Saturday, March 22, 2008

Curried Chicken Salad

Thursday night found me consumed with an overwhelming desire to make mayonnaise. This is strange, even for me, because I have a real aversion to raw eggs. Caesar salad dressing kinda scares me, I won't eat raw cookie dough so it is totally bizarre for me to want to make something based entirely on uncooked eggs. I'm not really sure how or why this happened but it was a fun, educational experience.

I am using the recipe from Staff Meals From Chanterelle. I continue to recommend this book for the multitude of delicious, well-written recipes.

Oil, eggs, curry powder, mustard and lemon juice.

6 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of Madras-style curry powder:
Just gently heat it for a few minutes. It should be nicely fragrant. Allow this to cool to room temperature.

4 egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of mustard:
Blend it and it will become lighter and somewhat frothy.

With the blender on, slowly drizzle in 1.5 cups of oil. Then drizzle in the curry infused oil (with the curry powder.) It should emulsify into a thick and creamy mayonnaise!
Season with salt.

Ideally, this is what would happen but let me alert you to some of the pitfalls that may come your way. First, like me, you might be an impatient ass and don't let the curry oil fully cool. Second, your blender sucks so, after the initial 1.5 cups of oil, it stops blending. The blade keeps whirring but the mayonnaise doesn't move! Both of these problems generate heat in the mayonnaise which, because you're using raw egg yolks, probably leads to some sort of food sanitation issue. I think the easiest way to alleviate the gimp blender problem is to make a half batch.

How's the final product? It is, for my taste, slightly too stiff. I like a more dip-able, loose mayonnaise so I guess I have a few options--fewer egg yolks, less oil or maybe the addition of water? I'm a mayo noob so I don't quite know which to choose.

So what do you do with two cups of curry mayo? Chicken salad, I think. This is super easy.

I purchased three chicken hind-quarters (the thigh/drumstick combo) at the local Asian supermarket. Poach the legs in salted water. This took me 45 minutes at a slow, languid simmer. Allow the legs to cool to room temp. Pick the meat off of the bones with your fingers and roughly chop the meat.

While the chicken is cooling, chop up the garnishes. I used celery, green onion and cilantro:
There are many things you can add to chicken salad. Since this is a curry chicken salad, cashew nuts might be nice for some texture. Some people like fruit in their chicken salad. I personally think it's disgusting. However, if you insist, diced apples would be appropriate.

Just mix things to your liking. Some mayo, some celery, green onions, cilantro...just mix it up to your taste. Also add some lemon juice, Tabasco sauce or cayenne. Kinda looks gross. Not the most attractive thing.

George found the chicken salad heavily underseasoned. Bastard. This is the thanks I get for working hard and putting food on the table. Not to mention the endless dishes I washed.

Time- Mayo- 20 minutes. Chicken salad- An hour but 45 is chicken simmering time.

Food cost- Cheap. 2.5 bucks in chicken, 50 cents in celery, 45 cents in green onions, 10 cents in cilantro. Probably about 80 cents per serving.

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1 comment:

George said...

If I'm not mistaken, too thick mayonaise means you added too much oil.

Next time do it by hand, you won't have to deal with a messy blender and also you won't run into the problems you did.

You could also maybe use the food processor, the wide blade to height ratio might be more suited to thick products like mayonnaise.