Curry-Cayenne Chicken Salad
Boy, you guys are in for a real treat today. Curry-Cayenne Chicken Salad is one of The Stud Muffin’s favorite things to put between two slices of bread. It is packed with flavorful spices and it has a touch of heat. It’s also loaded with veggies, so that totally makes up for the fact that you will be using some mayonnaise in this recipe. This chicken salad tastes fantastic on toasted bread or wrapped in a tortilla with some crisp lettuce thrown in, or on regular sandwich bread.
If you happen to be trying to watch your fat intake, you could mix equal parts mayo (don’t use low-fat it is too high in sodium and sugar and will alter the taste of this exponentially) and plain Greek yoghurt. The tang from the yogurt will go nicely with the flavors in this chicken salad. Or, you could make your own mayonnaise and cut all that excessive Genetically Modified Soybean oil from your diet. But I’ll preach on that another day. This recipe is my interpretation of a dish I had once at a restaurant while out with friends.
A batch of this chicken salad will keep in the fridge for about a week in an air-tight container. You should probably start checking your fridge and your cupboards to see if you have all the ingredients to make this. Seriously- what are you waiting for? You have to make some of this!! If you are in a lunch rut, or your kids are tired of PB & J, or bologna, then you have to try this. Good luck not eating half of it as you’re prepping. It’s that good!
Curry-Cayenne Chicken SaladRecipe by: Adaptation of a dish I tried at a restaurant Serves: 4-6 Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 30-60 minutes
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts thawed (I buy the ones that are flash frozen for this recipe because they’re an even thickness and cook up faster than the raw/fresh chicken breasts.)
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced very fine (1/8″) * See picture of knife cuts below
- 1/2 stalk celery, rinsed and diced very fine (1/8″)
- 2-4 TB finely diced (1/8″) red or yellow onion
- 1/3-1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise (preferably organic or homemade)
- Olive oil
- 1-1/2 to 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
- 2+ tsp. yellow curry- good quality one
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. celery salt
- 1/8+ tsp. cayenne pepper- divided (so basically, two decent sized pinches) Add more if you know you like heat.
- 1-1/2 tsp. paprika-divided
- 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 3/4+ tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2+ tsp. onion powder (not onion salt)
- 1/4+ tsp. garlic powder or granulated garlic (NOT garlic salt)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 3+ dashes of Tabasco, or 1/4 tsp. Sriracha Rooster sauce
- 2 TB Fresh Parsley, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, drizzle in about 1 TB olive oil and then add the oregano, the thyme, half of the salt, the black pepper, half of the cayenne, 2/3rd’s of the paprika, the onion powder, garlic powder and a sprinkle of celery salt if you’d like. Stir to combine.
Toss in the thawed, raw chicken breast and with your hands coat each piece well with the oil and spice mixture. If your chicken isn’t well coated with the oil and spices, add a few more sprinkles of each spice. Cover with plastic wrap refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, begin prepping your veggies. Clean and peel carrot, cut off the top and bottom of the carrot. Next cut the carrot into 2-3 inch lengths. Trim the rounded sides of each piece so that a sort of rectangle shape is created. Next, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 1/8th inch slices. Stack several of the slices together and slice lengthwise again into 1/8 inch thin batons called Julienne.
**NOTE: See the Julienne slices on the top right hand corner of this picture. Once you reach that stage you can cut those strips into little cubes, like the pile of carrots that are somewhat on the middle of the cutting board in the picture below.
Once the carrots are julienned, grab a pile and dice them into 1/8″ cubes. Like the carrots in the center of the picture above.
Follow the same steps with your piece of celery.
Finish by finely dicing your onion*.
Put your veggies into a small bowl. Add 1/2 tsp lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and let them set them aside for later.
*How to chop an onion: Using a sharp chef’s knife, trim off the stem end of the onion and cut it in half through the root end. Peel back the skin on both halves, leaving the root end attached, next make horizontal cuts parallel to the cutting board, cutting to but not through the root. Then make lengthwise vertical cuts almost but not quite through the root. Finally, cut across the width of the onion to chop into small pieces. The same technique is used to achieve finely diced and minced onion must making more cuts in each direction through each step. For this recipe, make as many horizontal cuts as you can (as close to 1/8: apart at a max 1/4″) Your lengthwise vertical cuts should be 1/8″ apart, and when you begin to chop the onion across its width, make those slices as close to 1/8″ wide as well. You want tiny dices of onion.
While you are waiting for your veggies to marinate, take your chicken out of the fridge and arrange each breast on a shallow baking pan. Place into your preheated 350 degree oven for 25-45 minutes. Cooking times depend on how thick your chicken breasts are. The reason I use the flash frozen ones that come 10 to a bag is because within 20-25 minutes they’re cooked through. When chicken is no longer pink in the center, remove from oven and set aside to cool. If you have a meat thermometer which I truly believe everyone should have, remove chicken when it hits a temp of 160 degrees. Carryover heat will bring it to the safe internal temp of 165 degrees F.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut lengthwise into 1/2″ slices, and cut those slices into 1/2″ cubes. Place cubed chicken in a medium-sized bowl.
In a dry small skillet over medium-low heat add the following spices: The curry, celery salt, cayenne, white pepper, and paprika. Stir the spices with a wooden spoon and toast them over medium-low heat until you start to smell them and they darken slightly. You don’t want them to burn, we’re just coaxing some additional flavor out of the spices. Take your bowl of cubed chicken, and add 1/3 cup mayonnaise, add half the dried spices, and all the diced veggies, lemon juice and all and the parsley. Stir to combine. Taste. Now add a little salt, and more mayo if needed. Stir to combine recently added ingredients. Next add the remaining toasted spices and stir again.
Finally add a few splashes of Tabasco or a little squirt of Sriracha. Stir well and taste. There should be a nice amount of heat, but nothing too overpowering. Let this sit overnight in the fridge before you add any more Tabasco, or cayenne or Sriracha. It will get hotter as the flavors and spices get all happy-happy in your fridge over night. The next day take it out, add more mayo if it dried up a bit, taste and then decide if you want to kick it up a notch with some more Tabasco or cayenne.
Spoon chicken salad onto your favorite bread and enjoy!
Thanks Shawn! There will be an explosion of flavor with that first bite. You’ll be lucky if it even makes it to the bread in all honesty!
I absolutely have to try this recipe! I love chicken salad(just made some yesterday) but, I’ve never had it seasoned with curry. This looks and sounds delicious.