Earlier this month we embarked on a road trip and dropped in to visit our friends Gill and Pat on their farm in rural NSW. As always we experienced country hospitality at it’s very best. Lunch was served outside, under the eaves of the verandah. Platters of a very refreshing Indian inspired tandoori chicken, fresh mango and crispy pappadum salad with a mint and coriander dressing, provided a welcome distraction from the summer heat. So delicious I had to recreate the recipe at home.
The original recipe has been passed on to me verbally by Pat and Gill via their sister in law Carmel. Fittingly relayed via bush telegraph from the banks of the Lachlan River in Dubbo to the wide, open paddocks of Young and on to the mean streets of inner city Paddington. As only someone from the Big Smoke would do, I’ve played around with the concept a little, making my rendition fast day friendly. Replacing the original sour cream and mayonnaise dressing with yoghurt, and upping the salad to chicken ratio.
Eating this salad I am reminded of another Country Women’s Association staple recipe, The Classic 1953 Coronation Chicken Salad, originally created by Constance Spry for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation lunch. A popular fixture on Australian buffet tables well into the 1980’s. A throwback to our colonial heritage. This Indian inspired tandoori and mango version is far more modern and in touch with our multicultural roots. A Coronation Chicken redux perhaps?
So here is the recipe in it’s latest guise, masquerading as a true fast day feast. Playing around with the recipe I made an important discovery. Pappadums are gluten free, most commonly consisting of chickpea flour. They’re also incredibly low in calories when microwaved rather than fried in oil or ghee. All in all, the end result is a very delicious and generously proportioned summer salad. The spiciness of the chicken is offset by the sweetness of the mango and refreshing tang of the yoghurt and herb dressing. The finishing touch? The satisfying crunch of those crisp pappadums. 330 calories never tasted so good.
An Indian Inspired Tandoori Chicken and Fresh Mango Salad With Pappadums
Serves 4 (330 calories per serve)
For the Tandoori Chicken
4 x 150 g skinless, boneless chicken breasts (660 calories)
2 tablespoons (50g) tandoori paste (I used Pataks) (46 calories)
5 tablespoons plain yoghurt (56 calories)
juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon (12 calories)
2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (3 calories)
IN a bowl mix together the tandoori paste, yoghurt, ginger, lemon juice and zest.
MAKE several deep cuts into the chicken breast and spread the paste mixture evenly over the chicken.
COVER with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum 30 minutes to marinate. If you have time, leave the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
PREHEAT oven to 220 C. Line an oven tray with non stick paper or foil and position a baking rack on top.
REMOVE chicken from the marinade and place evenly spaced on the oven rack.
BAKE in hot oven for 20-30 minutes, until tender and juices run clear, turning once. ALLOW to rest for 10 minutes before shredding for the salad.
For the Dressing
1/2 cup plain yoghurt (66 calories)
2 handfuls of fresh coriander and mint (4 calories)
2 roughly chopped long green spring onions (10 calories)
1 clove garlic (4 calories)
finely grated zest and juice of 1 fresh lemon (12 calories)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
COMBINE all ingredients in the bowl of a small food processor or blender.
PROCESS until herbs are finely chopped and all ingredients are combined into a smooth sauce. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
For the Salad
1/2 packet (50g) mini pappadums (I used Maharajah’s Choice) (141 calories)
1 green oak leaf lettuce, leaves washed and torn into bite sized pieces (30 calories)
1 firm mango, peeled and sliced into slivers (135 calories)
1/2 small red (spanish) onion, finely sliced into half moons (24 calories)
2 long green spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal (10 calories)
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled into ribbons or sliced into thin batons (45 calories)
1/2 packet (125g) snow peas, shredded (53 calories)
1/2 packet (50g) snow pea shoots (15 calories)
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, shredded (1 calorie)
1 tablespoon fresh mint, shredded (1 calorie)
MICROWAVE the pappadums on high setting for approximately 60 seconds by placing on outside edge of the turntable.
COVER the base of a large serving platter with torn lettuce leaves.
SCATTER over red onion, long green spring onions, cucumber, snow peas and shoots.
ARRANGE shredded chicken and slivered mango on top
DRIZZLE over 3/4 of the dressing and garnish with shredded coriander and mint.
SERVE with pappadums and the remaining dressing on the side.