Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Living Clean: Remastered Curry Chicken Salad

My mom is known for her chicken salad. Whenever friends would come over in high school they would ask for her chocolate chip cookies (that were just Nestle Tollhouse but for some reason were the best cookies ever) and her chicken salad. It is a pretty simple recipe, that I have made hundreds of times, and passed on to many a friend over the years: chicken, apples, raisins, walnuts, grapes, mayo, curry powder and salt and pepper.

The thing that makes it so delicious is the curry mayo, which is simply Hellman's Mayonnaise and curry powder. I could eat Hellman's mayo by the spoonful, and I have. I know some of you just threw up in your mouth, and the others are nodding in agreement at having eaten mayo like ice cream before (ok, not by the bowlful or anything - just a spoonful!).

When we started eating Paleo it was hard for me to give up the Hellmans - nothing you make at home compares. But I became accustom to my homemade mayo after I found the right mix of ingredients - one egg yolk, dash of salt, juice from half a lemon, a tablespoon of water (because I use one of those handheld immersion blenders) and one cup of walnut oil. I have tried using macadamia nut oil (most expensive and least flavorful), avocado oil (gave the mayo a green hue and tasted too much like avocados), almond (too nutty) and hazelnut oil (reminded me too much of coffee flavoring).

Now onto my remastered Curry Chicken Salad!

For the chicken I will either cook an entire free-range bird in the crockpot (sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook on low for 5 hours) or I will get the plain or brined rotisserie chickens from Whole Foods if I am lazy (which is most of the time). I decided to swap out walnuts for healthier almond slivers, and I added diced scallions for a delicious oniony crunch. And instead of raisins I used unsweetened dried cherries.

Let me just say, wow. This turned out even better than I had expected! I have also eaten it for breakfast and lunch the last two days it is so good. The scallions really add a new depth of flavor to an already simple but delicious salad (did that sound like a line out of Top Chef?)

Here is the crazy simple recipe (including the recipe for my mayo) for you to try yourself!:

Paleo Mayo: 
- one egg yolk
- sprinkle of kosher salt
- juice from half of medium sized lemon
- one cup of oil of your choice (avocado, macadamia, walnut, almond, etc.)
- one tablespoon of water (if you are using an immersion blender)

Note: if you are using a whisk, you do not need the water and do not add the oil all at once. Start by whisking the egg yolk, lemon juice and salt and pepper, then SLOWLY drizzle in the oil while you continue to whisk and your arm goes numb (use an immersion blender - you will thank me later)

Combine yolk, salt, lemon juice and water. Add one cup of oil. Place immersion blender all the way to the bottom of the container (I use a thinner taller measuring cup that holds 4 cups). Turn on blender and slowly move upwards - just like you used to see on that infomercial back in the day! In about 15 seconds you will have mayo. If it isn't completely mixed together, you can do a couple up and downs with the mixer running. Be careful not to over mix as you will break the emulsification (I think I said that right :).

Chicken Salad: 
- 1 Rotisserie Chicken, or whole chicken cooked at home - pull meat off and chop into bite-sized pieces
- about 1/2 cup of mayo - this will be a personal choice - some people like a lot of mayo, some just want enough for everything to stick together
- 1 medium apple (I keep the skin on) diced into small pieces
- 1 bunch of grapes (optional- didn't use these last time but you can) cut in half
- handful of unsweetened dried cherries
- 4 scallions, diced, including some of the green leafy part
- handful of sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon of curry powder (I use a little more as I love the curry flavor)
- salt and pepper

Mix it all together and enjoy!!


  1. Sounds delicious! A tbsp. of water, you say? Perhaps that is the missing link. I've tried making Paleo mayo a few times, and it has just not worked out. I've been planning to try again. I'm also fascinated by the walnut oil option. Most recipes I've seen call for the light extra virgin olive oil, which I'm sure you know can't be found at WF! And the grapes - holy cow have they been expensive.

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