Now that the temps are rising, I don’t want to be stuck inside the house cooking, and stirring, and braising, and baking, and, well, you get the picture. Our dinners during the warmer months are mostly composed of some type of salad. We both love them and are delightfully surprised at the combinations of ingredients that can be used. I ran across this recipe the other day and it began my craving for some yummy curried chicken. My mom introduced me to Curry when I was about twelve years old. She had made Lamb Curry. When I tasted it, I had thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Who knew you could eat meat and raisins and nuts and fruit all in the same bite? And it was a wonderful dish, all creamy and curried. Just thinking about that makes my mouth water. Of course, I’m a huge lamb fan as well so the two put together spelled wonderful in my book. I made curry anything while my kids were growing up but they are not the curry fans that Hubby and I are. In fact, if they smell curry, they scurry.
I was thinking that I would make this ahead of time so that we could enjoy the evening on the patio without me going back into the kitchen to chop, grate, what have you. The ingredients are quite simple, with easy substitutions if need be. Because we eat chicken a lot, I grilled some extra when I made this for use later on in the week.
Curried Chicken Salad with Watercress
adapted from Good Life Eats
2 cups chicken, grilled, poached, leftovers, or Pre-Cooked chicken strips, whatever you have. 1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/2 fresh ginger, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, be careful in choosing curry powder – Madras is very hot and spicy
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup diced celery
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cups Gala apple, cored and chopped–I used a Gala but what little leftovers we had, that type of apple became more ‘mushy’. I can’t stand that. Use a Granny Smith for an apple to remain crisp.
3 cups trimmed watercress or spinach or whatever greens you choose. Watercress is yummy and available only during the spring here.
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raisins
4 pocket-less pita bread
The cast of characters:
If you’re using the packaged chicken strips, prepare them according to package directions. If not, poach or grill your chicken. I use basic spices, salt, pepper, lemon pepper on mine.
Don’t judge me.
After the chicken is cooked, chop into cubes and let cool. You don’t want to add hot chicken to the mayo and the sour cream. It would be Curried Chicken SOUP instead of salad.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sour cream, mayo, orange zest, orange juice, ginger, curry, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. While I’m at this point, if you don’t have a micro plane for zesting, run right out and buy one now. I’ll wait. They are the absolute best things to have around. They get that wonderful outer layer of skin without digging into the pith…and that’s bitter.
When the chicken has cooled, add it to the sour cream mixture and stir to combine. If eating immediately, toss with the watercress before dividing the salad among the pita bread. (If not, toss only the portion you will be eating with a portion of the watercress and proceed.) Divide mixture evenly among the four pita breads. Sprinkle each with the remaining apple, sunflower seeds, and raisins. Serve immediately.
Now, you’ll notice that I am not using the pita bread as the recipe calls for. I don’t dislike pita bread, but it’s nothing that calls out my name either. I’m all for the carbs, but just not these carbs.
Lovely! And, oh, does it taste wonderful! Just the right amount of curry spiciness without the Madras burn. And don’t forget the Major Grey Chutney to plop on top of all this goodness. Can’t have curry without chutney.
Might I suggest a Shiraz or a Gewurztraminer to go along with this? ;p And let us not forget Fannie’s ‘Go-To-Bread’ recipe to go with this…the combo would be DEEE-vine!
Bon Appetit, mes amies