Curry Chicken and Mango Salad with Couscous Recipe

A salad is always a great option for a meal, especially in the summer—plus it’s the perfect answer to a weeknight meal or the main course of a casual dinner party. If your usual repertoire of salads could use a little mixing up, here is an idea to turn everyday chicken salad into a sumptuous and tantalizing meal-in-one dish by adding garnishes such as grapes and mangoes, and dressing the salad in a vibrant curry-ginger yogurt sauce. This recipe by cookbook author Nina Simonds, which appeared in Real Food, is served on a bed of toasted couscous to round out the meal.

Curry Chicken and Mango Salad with Couscous

Makes 6 Servings

3 slices fresh ginger about the size of a quarter, smashed lightly with flat side of a knife
3 tbsp. rice wine or sake
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 114 lb.), fat removed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
12 tsp. dried red chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp. salt
112 c. whole-wheat or plain couscous
4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 12-inch dice
34 lb. red seedless grapes
1 large ripe mango (about 114 lb.), peeled, pitted, and cut into 14-inch dice
12 c. minced scallion greens
1 head romaine lettuce, with outer leaves removed
112 tbsp. chopped fresh mint or cilantro

2 tsp. high-quality curry powder, such as Madras
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger (about 2 tbsp.), peeled and cut into 12-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 c. plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
14 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 12 lemon)

For the salad: Bring 1 quart water, ginger, and rice wine to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add chicken, partially cover, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered 12 minutes, until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and let cool, reserving broth for couscous and dressing.

To prepare couscous, heat oil in a medium saucepan about 20 seconds, until very hot. Add cumin and chili flakes, and sauteÌ over medium-high heat about 15 seconds, until fragrant. Add 112 cups reserved chicken broth and salt, cover, and heat until boiling. Add couscous, stir, and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes, then stir with a fork to separate grains. Cover and set aside.

While couscous is cooking, prepare dressing: Toast curry powder in a dry frying pan 3 to 4 minutes, stirring over medium-high heat, until fragrant. Drop ginger and garlic down feed tube of a food processor fitted with a steel blade with motor running. Pulse until finely chopped. Add curry powder, yogurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and 12 cup reserved chicken broth. Process until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Slice chicken or cut into 12-inch dice and place in a bowl. Add celery, grapes, mango, and scallions, adding enough dressing to coat. Mix lightly to coat evenly. Or, serve on side.

Trim stem end from lettuce leaves and julienne. Spoon couscous into a large, shallow serving bowl, shaping a small hole in center for chicken. Sprinkle lettuce around edge. Spoon curry chicken salad in center over lettuce and sprinkle chopped herb on top. Serve at room temperature or chilled with remaining dressing on the side.

Note: If you prefer to pan-sear chicken add ginger at that time and rice wine or sake toward end of cooking. Use store-bought chicken broth or water to prepare couscous per package instructions.

Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 469 (69 From Fat); Fat 8g (Sat. 2g); Chol 65mg; Sodium 908mg; Carb 62g; Fiber 9g; Protein 38g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.