them up in other recipes as well! 

Oh, one more thing....the turmeric. I added a dash to the biscuit dough not only for its warm, inviting color but for the easy way it mingled and danced around the curry leaf flavor. The buttery, exotic biscuit topping totally complemented the earthy, comforting tomato and beetroot filling. If all human marriages were like this cobbler, I suspect the world would be a content place. Yes, boring too, but you can't have everything, can you?

We are a cosy party of 5 this month, so why don't you come and party with us? Just click on the thumbnails below this post to be in our midst. Thanks again Penny, for pushing me beyond my comfort (sweet-toothed) zone :-).

I'd like to end this post with Adele's video, Set Fire to the Rain, my current favorite song. I'm sorry I have to run back to her again...I simply love her fantastic voice. Someone once said, it's like listening to God!

Savory Tomato and Beetroot Cobbler with Turmeric Curry Leaf Biscuit Topping
Serves: 4
Tomato-Beetroot filling
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
450g (1 lb) grape or cherry tomatoes
1 medium beetroot, cubed
3 tablespoons chopped purple basil leaves (or regular basil)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Turmeric Curry Leaf Biscuit Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
15 pieces curry leaves, rolled and sliced thinly (chiffonade)
60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream, buttermilk or creme fraiche
Extra cream, for brushing

1. Make the filling: Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and softened. Add garlic and cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Let cool.
2. Toss onion mixture, tomatoes, beetroot, flour, and basil with salt and some pepper.
3.Preheat oven to 180C/375F.
4. Make the biscuit topping: Whisk together flour, baking powder, turmeric, curry leaves and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small clumps form. Add cream or buttermilk, stirring with a fork to combine until dough forms. (Dough will be slightly sticky.) Roll dough to about 1cm thickness and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
5. Transfer tomato mixture to 4 small ramekins. Arrange biscuit dough all over the top, making sure not to overlap dough. Brush dough with cream. Bake until tomatoes and beetroot are bubbling in the center and biscuits are golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.


AmandaP said...

Never in a million years would have thought of a dish this creative! Love the idea of curry leaf biscuits :-)

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

This is SO creative! I love the idea of a savoury cobbler. Must give this one a go soon!

Anonymous said...

And you know what I discovered?
I see the most amazing ,fantasyful created dish ..that is calling out:Make me ,make me;))

Foodness Gracious said...

Hmmm, it's hard to see past your sweet side but I can definetly see a savourynesss to you, great job and if you go savoury go SAVOURY is what you did!
Love it..

Foodiva said...

Amanda, truth be told, I never did too because I'm pretty lousy at making savory stuff! But those curry leaf biscuits did taste really good, though ;-).

Foodiva said...

Mardi, this is my first time making a savory cobbler so I'm excited at the other possibilities! Although, my sweet tooth is tugging strongly at my heartstrings...I may give in to more sweet than savory cobblers in the future ;-).

Foodiva said...

Dzoli, to me, YOUR dishes are amazing, almost mystical! So coming from you, I take this comment as the highest compliment! Thank you :-).

Foodiva said...

Gerry@FoodessG, there's a sweet side, a savory side and a spicy side to me. In fact, there are many sides which I can't divulge here (due to the PG-rating) that makes my food look and taste so 'out there' oftentimes!

Anonymous said...

Wow - that is some kind of dish!

Linda Harding said...

What a delicious idea! I, for one, am not a big fan of sweet dishes, but can eat savoury until the end of time! Love this dish :)

penny aka jeroxie said...

your curry leave plant survived! I have no green fingers so mine is dying now :(

Adrian (Food Rehab) said...

Love the photos! And what a great savoury dish indeed.

Tina said...

I have read where people tastes change while they are blogging and their whole blog theme changes! Savory does have its place and this dish looks very post worthy. I have never made a savory casserole, but this is inspiring. Well done.

Foodiva said...

Ann and Linda, thank you!

Foodiva said...

Penny, the only reason why it survived all these years is because we have a gardener! If I had anything to do with nurturing it, it will probably not thrive because I have the un-greenest fingers!

Foodiva said...

Adrian, many thanks for dropping by! Th savory cobbler wasn't half bad ;).

Foodiva said...

Tina, the day I lose my sweet tooth will probably also be the day I'll start to look like that skinny chick up there in the banner above...LOL!

Trix said...

It's like you looked into my unconscious and made something that I always wanted to have and didn't know it. I LOVE the smell of fresh curry leaves (believe it or not I fund a place where I can get them!) and I can only imagine how amazing they are in this biscuit dough ... oh girl, I want this in my belly! Your savory side rocks.

Foodiva said...

Isn't it funny how you, the savory queen, have made something sweet this time around while I have forayed into what's usually your domain? Don't worry, I'll only stay a short while...haha.

You fund a place that supplies fresh curry leaves? That's so awesome, and I think I just breathed easier knowing that I do NOT have to mail you these leaves in order or you to try them out!

Foodiva said...

Oops, that last comment was for Trix!

the [sugar] apothecary said...

Oh Maya, I admire your bravery. Curry leaf biscuit dough with tomato-beetroot cobbler! How do you do it?!

I know that sweet-sided dominatrix all too well! Beets seem to be perfect exchange between sweet and savory... So good!

Jenny VintageSugarcube) said...

I was just reading my issue of Sunset magazine and they have a recipe with Curry leaves and I thought, "I must try soooon". Now I have 2 recipes to attempt, once I get my hands on Curry leaves. Your mom sounds beyond lovely. :)

Lilly said...

You keep amaze me! I have never thought about making a savory cobber! The dough on top is just too cute! And your curry tree is fantastic! I need to find one for me. Lucky you…for having a mom who landscaped it all already =)

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious looking pictures and combination

Rosita Vargas said...

Curry rich combination raises the energy, processing spectacular ,hugs.

Sis. Boom. said...

Look. You did cobbler too! lol. Your stuff is amazing! Now I have get up there and check out that dragon fruit! Wowza!

Foodiva said...

Christine@sugar apothecary, well I'm not sure if any bravery was involved here, certainly there was some foolish bravado going on. LOL. Doesn't everyone experiment in the safety of their own kitchens? Maybe I'm silly enough to blog about about my goings-on too ;).

Foodiva said...

Jenny, seriously? They have a curry leaf recipe in the mag you were just reading? I think you'll need to find another recipe (3s the charm and all that) and perhaps those curry leaves will magically make their way to you!

Btw, I'll let my mom know about your compliments...she'll want to read it over and over, I'm sure. LOL.

Foodiva said...

Lilly, you and my mom would GET ALONG like a house on fire, I just know it! You'll be talking plants the whole day while I retreat to my kitchen to bake you guys cobblers to munch on ;-). Thank you, sweetie!

Foodiva said...

Akheela and Rosita, muchas gracias! I just love the smell and taste of those curry leaves ;-).

Foodiva said...

Trevor@Sis.Boom I think it's the season when cobblers, crisps, flummeries, Betties, pandowdies and other similar dishes start to make their appearance in the blogosphere. So glad we're at the forefront of this trend together! LOL.

Spicie Foodie said...

Maya I bet you are now grateful that your mother planted such a great cooking garden?:) Curry leaves are so amazing, I always have a jar full that I purchase from an indian restaurant. Glad that you mentioned the curry leaf-bay leaf thing, so many sites tell you otherwise. Turmeric is another favorite, love the color, smell and taste. Plus very healthy for you. I am more comfortable with savory than sweet, though I love both. Your cobbler sounds so delicious and love that there is still a smidgen of sweetness from the beets. Love this Foodiva savory creation. But your sweet toothed and magical sweet creations allow me to live vicariously through you, hehe:)

Adele's voice is godly! I could never get tired of her. Love all her music, such a talent.

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Amazing savory cobbler combo. I was surprised too when I saw that on your post lol. Amazing job and so jealous of you curry leave...*asks shily*...can you send me some :-D ?

Spicie Foodie said...

Hi Maya, Just stopped by to say Thanks for participating in September's YBR :) Sorry I'm so late, just way behind on everything.

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