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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Addictive chicken salad

I first ate this salad on my summer holidays. It was delightfully cooked for me and my family by my sister and her man. So, the fact that I find myself craving it and craving people I can serve it to is really their fault, or Jamie Oliver’s for inventing it. It’s my summer 2013 most used recipe slightly adapted from Jamie's below but you can find the original elsewhere online or in his 15 minute meal book. A quick search of Jamie's website hasn't revealed the recipe but has thrown up this gorgeous Greek chicken salad which sounds similarly addictive and will make a change when you're bored of eating this.

For four, you will need:

3-4 chicken breasts
Patak’s madras (or other preferred) paste, 1 heaped dessert spoon per breast
8 chestnut mushrooms or more if you like mushrooms
1 bunch spring onions

1 fresh red chilli

1 heaped tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
olive oil

1x 250g pack of ready to eat Puy lentils
, you can of course cook your own, it just takes longer
1 ripe tomato

a splash of red wine vinegar

1 bunch of fresh coriander

170g natural or Greek yoghurt 

1 heaped tbsp cashew nuts

2 heaped tbsp mango chutney

2 tsp turmeric

1 lemon (not crucial)
2 naan breads

200g baby spinach

1 mango
1/2 a cucumber

2 small carrots
/ 1 large carrot
100g feta cheese.

What to do: 

Season the chicken and smear generously with Patak’s paste. It doesn’t really matter how you cook the chicken, I have tried it griddled which is delicious but messy, on the BBQ which is amazing you’re in the mood or baked in foil in the oven if you want the least messy, no effort option. Whatever you decide, do the same with the mushrooms (and later the naan).
Trim and chop the spring onions and the chilli.

Toast the mustard seeds and cumin in a dash of hot oil in a frying pan until they are jumping. Add the spring onion and half of the chilli followed by the lentils and a good glug of red wine vinegar. Warm this for a couple of minutes.

Separate the coriander leaves and stalks.

Add the stalks, juice and zest of lemon, yoghurt, cashews, tumeric and mango chutney to a food processor and whizz. I've tried this as a finely blitzed pretty runny dressing and as a coarsely blitzed more dollopy delight, both work, go with whatever appeals or how it turns out.

Griddle, BBQ or bake the naan and as this cooks arrange the salad as follows on a large platter or dish. Just throw it together, it's not a precise thing and if you're trying to do it in anywhere close to 30 minutes, never mind 15 you will have to throw things. 


Layer the baby spinach at the base, scatter with lentil mix, speed peel (with a vegetable peeler) the carrots and cucumber. Sprinkle the mushrooms and mango chunks. Slice the chicken, cut the naan into strips and arrange haphazardly. Finally top with chunks of feta, remaining half of chopped chilli, pour or dollop yoghurt dressing and toss remaining coriander leaves over the top. Serve with additional mango chutney or dressing. You are advised to make double quantities for this purpose. You will eat it.

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