In 2013, I had the opportunity to spend a month in England for a college class studying CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. (Yes, it was spectacular.) Being a frugal student, my fast-food meal of choice usually came from the pre-made sandwich area of Tesco (the grocery) or a local, questionably cheap sandwich shop. One of my go-to sandwiches was filled with “coronation chicken” – a vaguely curry flavored chicken salad that was far superior to any chicken salad I’d ever tried at home. It took me 7 years to finally sit down and make my own verison of the mysterious, compelling sandwich that kept me coming back for more.Jump to Recipe
Coronation chicken is essentially a specialized, British chicken salad. It was invented by writer Constance Spry in 1953 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II; the curry flavors therein are certainly a nod to the British Empire’s long utilization of India as an Asian colony. My trip to England coincided with the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, which made this choice of sandwich all the more fitting.
The ingredients for this recipe are almost profoundly simple. For the dressing, you need mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, tomato paste, turmeric, yellow curry (I used curry powder, but paste would be acceptable), and apricot jam. Many recipes call for mango chutney, but apricot jam is much more accessible in American grocery stores.
The rest of the salad requires a chopped green onion, flaked or slivered almonds, golden raisins, and – you guessed it – chicken. You could use traditional raisins if that was all you had on hand, but the golden raisins help to give this salad a more consistent color palate.
In terms of chicken, all that really matters is that your chicken is pre-cooked and easy to shred. For the pictures below, I used canned chicken because we had it on hand; the salad still tasted fine. For a more pronounced flavor profile, I recommend poaching a few chicken breasts in water spiced with additional curry and turmeric before cooling and shredding. This will give your salad a more robust flavor, though it will also take more time to prepare.
Now that you have assembled the ingredients, let’s make this salad. Start by whisking together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, spices, tomato paste, and apricot preserves.
Next, stir in chicken, flaked almonds, golden raisins, and diced onions.
Once all ingredients have been thoroughly combined, spoon onto a croissant, a piece of bread or bed of lettuce and serve. This dish is best served cold, so if you aren’t going to eat it immediately, I recommend storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The flavors will meld together as the salad sits over a couple of days.
Whether you’re making this dish for watch party of The Crown, you’re celebrating a British holiday, or you just wanted a portable chicken salad for a picnic, I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Had you ever made coronation chicken before? Do you have any recommendations? Please leave a message in the comments below, or tag @WhiskAverseBaking in your social media posts.
Coronation Chicken Salad
- 24 ounces chicken cooked and shredded
- 1 green onions
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds optional
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins or traditional
- Whisk together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, spices, tomato paste, and apricot preserves in a mixing bowl.
- Stir in chicken, flaked almonds, golden raisins, and diced onions.
- Once all ingredients have been thoroughly combined, serve in a sandwich or on a wrap.