Monday, July 25, 2011

Curried Chicken Salad

This recipe is a riff on Thai Curried Fried Rice. That classic Thai restaurant preparation uses Indian curry powder (not Thai curry paste) and pineapple. Curry goes great with the chicken and fruit in the salad.

This recipe also gives us the opportunity to introduce the extremely useful technique of cooking chicken in a microwave. You can get pre-cooked chicken in most supermarkets, but it is quick and easy to cook it for yourself. It’s cheaper and you know the chicken isn’t “enhanced” with lots of salt and preservatives.

Curried Chicken Salad
Makes 2 servings

1½ cups chopped chilled cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
½ cup halved seedless red grapes
½ cup diced apple
2 Tablespoon diced pineapple (canned is fine)
1 Tablespoon raisins (or one small kid’s box)
3 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tsp honey
½ teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon sliced or slivered almonds, toasted at 300 F° for 5 minutes and cooled

Combine first 5 ingredients (chicken through raisins) in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine mayonnaise and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) stirring with a whisk.  Pour mayonnaise mixture over chicken mixture, toss gently to coat.  Sprinkle with almonds.  The amounts are approximate, so use as much or as little as you like.  And, getting the fruit and chicken at a salad bar is a great way to get just as much as you need.

To microwave chicken:  Put chicken in a glass dish and cover with plastic wrap, leaving a corner open to let out the steam. Cook on high power. The time depends on the size of the chicken breast.
·      4-6 minutes for 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
·      7-9 minutes for 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
·      10-12 minutes for 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Turn it 180 degrees halfway through cooking.  After cooking, let stand 5 minutes before removing the plastic wrap. Open the wrap away from you so you don’t burn yourself with the steam. Cut chicken to check that the chicken is cooked all the way through. Times here assume a high-powered microwave; your mileage may vary. Season cooked chicken with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Chill before using in salad.

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