In the US, Chicken Salad refers to a salad made with diced chicken and mayonnaise as the main ingredients. Some of other ingredients used in Chicken Salad are Celery, Spring Onions, Bell Peppers, Grapes, Apples, Cranberries, Nuts, Cucumbers and so on. Chicken Salad has a perfect balance of sweet, salty, tangy flavors. It is creamy and yet has a crunch. Chicken Salad can be used for making delicious sandwiches. It is often chilled before serving.
Hubby is addicted to Chicken Salad but the store-bought ones are packed with mayo and tonnes of artificial ingredients, and it is ridiculously expensive. I have started making Chicken Salad from scratch and we like it better than the store bought ones. There is no limit as to what you can add to your chicken salad. Fruits, nuts, onions, pickles, yogurt, sour cream, mustard and the list goes on. I like to go light on the Mayo in my Chicken Salad.
Homemade Chicken Salad can be served on Mini Croissants and these make an excellent appetizer. It is so much easier to make than traditional Kerala appetizers like Chicken Cutlets.
For Cooking the Chicken
- Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breasts – 3 big ones (1.5 lbs approx)
- Sliced Red Onions – 1 small
- Baby Carrots (Sliced into Halves) – 6
- Dried Parsley – 1 tsp
- Cilantro – a small handful
- Garlic Cloves – 2
- Black Pepper Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Red Chilly/Paprika Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – as needed
For the Salad
- Diced Chicken Breasts – 3 cups approx
- Diced Spring Onion Greens/Scallions – 1/4 cup
- Finely Diced Bell Peppers – 1 big one
- Chopped Seedless Grapes – 3/4 cup
- Chopped Nuts – 1/4 cup (I used combination of Peanuts & Cashews)
- Mayonnaise – 2 to 3 tbsp
- Plain Yogurt – 3 tbsp (I prefer Greek Yogurt)
- Cranberry or any Fruit Preserve – 2 tbsp (Alternatively, use sugar or honey for sweetness)
- Black Pepper Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Paprika/Red Chilly Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Lemon Juice/Vinegar – 2 to 3 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Rinse the chicken breasts thoroughly and cut each breast into 3 or 4 smaller pieces.
- Bring nicely salted water to a boil in a big saucepan along with the onions, carrots, garlic, parsley, cilantro and black pepper powder.
- Add the chicken pieces to the pan. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook the chicken for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and allow it to stand for 10-15 minutes while you assemble the other ingredients for the salad.
- To prepare the dressing for the salad, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, fruit preserve, lemon juice, paprika powder, black pepper powder and salt in another bowl. Do a taste test to see if the flavors are balanced. Stir the dressing until smooth.
- Drain the chicken (reserve the broth and vegetables) and transfer to a cutting board. Dice it into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, toss the diced chicken, bell peppers, spring onions, grapes and chopped nuts.
- Pour the dressing into the chicken and mix gently until combined.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- The water reserved from cooking chicken is an excellent broth. It can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for later use. This broth can be used for making Soups, Pulav and so on.