Expat Cravings: Curry Apple Chicken Salad

Posted on February 26, 2012

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Stephen and I have been going to a new restaurant here in Kadıköy called Semolina frequently.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/semolinatr

So frequently, that we have become good friends with Hülya and Fevzi who are not only the owners, but Hülya is also the chef.  We hit it off with them immediately over our appreciation of their new gem of a restaurant.  Hülya makes beautiful fresh pastas and real caesar salad dressing to order.  The restaurant is peaceful, beautifully decorated, and you can smell the garlic hit the pan.  It’s just the best thing that’s happened in Kadıköy since the falafel joint which, depressingly, is now a liver joint.  Well, after having a few married couple outings, I impulsively invited Hülya and Fevzi over to our house for an all-American dinner.  They accepted.  We walked away.   Then it occurred to me, what the heck will I make?  Why did I have to promise an all-American dinner?  That was stupid.

As you may have noticed from the Expat cravings blogs, it’s hard to make American food here.  I believe my previous posts have been Guacamole—can’t do that, it’s Mexican, Deviled eggs—okay I’ll do that, but it’s just a starter, Spicy Ranch Salad Dressing—not helpful, Chocolate Banana Bread—dessert maybe.  You see the issue—there is no main dish.

Then, thank God, it hit me.  A dish I hadn’t though about for a long time, and maybe the expats in Turkey may like to know:  Curry Apple Chicken Salad on a lovely Croissant!  I started making this a year ago when I discovered that Beyaz Fırın sold Croissants.  http://www.beyazfirin.com/  I don’t know of any other place in town that sells croissants (and I make it my business to know these things).  One croissant will cost you 2.75. They are big, buttery, and flaky.  So I’ve decided that this will have to be the main dish for the dinner.  It’s more appropriate for a light Red Hat Club luncheon, but my hands are tied.

Here is what you need for 6 people or a weeks worth of lunches:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 or 2 green apples
  • Sultanas (or dried cranberries if you’d like)
  • Celery (kereviz) –the celery isn’t very long and it has the leaves still attached, so it doesn’t look like celery back home and it may not even be actual celery, but it works.
  • Walnuts
  • 2 or 3 large white or yellow onions
  • Mayo
  • Curry Powder
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil
  • Salt

Disclaimer:  Like all the dishes I make, this one has no exact measurements.  If you like more mayo, put more mayo. If you like more walnuts or apples, add more.  Use just enough oil to get the onions cooking down.  It’s not a science.

Step 1:  Boil, bake or pan fry the chicken breasts.  I boil mine.  After they are cooked all the way through, you can run them under a cold tap to cool them off or just wait awhile.  When they are cool enough to hold, start stripping off the meat and put the little pieces into a large bowl.

Step 2:  While the chicken is boiling, chop your onions small and then start to cook them in just a little oil.  Keep stirring them to make sure they aren’t burning.  Once the onions are pretty translucent, add about 2 Tbsp of curry powder.  Stir the powder in and let it cook with the onions for about a minute.  Then add the curried onions to the chicken.

(At this point, the electricity went out on the whole block.   This tends to happen from time to time here. It ruined my banana bread once.  Luckily, all the other steps involve no cooking and can be done carefully by candle light.)

Step 3:  Mix the onions and chicken together then add a couple dollops of mayo.

Step 4:  Add some walnuts.  As much as you like.

Step 5:  Cube the apples.  I use one and a half apples.  Then add the apples to the bowl and mix.

Step 6:  You can add the sultanas or dried cranberries now if you don’t mind them rehydrating.  I don’t like it, so I mix them in right before we eat or just sprinkle them on top.

Step 7:  Mix everything together real well, and add salt and more mayo if need be.  Let it cool in the fridge for at least an hour before you serve it.  The longer this sits, the better the flavour.

Afiyet Olsun!

Updates: 

  • I went to Komşu Fırın in Ataşehir and they had croissants as well.  They were smaller though.  If you are asking if they have croissants, you have to pronounce it Kru-va-sant.
  • I found out the name of the green that I’m using that is not quite celery:  Pazı

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