Chicken and Mango Salad

Everybody needs a failsafe party salad. The kind that makes people ‘ooh’, even more satisfying when it’s a salad that has that effect. Sometimes, you want to go the whole nine yards and impress people with your culinary artistry but this salad is for the times when you just have hungry mouths to feed in multitude.

I suppose if you were to define it by its season, it’s more of a summery salad but who says salads have to be eaten in the summer and it’s gutsy and has plenty of flavour and these days you can find ripe mangoes in greengrocers and supermarkets even in the dead of winter.

I poach the chicken, although I’ve tried it in many other guises – smoked chicken works incredibly well, because it keeps it tender and, my loathed word, moist. The accompanying sauce need only really be thrown at it or on it or in a bowl next to it. Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than ripping off a piece of chicken and dunking it in a bowl of the sauce and I suppose there’s nothing to say that you couldn’t roast a great big bird and serve it with a peppery salad and this sauce.

That’s the beauty of the kind of food you want to serve at a party; it can be changed, moved about and nobody is going to be po-faced about it. It’s like a good party itself, always changing to suit the mood!

I’m writing this recipe now, as opposed to in the summer, because I made a huge bowl of it the other day for someone else’s party and it made me realise, eating copious amounts out of the bowl with a fork, that it’s damn hard to beat.

Chicken, Mango and Ginger Salad

– Serves 6

  • 6 free range chicken breasts, skinless
  • A large pot of natural yoghurt (the plain, non-fruity type)
  • 2 tbsp of good mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp of chilli jam (I make my own on occasion and it’s amazing but you can buy great stuff, you could also use sweet chilli sauce)
  • 1 bottle of apple juice/a large glass of white wine
  • 80ml of mango pulp (in a can from eastern supermarkets or you could take it from a ripe mango)
  • A small mango, ½ chopped and ½ sliced
  • A thumb sized amount of fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt and Pepper, plenty of
  • Mint – a great handful, chopped fairly finely.
  • To serve – mixed red and white rice
  1. Preheat an oven to 180c. Trim the chicken breasts and place in a high sided oven tray. Pour over the wine/apple juice mixture (omitting the wine if making for children or not to your taste) until the chicken is well covered and cover the dish with tin foil. Poach in the oven for 35 minutes, ensuring the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Whilst the chicken is cooking, take a large bowl and add the yoghurt and the mayo. To this add the chilli jam, the mango pulp, the chopped mango and the fresh ginger and stir through until well mixed.
  3. If this is too thick, you could add some of the poaching liquid but the yoghurt does keep it thin. Stir in the mint and season to taste.
  4. Remove the chicken from the oven and slice evenly.
  5. When the chicken has cooled completely, layer a large plate/bowl with the cooked, cooled rice. Then layer the sliced chicken and pour the sauce over the top. Fan the sliced mango over the top of the sauce and finish with a handful of mint to the top.

Delicious! Can be eaten immediately or kept in the fridge for a day. It suits a handful of watercress and rocket and a fork!

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