Madras Curry Chicken Salad

Recipe by Nancy Johnson
Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

If you like curry, you’ll love this salad. If you don’t like curry, skip the cantaloupe, mango, chutney and curry paste; add grapes, crushed pineapple and sliced almonds for a lovely tea room chicken salad.

4 chicken breast fillets
1 stalk celery, minced
1/4 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and diced
1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1 bag chopped butter lettuce
Sour cream and minced scallions for garnish

Curry Chicken Salad Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup Major Grey mango chutney
1 tsp Madras curry paste or curry powder

Poach chicken breasts; place chicken in a large skillet. Add water to cover chicken by an inch. Season water with salt, bay leaf and several crushed garlic cloves. Cook over medium high heat until water begins to simmer. Turn heat to low. Cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until instant read thermometer inserted in chicken registers 165°F. The poaching liquid can be strained and saved as broth. Shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, sour cream, chutney and curry paste or powder. Add chicken, celery, cantaloupe and mango. Mix gently.

Arrange butter lettuce on 4 plates. Place a scoop of chicken salad on top of butter lettuce. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and scallions. Serves 4.

Gary: – Curry can be mild or have a bit of heat to it so start with fruity, lightly sweet whites like an off-dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Muscat or Tokay. Gewürztraminer is a grape often served with curry but look for a style that is elegant to bring out the flavor of wine and entrée without obscuring the nuances of the food. Pinot Gris with its richer texture should be quite nice with the spice and handle the mayonnaise and sour cream in the dish. For a red consider a round and fruity Garnacha/Côtes du Rhône, Zinfandel or Barbera, all without excess oak contact.

If you skip the curry, stick with whites and rosés with a hint of sweetness, or those wines that are softly dry but have overtones of tropical fruit to bridge between the pineapple and the wine.

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