Guys, this is SERIOUSLY something amazing and wonderful. This chicken salad is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy, and it’s PACKED with flavor. I want to eat it every second of every day. Give me a spoon and a bowl of this stuff and I’m good! I don’t even need bread (although, it certainly doesn’t hurt).
I love love love Indian food, but have not really delved into cooking Indian food until now, besides the occasional curry here and there. (Not that chicken salad is exactly traditional Indian fare, but you know what I mean.) This chicken salad is very different from your traditional chicken salad in terms of taste, but it’s put together in a similar way which makes it easy for any new-to-Indian-cooking-cook like myself.
I seared chicken breasts after marinating in a combination of olive oil, salt and pepper, Indian seasonings, and plain yogurt. The yogurt is optional here- but using it makes the chicken really moist and have a really great coating, much like tandoori chicken. After cooking, I shredded the meat using two forks (shredding chicken is far superior to chopping for chicken salad. It creates more nooks and crannies to which the sauce can stick). This is not an option. Shred, don’t chop.
You can also use other already cooked chicken for this recipe- leftover roast chicken or simply cooked with olive oil, salt, and pepper (see notes in recipe below).
Now for the fun part. Traditionally, chicken salad is made with mayonnaise. I usually make mine with sour cream (since mayo has refined oils and usually some other processed ingredients, I try to have it in moderation). THIS chicken salad, however, uses a base of hummus and plain yogurt! Mind = blown.
The idea came from a friend (who doesn’t eat dairy) when we were talking about different substitutions for mayo in tuna and chicken salads. She mentioned that hummus works really well, so I gave it a try! Since I am definitely NOT dairy-free (I’m shuddering right now at thinking of a life without cheese), I used a combination of half plain yogurt and half hummus. You can use any combination of these two ingredients you wish.
Some hummus, yogurt, spices, chopped apples, golden raisins, and scallions later, I had myself a big bowl of delicious curried chicken salad to make sandwiches for the week for work. Do you know what kind of self-restraint I had to exercise to save it for work and not eat the entire bowl right then and there? A lot, that’s what kind. But I am so happy I did, as this was a perfect work lunch today in a whole wheat pita pocket with baby spinach.
Other serving ideas: use lettuce wraps, eat with pita chips or crackers, or add a scoop on top of a green salad.
Can’t wait to try my next Indian dish! Any favorites to share? Leave them in the comments below :-)
Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins (with a dairy-free option!)
- 1 lb. chicken cut into tender-sized pieces (breasts work best)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for searing
- 1.5 teaspoons curry powder
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 plus 1/2 cup plain yogurt*
- 1/2 cup prepared hummus
- 1 small apple diced
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mix together curry powder, cumin, and tumeric in a medium-sized bowl.
- In a container or gallon sized plastic bag, add chicken, olive oil, 1/2 spice mixture, plenty of salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup yogurt. Stir or shake to coat, and marinate for at least 20 minutes (or overnight).
- Remove chicken from skillet and place to cool on a cutting board for approximately 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add to the remaining spices 1/2 cup each plain yogurt and hummus**, the diced apple, the raisins, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- When chicken has cooled a bit, shred meat with two forks into bite-sized pieces.
- Add chicken to bowl and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate overnight before eating for best results.