Friday, July 26, 2013

Curried Chicken Salad

by Ann
Dinner is ready!  The salad is accompanied by spiced beef empanadas.  Yum!  
My experience is that people either like the flavor of curry or they don’t; there is little territory between the two.  Fortunately both my husband and I are on the “like it side of the fence.”  So is my dear friend, Teri, who is a most amazing cook.  Years ago when she was an administrator at a school where I was a teacher she would spearhead pot-luck lunches, and bring the most amazing dishes, including her chicken curry, the inspiration for this post.  It can be eaten on a bed of lettuce for a salad or in a sandwich if the fruit is cut small enough.

When I saw a curry lover’s gift box at our local PenzeysSpice store I knew immediately that I should pick one up for Teri.  As I am writing this, I am looking at the catalog which has a whole page devoted to the descriptions of their curry powder options.  Who knew you could get nine different varieties from one source?

I don’t watch much TV, but did catch Rachel Ray making a curry blend of spices, so knew that curry powder is actually a blend of many different spices, most containing turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, and a dried hot chili.  In refreshing my memory of ingredients for this post I came across an interesting site that explained that the spice blend Garam Masala is also a curry blend, originating from Northern India.  The author of the post suggests making the blend fresh for optimal flavors, but I’m happy with using the Spice Hunter powdered curry blend that I can pick up at the grocery store.

As you have heard Sheila, Heather, and I say in many of our posts, it is just plain hot here in Arizona, which often means it’s too hot to cook, making salads a perfect dinner option.  I grilled the chicken for this dish when I made my firecracker shrimp last week. 
When I consulted my recipe files I found two different chicken curry salad recipes and combined the two based upon what I had remembered to pick up at the store, and what sounded best.  This is pretty darned easy – just mix up and enjoy!
The ingredients are simple, fresh, and delicious.

Chicken Curry Salad

3 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked and cubed
1 c seedless green grapes, halved for salad, quartered if using on sandwiches
¾ c chopped celery
¼ c diced red onion
¼ c raisins
¼ c chopped cashews

½ c mayonnaise (regular or light)
3 T chutney, preferably Major Grey’s
1 ½ t curry powder
1 T fresh lime juice
½ t grated lime zest
¼ t salt

Whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, grapes, celery, and raisins.
Toss ingredients with enough dressing to coat.
Sprinkle with cashew pieces.

Note:  The recipe also calls for a cored, diced unpeeled Granny Smith apple, which is a nice addition if you have one.

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