Monday, October 23, 2006
Curried Chicken Salad
When dinner just cannot come fast enough, there is nothing like the rotisserie chickens that they sell at the grocery. I also happen to live in a place with the best grocery stores in the world. Wegmans has some of the best prepared foods I have ever tried, and I found out tonight that they even put a sushi bar in the store!
The chicken I bought tonight was a roasted garlic chicken, with whole cloves of garlic tucked under the skin of the chicken and roasted along with the bird. What wonderful flavor – I had never thought to do that. The advantage of the roasted chickens is that they allow you to enjoy a meal of roasted chicken and use the leftovers to make a recipe that calls for cooked chicken.
I first had curried chicken salad at a little restaurant called Rue de L’Espoir in Providence, Rhode Island. One of my best friends went to Brown University and we would head to Rue de L’Espoir on Hope Street (get it?!) for brunch whenever I went down to visit her. I can still taste the curried chicken salad wrap as though I had it yesterday.
Unfortunately, when you are trying to eat like a healthy, responsible adult, chicken salad does not usually fit into the program, which is quite frankly heartbreaking to me. Luckily, curry and yogurt go hand-in-hand and fat free yogurt is easy to find. The celery in this recipe adds both bulk and a bright fresh flavor to the salad. The chutney is spicy, sharp and tangy, a terrific foil for the creaminess of the sauce
The sauce that is used for this salad has other great uses. It makes an excellent dip and it is also a really good marinade for grilled chicken. The yogurt tenderizes the chicken and the spices make it taste wonderful.
Curried Chicken Salad
6 oz plain yogurt (I used fat free)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro*
1.5 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped cooked chicken (breast meat)
1 cup chopped celery
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
4 Tablespoons Major Grey Chutney
Drain the yogurt in cheesecloth in a sieve.** Combine all sauce ingredients, mix into salad ingredients. Serve on a lettuce leaf, in a pita, or on a roll with the chutney as an accompaniment. (makes 3 generous servings)
* If you hate cilantro, as many people do, replace with about a tablespoon of chopped fresh flat parsley for a bright flavor.
** This is optional, but I like the slightly thicker texture. If you are in a hurry or don’t have the equipment, just pour any liquid off the top of the yogurt and soldier on. I used a coffee filter, which worked quite well.