Curried Chicken and Mango Salad

I don’t know about you, but to me nothing says ‘summer’ more than a big helping of salad. I’m not one of those people who prepare salads all year round. Rather, I quite enjoy getting down to it when it gets warmer and sunnier outside. There’s something about mixing fresh leaves and adding juicy and crunchy vegetables to it that just reminds me of a day out basking into the sunshine. I also like to think vegetables are at their best in summer, what with having been kissed by the sun. I have to say, so far we’ve had two whole weeks of complete sunshine here in Leeds. Needless to say, the following one (last one) was a succession of storms and heavy rains, as it is usually the case in the UK. Nevertheless, I am now in full summer mood and the food I prepare has clearly been influenced by that.

This is a very simple and fresh salad. The contrast of flavours (sweet, spicy and sour) is just wonderful. As it only takes about 30 minutes from start to end to prepare, I suggest you keep this at hand on very busy days and, if you wanted to, you could prepare all of the ingredients beforehand, grill the chicken too, and then you’d be left with a mere assembling job. The original recipe called for a dressing made out of Greek yogurt and mango chutney. Not wanting to open a jar of chutney just to use a couple of tablespoons, I decided to make my own dressing using maple syrup instead. After all, if it’s warmth and sweetness we are after, then the possibilities are endless (try pomegranate molasses!).

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Ingredients

  • 1 ripe mango, sliced and cubed
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into long strips and then halved
  • 4 tbsp thick Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lime, juice only
  • 4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 gem lettuces or 1 big lettuce head
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. First, put the chicken strips in a large bowl. Add 2 tsp curry powder, plenty of seasoning and drizzle with some olive oil. Mix thoroughly to ensure the chicken pieces are evenly coated.
  2. Heat your griddle pan on high heat, then cook the chicken strips in batches ensuring the outside turns a deep golden brown and the meat is tender and juicy on the inside. Alternatively, you could roast the chicken pieces for about 30 minutes at 180C in the oven. I find it doing on a griddle is a lot easier (even if it fills my house with smoke). Once the chicken is cooked, set aside to cool down slightly, then slice into smaller pieces.
  3. To make the dressing, combine the maple syrup, Greek yogurt, lime juice, 2 tsp curry powder and some pepper in a bowl. The consistency will be runny but should still hold its shape. Set aside.
  4. To assemble the salad, tear the lettuce leaves and arrange them on a serving platter (or on the dishes). Scatter the mango pieces and the red onion, then arrange the chicken pieces in between and on the leaves. Finally, drizzle with the prepared dressing and serve immediately. Best enjoyed cold or at room temperature.

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