More than just a tandoor meat

REFRESHING Sangeeta Sen shows you how to make unique chicken salads to boost your health, even as they tingle your taste buds
Last Updated 15 March 2013, 12:10 IST

Time was when the ‘salade au poulet’, rather chicken salad, was thought to be a platter of just succulent chicken pieces, dressed in some moist sauce.  Yet, when Liam Gray, the founder of a popular sandwich spot called Town Meats, just down the road in Wakefield, RI, mixed some leftover chicken with tarragon, mayonnaise and grapes in the year 1863, he was actually making the chicken salad more creative.

In fact, the chicken salad wasn’t anymore just a dish of the healthy chicken. It then contained delectable vegetables, eggs, and many other delicious ingredients loaded with health benefits. Today, such a type of a wholesome chicken salad is undoubtedly a perfectly healthy option.

Take, for instance, the classic French Chicken Salade with almonds and oranges. The lightly toasted almonds in the salad contain anti-oxidants like vitamin E that help reduce the risk of heart diseases as well as control cholesterol levels. This type of a chicken salad has the vitamin C-rich orange, spinach leaves that are full of beta-carotenes as well as green spring onions that help eliminate harmful bacteria.

Preparation of this healthy chicken salad filling requires about 2 cups of cubed (about ½ inch) chicken, boiled, a few slivered almonds, grilled to golden brown, 2 green spring onions, chopped into small lengths, 100g spinach (coarsely chopped), ½ orange, 3 tablespoons of low-fat mayonnaise, black pepper and salt to taste. Extract the juice of the orange, mix it with the mayonnaise and set it aside.

In a bowl, place the chopped spinach leaves. Now, add the boiled chicken cubes, chopped spring onions, grilled almonds as well as the orange juice-mayonnaise mixture. Stir in the black pepper and some salt. Toss all the ingredients well and finally, enjoy this healthy French Chicken Salade with almonds and oranges, chilled.

Another option would be the exotic Mediterranean Chicken Salad. This salad is a rich source of anti oxidants, minerals, and vitamins.

For preparing the Mediterranean Chicken Salad, one needs 2 skinless chicken breasts (about 350g), sliced into strips, 3 cups of torn green lettuce leaves, 1 red capsicum (roasted and sliced into long strips), ½ cucumber (peeled and sliced), ½ onion, cut into rings, lightly sautéed, 1 tomato, chopped, ¼ cup of cheese, grated, 4 tablespoons of black olives, sliced, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon vinegar and salt to taste.

Grill the chicken strips using olive oil until cooked. Subsequently, put the lettuce leaves on an oval plate. Arrange the grilled chicken strips, roasted red capsicum strips, chopped tomatoes, fried onion rings, black olives as well as the cucumber slices over the lettuce leaves. Finally, sprinkle some grated cheese and vinegar over the top and serve immediately.  

Chicken Salad with grapes and walnuts is another helthy delicacy. The preparation requires 2 cups shredded chicken (boiled), 1 cup seedless green grapes (sliced), ½ cup of walnut pieces, 1 green capsicum (cut into strips), ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 ½ tablespoons cream, 1 teaspoon honey, a pinch of pepper and salt to taste. Combine the boiled chicken pieces with the mayonnaise, cream, sliced grapes, capsicum strips, walnuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients. Stir in the honey and toss. Serve immediately.
Then, there’s the authentic Chicken Salad with spaghetti, papaya, mint, cherries and lemon rinds. This one is a carbohydrate-rich spaghetti, combined with the vitamin goodness of mint leaves, and immune-boosting properties of papaya.

Preparing this salad would require 1 ½ cups shredded chicken (boiled), 100g cooked spaghetti, 2 cups of ripe papaya fruit (cut into ¾ inch cubes), 1 ½ cups red cherries, 1 tablespoon lemon rinds (grated), 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, 4 tablespoons of yogurt, ½ cup of any low-fat mayonnaise, a pinch of pepper and salt as desired. Mix all the salad ingredients well. Cover, refrigerate for a while to blend the flavours and, finally, serve this healthy chicken salad.

Needless to say, the chicken salad is a the ultimate powerhouse of health and taste. So, whip up one of these simple recipes and tuck into a delicious and wholesome meal.

(Published 15 March 2013, 12:10 IST)

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