Thursday, June 5, 2008

Curry Chicken Salad

This recipe is mostly mine. The recipe I started with called for chicken, coconut milk, pistachios and curry. It didn't leave me mmmmm-ing. Hmmm. What to do? What to do? First thing run to Penzey's and get their sweet curry (powder) and then come back. Ahh better. I think this would be good with some red grapes in it. The original recipe did not call for raisins, but my tastebuds insisted on something "grape".

Curry Chicken Salad
(Adapted from Whole Foods Market Recipe)

Creamy, spicy, fragrant and mildly sweet, the flavors of this tropical chicken salad are sure to delight and surprise. Leftover baked, broiled, grilled or rotisserie chicken works perfectly in this recipe. Use any remaining chicken salad for tasty sandwiches or wraps.

Serves four or more.

11 ounces coconut milk (not light coconut milk), divided
1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder (use good curry powder - I implore you )
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 cups cooked shredded chicken, dark or white meat (I prefer white, chicken tenders)
(1/4 cup orange juice)
1/2 cup roughly chopped dates, divided
1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios, divided (I'm going to try cashews next time - I think the flavors will be more complex)
1/4 cup raisins or 1/2 cups red grapes sliced lengthwise
(6 cups chopped romaine lettuce)
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut

Measure 3/4 cup coconut milk into a bowl and stir in curry powder, onion powder, salt, mustard seeds, cilantro, raisins or grapes and shredded chicken. Toss to coat well.

Pour remaining 2/3 cup coconut milk into a blender with orange juice, 1/4 cup dates and 1/4 cup pistachios. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour dressing over romaine lettuce and toss to coat. (I skipped this entirely - I was looking for a chicken salad recipe - not so much a salad dressing, lettuce solution).

Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shredded coconut and toast, stirring often until golden and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

To serve, enjoy a scoop of chicken salad. Garnish with toasted coconut and remaining chopped dates and pistachios. Serve immediately.

Note: if raisins are used this freezes well. Place scoops of salad in muffin tin (I saved a plastic muffin package from a store purchase) and freeze. Store the "scoops" in a tightly sealed container or plastic bag. Thaw briefly in the microwave (don't let it get too warm) or in the refrigerator and serve.

My favorite way is on a small (very small) baguette!

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