There was a time when I hated curry.
That was before I had some truly incredible Indian food in London, where they poured garam masala into a glass of coca-cola and it kind of blew my mind.
It was also before I had tasted a practically perfect curried chicken salad in a pretentious tea room and jotted the idea down in my ever-growing iPhone ‘Notes’ folder.
It is likely that the majority of the world has been eating and enjoying curried chicken salad for decades and I am simply late to the party. But, until several weeks ago, I had never crossed paths with this golden twist on a classic lunch.
Whether it is a fresh concept to you or an old one, I believe this recipe will be a new favorite for us all. While the curry adds a spiciness that is unexpected, it is not overwhelming, so those who are somewhat unaccustomed to the flavors of curry won’t be steered away.
The first ingredient to consider here is the chicken. I tested the recipe using both boiled chicken breasts and rotisserie chicken, and the favorite was clear; the rotisserie chicken, not surprisingly, gave the salad far more depth of flavor.
That said, in a pinch, there is no shame in using boiled chicken - just be sure to salt the water well.
While many of the ingredients here are fairly standard, a squeeze of fresh lime juice is my unorthodox but delicious twist. I just love the freshness of the fresh lime against the yellow curry - it keeps the salad super fresh and cuts through some of the heaviness of the mayonnaise.
Celery and shallots add freshness and crunch.
I cannot stand a paste-y chicken salad so I like to chop the chicken, rather than shred it, and dice the vegetables somewhat large to maintain a diversity of textures.
After the curry, salt, and a tiny bit of sugar (to round out the acidity) have joined the mayonnaise and lime juice, we marry the mixtures.
Green onions are the final touch. I add these last and just barely mix them in to prevent bruising.
Now, you could be healthy and serve this over a bed of butter lettuce and feel really wonderful about your choices.
Or, you could set aside your carb-worries and have a little more fun by serving it on a warm croissant.
It’s a hard choice.
But is it really?
CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD
3 cups rotisserie chicken, cubed
1 medium shallot, diced
2 stalks celery, washed and diced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 green onion, finely diced
In a large bowl, combine rotisserie chicken, shallot, and celery; set aside for now.
In a separated bowl, add mayonnaise, lime juice, curry powder, sea salt, and granulated sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour this mixture over the chicken and toss until the chicken is evenly coated in the mayonnaise mixture.
At this point, the chicken salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to two days.
When you are ready to serve, sprinkle the sliced green onions over the chicken salad and toss lightly. You want to add these last to prevent bruising their delicate structure.
Slice the croissants lengthwise and toast both sides, until just golden brown. Pile the chicken salad onto the croissants and serve immediately.