Your Chicken Salad Deserves A Curried Twist

Whether you're trying to think of new quick and easy lunch ideas, or are looking up the best cold dinners for hot summer days, you may eventually find yourself considering chicken salad. But it is one of those foods where the gap between mediocre and fantastic is vast. So if you've been looking for a way to liven up your basic chicken salad recipe so it's actually exciting enough to look forward to for dinner, it's time to open up the spice cupboard.

Though some people swear that the secret ingredient you should be adding to your chicken salad is pickle juice, if you're not a pickle person, or are looking for something even bolder, then it's time to consider curry powder. Curry powder can add a lot of depth of flavor to your chicken salad in an instant, thanks to the fact that curry powder is actually a blend of many different spices, usually including things like turmeric, coriander, and cumin. The heat level can vary, and you can even make your own curry powder blend, customizing it with your favorite seasonings. Remember, chicken and mayonnaise on their own can be pretty bland, so don't be afraid to add plenty of curry powder to yours the next time you make a batch. It's a combination so delicious, that it's even been served to royalty.

The history of curried chicken salad

Though curried chicken salad experienced a big boom in popularity in 1980s Britain, its origins go back even further than that. That curried chicken salad, which combines chicken, mayonnaise, curry powder, dried fruit, and nuts into a cold dish that can be served over lettuce or on buns is actually a modernized, more casual interpretation of Coronation Chicken. Originally known as Poulet Reine Elizabeth, Coronation Chicken was created by the Le Cordon Bleu London cooking school in 1953 for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

That classic Coronation Chicken recipe was served with a warm mayonnaise-based sauce seasoned with curry powder and sweetened with apricot puree. But even before Coronation Chicken there was Jubilee Chicken. Served in 1935 for King George V's Silver Jubilee, it was also a curry powder-spiced, mayo-based chicken salad; though it was served cold. As for how curry powder became a popular addition to the classic French-style food the royals were used to eating, the answer is, unfortunately, British colonialism. In fact, per Atlas Obscura, the idea of "curry powder" is pretty much a whitewashed British interpretation of Indian spice blends, to begin with. These days, you can find that type of curry powder in pretty much any grocery store. It will definitely liven up your chicken salad, but don't be afraid to explore making your own, even bolder curry-style spice blends to add to your chicken salad, too.