August 19, 2022

why it works

  • Starting the chicken in room temperature water then cooking it over low heat keeps the flesh tender and juicy.
  • A homemade spice blend offers deeper, fresher flavors than a store-bought blend and can be customized to suit your tastes.
  • Toasting the spices before grinding them into a powder further develops their flavors.

If you love chicken salad and curry powder spice blends, this recipe is for you. It’s fragrant, flavorful and perfectly spiced, and it has just the right amount of mayonnaise to bind all the ingredients together while letting the textures of crisp scallions and fluffy raisins shine through.

There are many styles of curry powder, but Madras curry is one of my favorites. I first tested this recipe with a store-bought mix, and although it was good, I found myself supplementing with extra doses of cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper, so I decided to make a house mix instead.

Similar to how Daniel developed his spice blend for his japanese curry recipe, I started by studying the ingredient lists of many Madras curry powders. Cilantro seemed to be the main ingredient and all of the powders contained turmeric and cumin. Fennel, fenugreek and mustard also appeared regularly, while the inclusion of spices like cinnamon, cloves and garlic varied by brand.

After series of tests, I increased my measurements for cumin and turmeric, which provide more depth and earth. I also included garlic powder, for extra flavor, and cayenne pepper, for an extra kick. I used whole spices wherever I could and roasted them before grinding, because roasting spices whole will enhance their aromas and flavors.

For this recipe, a custom spice blend is definitely worth it – it’s fragrant, robust, and easy to adjust to suit your personal preferences. My recipe makes about 1/3 cup curry powder, which will leave you with a few tablespoons left over to use as you see fit. sprinkle it Pop cornadd it to egg salador mix it into stews and sauces (although you might want to think about make it bloom in oil first).

While Kenji Chicken salad is to cook the chicken breasts sous vide, I wanted the same results but without the special equipment, so I followed Daniel’s guide to cold poach—essentially vacuum-packed without the plastic bag. I added the chicken to a pan of cold water (no seasonings needed since we will be adding plenty of flavor later), brought it to 150°F (65°C) and let it cook very gently. After about 45 minutes I was rewarded with super juicy and tender meat. I chose to use skinless, boneless chicken breasts, but feel free to use whatever cuts you prefer. I like shredded chicken when it comes to chicken salad because the seasoning can really coat every little bit of flavor. I also like how the shreds stick together, so if the chicken salad is on a cracker, it doesn’t become a balancing act. But to each his own!

Once the curry powder and the chicken are prepared, I prepare the curry mayonnaise. To complement its lukewarm heat, I add a touch of apricot jam for a tangy sweetness, before incorporating the chicken, green onions and raisins.

Hot and spicy, bright and fresh, slightly tart and perfectly sweet, this Chicken Curry Salad is delicious served as a sandwich or with toast or crackers on the side, or even, of course, on its own.

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