Tag Archives: chicken

The Book of Chinese Chicken Salad

10 Aug

In the beginning…

There was nothing but darkness. Well, not quite darkness. But there were sullen grey clouds, that would drift across the sky and occasionally spit rain at inconvenient, umbrella-less moments.

And the Lord said, “I’m THIS CLOSE to cancelling summer entirely, unless you lazy, whiny people do something amazing to change my mind.”

And the people sent their athletes to compete on the water and in the velodrome and on the track, and won many victories over the other nations. And the people were simultaneously jubilant and incredulous. They said to each other “How is this happening? We never win ANYTHING! WOOHOO!”

And the Lord muttered, “Bunch of show-offs.”

And then said, “Well done! Let there be light!”

And there was light! And the people rejoiced, revealed their pasty flesh, and frolicked in the fields and on the pavements and on the beaches.

And this writer made chicken salad. Not just any chicken salad, though. No mayonnaise in this baby. Just shredded poached chicken, dressed with a mildly spicy, super-savoury Sichuanese dressing, and served over sliced cucumbers.

And she saw that it was good. Very, very good.



Cold Chicken with a Spicy Sichuanese Sauce (adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking)


Serves 2 as a light dinner

300-350g/0.75 pounds cold, cooked chicken breast (I poached mine, but leftovers from a roast would work, too)
3 spring onions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
0.25 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1.5 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
1.5 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp chicken stock
4 tbsp Sichuanese chili oil, with 0.5 tbsp of the sediment from the bottom of the jar
0.5 tsp ground Sichuan pepper
15-20 1cm cucumber slices

1. Shred the cooked chicken, and put it in a big bowl with spring onions and salt. Toss to combine.

2. Toast the sesame seeds on a low heat on the hob until they go a few shades darker and smell nutty.

3. Combine the other ingredients in a small bowl.

4. When ready to eat, add the dressing and the sesame seeds to the chicken mixture, and toss to combine. Lay out the cucumber slices on two small plates, then divide the chicken between them. Serve, and enjoy.

Note: You can find the vinegar, chili oil, and peppercorns at any Chinese market. They will keep nearly indefinitely.

Fit for a Queen

5 Mar

Coronation Chicken was originally invented in the early 1950s to commemorate Elizabeth II’s ascent to the throne, and even in these more affluent and cosmopolitan times, the recipe is a tiny time-warp to 60 years ago. The stuff is a sandwich filling standby in the UK – go into any sandwich shop and you’ll see a fluorescent yellow mound of mayonnaise-laden, curry and chutney-spiked chicken salad studded with raisins.

My version of Coronation Chicken substitutes yogurt for mayonnaise for both health and taste reasons (there’s a future entry in my mixed emotions about mayo), uses turmeric and garam masala in place of curry powder, and ratchets up the flavor with sautéed onions and garlic. The apple and the raisins add sweetness and texture contrast to the creamy chicken. It makes a splendid lunch by itself or on toast, and is my favourite way to use up any leftover roast chicken!



Diamond Jubilee Chicken Salad (inspired by Gourmet’s Curried Chicken Salad with Spiced Chickpeas and Raita)


Serves 2

2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
0.5 teaspoon turmeric
0.5 teaspoon salt
2 roasted chicken breasts or chicken thighs, shredded (from a store-bought rotisserie chicken, or you can make your own awesome roast chicken)
200g/1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Braeburn apple (or another sweet and crisp fruit), cored and diced
2 tablespoons raisins/sultanas

Heat the oil over a medium flame, then add the onions. Fry until translucent and turning soft, 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic, garam masala, turmeric, and salt, and sauté for another minute.

Scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the chicken and toss until the meat is well-coated, then stir in the yogurt until everything is creamy and yellow. Add the apple and raisins, stir, and serve.