I’ll admit, I’m not usually a fan of chicken salad. I don’t know if it’s the texture of the chicken or the nuts sometimes added or simply because it’s not tuna (spoiler, I’m a HUGE tuna fan), but I have never seemed to like it. This recipe for chicken salad is not that. The yogurt base with the Indian inspired spice palette makes this chicken salad much different than most. I ran across this recipe in a Washington Post article (link here) and decided to try it, but with a few modifications. First, I sous vide the chicken to keep it moist with a crispy outside. And second, I used Greek yogurt for a bit extra tanginess. This is a great recipe to use to meal prep for the week or make ahead of time for a quick dinner later. I like to serve it on a hearty bread with some leafy greens, but this will also work well on a bed of lettuce or on its own.
Cooking Time: 20 minutes (plus 90 minutes for the chicken) Servings: 4
- 1 – 1 1/2 lbs Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts
- Olive Oil (enough to coat the pan)
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
- 3 tbsps Mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp Coriander (optional)
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- 1 Cucumber
- Set-up the sous vide by clipping the sous vide machine onto a large pot filled with water as appropriate for the sous vide machine (i.e. to the min line). Set it to 147 degrees F.
- Place the chicken breast in a gallon size plastic bag. Submerge the bag in the water, clipping the opened top to the side of the pot (the force of the chicken being submerged in the water will force out the air from the bag). Cook for 60 minutes if defrosted or 90 minutes if frozen.
- Once the chicken is done, heat a skillet on medium-high with enough olive oil to coat the pan. Salt and pepper the chicken, and then sear on both sides until crispy, about 5 minutes per a side. Place the cooked chicken in the fridge while preparing the other ingredients.
- Peal the skin off the cucumber, remove the seeds using a spoon (if it has any), and cut into small bite-size pieces.
- Crush garlic cloves by applying weight to the side of a knife to remove the peel. Mince finely with a knife or crush with a garlic press.
- In a medium bowl, add yogurt, mayonnaise, and garlic. Add cumin, ginger, turmeric, and lemon juice, and whisk to combine. Taste and add coriander and cayenne if wanted/needed.
- Grab the chicken from the fridge, and cut into bite-size pieces. Add chopped chicken and cucumber to the bowl with the yogurt mixture.
- Toss with a spoon, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until served.
Steps 1-2: I decided to sous vide the chicken for two reason. First, I hoped that the chicken would retain more of the juices by using this method instead of the oven. And second, I forgot to defrost my chicken beforehand! For anyone who hasn’t used a sous vide machine before, it’s a simple and easy way to slowly cook meats to lock in moisture and generally prevent over/undercooking. If you don’t have a sous vide machine, the chicken can easily be cooked in the oven and then transferred to the fridge to cool.
Step 3: I like to sear the chicken and make sure it gets a nice crunchy outer texture. You could omit this step, but I think it adds some texture and savory flavor to the chicken salad.
Steps 4-5: You can leave the skin on and the seeds in the cucumber if desired. I personally don’t like the skin and seeds, but feel free to leave them if you prefer to. I cut the cucumber into about 1/2 – 1 inch pieces, but you can dice it smaller or larger depending on personal preference (I wouldn’t make the pieces too big otherwise they wouldn’t balance well with the chicken).
Step 6: This is the part of the recipe where you can experiment and make modifications to your taste. Think of it as the yogurt being the base and everything else being slight modifications to the yogurt flavor. So if you mix everything together and think it’s too tangy, add more mayonnaise to mellow it out. Not flavorful enough? Play with the spice levels. Need some acid or something extra? Add lemon. And if you add something and you think it’s too much, you can always add more yogurt to basically erase what you just did. Recipe steps like this are the things that really make cooking fun and a creative outlet.
Steps 7-8: I decided to chop the chicken into bite size pieces instead of shredding it so that the chicken salad would be on the chunky side. But if you want the mixture to be blended better, I would suggest shredding the chicken and cutting the cucumber into smaller pieces.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this is a great recipe to use to meal prep for the week. I was able to get three lunches from one batch! (Would have been four, but I didn’t buy enough bread…) I served the chicken salad on a cored out french loaf with kale. Sandwich tip: always core out the bread! Removing some of the bread from the crust will allow you to place more sandwich fillings inside. Plus, the whole thing will be sturdier and easier to eat.
Have any questions or thoughts on this recipe? Let me know what you think and leave a comment!