If you love curry and a sweet-salty combination, you are going to love this coronation chicken salad. This curried chicken salad has British colonial roots and, with all the flavors and textures, it’s hard to stop eating!
And if you’re a fan of chicken in general, you may also like this chicken with mushrooms and thyme.
NOTE: I added some new images and process shots on 7/26/2020.
What To Serve When It Is Very Hot Outside
There’s not much more southern than making a dinner of salads. Not all green salads. I mean cold all-kinds-of-salads.
When the temperature soars into the 90s and 100s, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen. So salads are where it’s at:
- Mom-Style Macaroni Salad not fancy enough to be called “pasta salad,” this is the version I grew up on and it’s still my favorite
- Summer Tomato Peach Panzanella peaches work great in a savory bread salad, and tomatoes are happy to make room for them
- a nice wedge salad so old school it’s new again, I love a great wedge salad with a ton of blue cheese
- Salt Potato Salad boil up some baby potatoes in super salted water then mix them with ghee and a few other simple ingredients for a Whole 30 compliant warm or room temp potato salad everyone will love
- Marinated Cucumbers so much easier than pickles, and you don’t have to wait as long!
And let me introduce you to my new favorite salad: coronation chicken salad, or curried chicken salad.
I didn’t refer to a recipe when I made this. I just made it up, adding some curry-ish ingredients and made a dressing spiked with curry powder.
It was delicious, so I decided to write it up. As a teaser, I shared a photograph of it, and my friend Deon from Food Jam asked if it was like Coronation Chicken Salad.
This was the first time I’d ever heard of Coronation Chicken, so I went and looked it up on The Google.
Chicken, fruit, curried dressing. I told him that it was indeed more or less the same thing as Coronation Chicken, and then I started doing some research into the dish.
Origins of the Dish
As you can guess, Coronation Chicken (really just a schmancy curried chicken salad) was invented in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
The dish was developed by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume, both of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London.
This dish not so subtly paid homage to the contracting British Empire, borrowing some flavors from India, the “crown jewel of the British Empire” until 1947.
Over the ensuing years, it seems that Coronation Chicken lost some of its luster, ending up in soggy sandwiches on buffet lines and being made fun of in the way that Spam is made fun of in the US. Except in Hawaii.
It became something of a wink and a nod recipe. I imagine British hipsters eating it ironically.
Chicken + Fruit + Curry = Magic
A good curried chicken salad made with mild, juicy chicken punctuated by pops of chewy fruit and bathed in a silken saffron-hued dressing is a beautiful thing.
The British seem to think so, too. The dish seems to be making a comeback in the UK, getting updates in both the cooking method and ingredient list.
It has also been kept alive with updates called “Jubilee Chicken,” commemorating Elizabeth’s fifty and now sixty years (and counting–sorry, Charles) on the throne.
How to Make It
The components to any great chicken salad are:
- moist chicken (generally white meat)
- a mixture of crunchy, fruity, and chewy mix-ins
- a creamy dressing
For my version of this British classic, here are the components:
- for the chicken: chicken breast poached in chicken stock with turmeric
- mixins: roasted cashews, raisins, red onion, apple (add snipped dried apricots too if you have them. They are super traditional)
- dressing: mayo, cider vinegar, honey, curry powder, salt & pepper
To save time (and to not have to turn on the stove at all) substitute chopped rotisserie chicken for the chicken breasts.
Keep your chicken salad, covered, in the fridge for up to a week. Don’t freeze it–just eat it!
It will be best the second day as the flavors will have a chance to mingle and get to know each other.
I really hope you love this recipe, you guys! It’s so perfect for summertime.
Thanks, and enjoy!
For the Chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
For the Dressing
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise, (See Notes Below)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 Tablespoons honey
- 2-3 teaspoons mild curry powder
- salt and pepper, , to taste
For the Mix-Ins (cup measurements are approximate)
- 1 apple, cut into bite-sized pieces. Peeled or not--your call
- 1/3 cup golden raisins, (or "regular" raisins)
- 1/4 cup cashews, (chopped. I used roasted and salted cashews)
- 1/4 cup red onion, , finely chopped
For the Chicken
- Whisk the stock, salt, pepper and turmeric together in a pot just large enough to hold the chicken.
- Place the chicken in the pot. Cover and bring to a simmer.
- Keep the chicken at a low simmer until the internal temperature of the breasts is 165F. You may need to flip the chicken with tongs a couple of times to make sure it cooks evenly.
- Allow the chicken to cool in broth and then chill until cold.
- Cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
For the Dressing
- Whisk all the ingredients together. You may need to adjust the salt, sweetness, acidity and/or spice, so taste and adjust accordingly.
- Thoroughly fold the dressing together with the chicken and all the mix-ins. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight to let the flavors meld.
- Serve on lettuce/mixed greens as a salad or on a sandwich. Enjoy!
If you are not a mayonnaise fan, substitute all or part of the mayo with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
I didn't do this, and I didn't see any other recipes that did either, but I think this chicken salad would be excellent made with some of the thick "cream" from full-fat coconut milk substituted for some of the mayonnaise.
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Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 521Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 29gCholesterol 91mgSodium 1006mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 1gSugar 12gProtein 30g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
Thanks for spending some time with me today. Take care, and have a lovely day.