Inspiration + Friends

CURRIED CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH MANGO CHUTNEY AND TOASTED CORIANDER-3

I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by talented, inspired people all the time. From working in food and listening to customers tell me about their recipes, trials and errors in the kitchen, to my very own closest friends, I’m surrounded.

We spent the Labour Day Monday last weekend at my friends Tara and Phil’s home. Now, their house is an inspiration all on it’s own – having just recently knocked out the back patio door and bricks and put in a large sliding glass wall – but that’s a whole other blog. Whenever we end up at Tara’s place, there is always something interesting in the fridge. She’s part of a cookbook club and is generally just obsessed with food – it’s why we get along (and why our boyfriends usually tune us out while we break every single detail of a recipe down for hours) and why I love spending time with her. Whenever her fridge opens, I have to gawk in amazment. From the sheer organization of it all, weck and ball jars lined up perfectly, filled with herbs and colourful leftovers, to the pungeant smells of whatever dish she’s concocted that week, it’s a moment to behold. I could never be that organized even if I tried.

On our last visit she looked slightly embarassed when the warm, nose-tickling scent of curry escaped her fridge. She explained quickly that she’d made a curried chicken salad the day before and apologized for the smell (unecessarily, of course – I love curry and it’s intoxicating smell). Later in the day, while Allan did some work in her backyard, she brought out an opened faced sandwich with the curried chicken salad piled high atop it. It was for Allan, as he was the one actually working and stirring a hunger, but I couldn’t help but steal a bite, and then another, and one more to be sure. The salad was perfect. Heavily spiced, warm and creamy, balanced with some sweetness from a homemade mango chutney and plump raisins, crunchy and fresh from the addition of celery and freshened to perfection with some parsley. I knew immediately it was what I needed to get me through the week. I asked for a quick breakdown of the ingredients and went home, reciting them in my head so as not to forget anything. Well, I did. Of course I did – it’s me. But I did my best to put it together as I recalled, with a few extra additions based on what was in the fridge and needed to be used. I can’t get enough. I plan to make this as often as I can tolerate it as it’s healthy, warm, makes for great leftovers and satifies in a way that a ham sandwich just can’t. Pile it over grainy bread, serve in lettuce cups, or eat as-is for a filling meal.

CURRIED CHICKEN AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH MANGO CHUTNEY AND TOASTED CORIANDER

Curried Chicken and Chickpea Salad with Mango Chutney and Cranberries
makes 6-8 cups, keeps for 1.5 weeks

I roasted a whole chicken rubbed generously with curry powder and sea salt for the chicken part of this recipe. You can used poached breast, leftover meat from a previous meal, or anything else you fancy. It would be delicious with turkey or with just chickpeas for something vegetarian friendly. 

Mango chutney can be found at most well-stocked grocery stores or at Indian grocers. It’s easy to make at home if you’re so inclined, too! 

3 cups roasted chicken breast, thigh and leg meat (I used a whole roasted chicken)
2 cups shredded lacitano kale
3 celery ribs, diced
6 scallions, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecans, rough chopped

dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil mayonaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mango chutney
1 tbsp freshly toasted coria nder seeds*
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
squeeze or two of lemon juice

Toss all the salad ingredients together.

Pour all dressing ingredients into a food processor ir blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more curry or pepper for spice, lemon for tang or chutney for sweetness. It all depends on personal taste.

Toss the salad and the dressing together, let sit in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to make sure all the flavours are well acquainted and serve in whatever way you like best!

*take 1 tbsp coriander seeds and pour into a skillet over medium heat. Cook until fragrant, 5 minutes, and shake the skillet often. Once toasted, grind in mortar and pestle or spice grinder.