Curried Chicken Salad makes a lovely elegant lunch or light dinner on a hot day. Fruity and creamy and flavourful. (Skip to recipe.)
It is HOT outside! Summer has arrived for sure to the sunny north of Alberta. It's lake weather and popsicle weather and lolling-in-the-shade weather.
We work out in the garden as the sweat drips down, then come into the cool house where fans in every room keep the breezes moving.
I don't feel much like cooking, but I have some hungry mouths to feed. As I stand basking in the cool cloud in front of the open refrigerator door, I take as long as I dare deciding what to make that's quick and cold.
A glass container of leftover chicken chunks, from the whole one we roasted on the barbecue last night, jumps out at me, and I crave the curried chicken salad that is a summertime favourite of ours. Then I see some cored fresh pineapple I picked up at the grocery store, and the idea is solidified.
Ten minutes later we each cradle a bowlful of curried chicken salad with a few chunks of pickled watermelon and peppers and a handful of almond crackers in one hand and a big mug of iced fruit tea in the other.
We take our bowls and sit in front of the fans.
Ahhh . . . . summer bliss.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: I usually make this salad with canned, drained peaches, pineapple or mandarin oranges, then use a bit of the juice to thin out the mayonnaise. But the fresh pineapple is especially juicy and summery, if you have it. Fresh grapes, halved, or strawberries or diced melon, would be nice, too.
Sometimes I don't have fresh basil, and I just omit it - the salad is still wonderful without it.
No leftover cooked chicken? Barbecue a few extra chicken breasts next time, or go the easy way and use a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
The measurements are just loose guidelines, use more chicken if you have it - just add a bit more mayonnaise and thin it out to a looser consistency with whatever fruit juice you have. Use more or less fruit, add diced celery, or a handful of toasted almonds.
Curried Chicken Salad
- 3 to 4 cups (450-600 grams) cooked chicken
- 1½ cups (250grams) diced pineapple (about three ½-inch thick slices) or other fruit
- small handful of basil leaves, torn into pieces
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup minced onion
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder, to taste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- grinding of fresh pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or pineapple juice, or juice from canned fruit
Dice the cold, cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Add the diced pineapple or other fruit, mayonnaise, onion, honey, 1 teaspoon of the curry powder, and the salt and pepper.
Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice or fruit juice, and toss it all gently. If it seems a little dry, add more juice.
Taste and add more curry powder or salt if you think it needs it.
Serve with crackers or piled on top of lettuce leaves.
Serves 3 to 4 (depending how much chicken you use)
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