A friend passed on the original version of this curried chicken salad, Taj Mahal Salad, back in the ‘80’s, when the dish was popular and “trendy”. I remember teaching my mother and grandmother how to prepare this when my grandmother was going blind from glaucoma. Moo Moo was so proud to have a new salad to serve at the lunch parties she threw for friends and family, one that she could assemble with minimal help.
Recently, I watched Ina Garten update her version of a curried chicken salad, and decided to re-vamp my own.
Ina gave me the idea of adding mango chutney, a favorite condiment of mine. I make several big batches of mango chutney each summer, using my mother’s recipe. Right now the pantry is loaded with chutney, but it will be gone by next summer, just in time for mango season here.
In any case, and despite its corny name, this is a nice choice for a summer or early fall lunch or supper. I like to serve it with Indian or Mid-Eastern flat bread. I cook my rice in chicken stock for extra flavor and poach chicken in water with lemon juice. (Don’t forget to add the squeezed lemon halves to the poaching liquid. The lemon oil from the peel will infuse it.) One cup of raw rice yields four cups of cooked rice.
- 4 cups cooked brown or white basmati rice, cooled
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cooled
- 1-½ cup canola oil-based mayo
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ cup mango chutney
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup seedless green grapes, cut into halves
- ½ cup chopped cashews, toasted
- kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. In a small skillet, toast the cashews and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine rice with the mayo, lemon zest and juice.
3. Shred the chicken into pieces, using your fingers, and add to rice mixture.
4. Stir in the curry, cumin and chutney. Blend well. Now add remaining ingredients, except for the toasted cashews.
5. Chill for at least 4 hours. Check seasoning. Chop and add the cashews. Serve on top of crisp greens.