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FOOD FRIDAY: Chicken Curry Rice Salad

This cool rice dish from The Hawai‘i Book of Rice is a great way to beat the heat when you don't want to turn on the oven on these hot summer days. (Use a rice cooker and buy a roasted chicken from the market for a completely no-heat version.)

Chicken Curry Rice Salad

by Kaui Philpotts

Chicken Curry Rice Salad - The Hawaii Book of Rice Photo by Adriana Torres Chong for The Hawai‘i Book of Rice

I grew up with mango chutney as a staple in our refrigerator. We kept it around for the delicious chicken and shrimp curries we made on many Sunday evenings. Island-style curry, creamy and mild, bears little resemblance to the Southeast Asian or Indian varieties. A version of this cold rice salad has been around for decades in Hawai‘i. It works well for buffets or lunch on a warm summer day.

6 chicken breast halves, skin on and bone-in
olive oil
salt and pepper
1½ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. mango chutney
3 Tbsp. curry powder
1 c. cooked rice, brown or white
2 stalks celery, chopped
¼ c. chopped green onions
½ c. seedless green grapes, cut in half
1 c. chopped macadamia nuts
6 leaves butter lettuce

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until done. Cool. Remove skin and bones. Chop chicken into large chunks. Combine the mayonnaise, mango chutney and curry powder in a food processor or blender. Add a little fruit juice or water if the dressing is too thick. In a bowl, combine the chunks of chicken with the dressing to moisten. Add the cooked rice, celery, green onions, grapes and more dressing to taste. Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors. Before serving, mix in more dressing if the salad has become dry and add the chopped nuts.

Serve at room temperature on top of a leaf of butter lettuce. Serves 6.

Note: This salad can be made with leftover roast chicken, cut into cubes. It’s also a great vegetarian dish—just leave out the chicken. Substitute ¼ cup raisins if you don’t have grapes; cooked shrimp for chicken; and use any nut you choose. This is a flexible salad—you can also add chopped, marinated artichoke hearts and green olives.