Chicken curry salad served in a papaya half is a throwback dish that deserves contemporary consideration.
Pretty, compact and refreshing, it’s got protein, some veggies and a healthy dose of fruit all in one dish — and no starch, for those avoiding such things.
Mary Waialeale wrote to ask for the version served by Diamond Head Market & Grill. “It’s soooo ono.”
Kelvin Ro, owner of the takeout spot in Kapahulu, was happy to share the recipe, although he rolled his eyes a little and said it was nothing special.
It is easy to find recipes for the chicken salad, typically made with curry powder and mayonnaise.
In truth, though, the Diamond Head version is especially tasty, with tweaks that elevate the formula.
First is the use of a yellow curry paste instead of a powder. This paste — a blend of lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime and spices including cumin, turmeric and chilies — provides a depth of flavor that a generic curry powder does not. It’s not as easy to find as red or green curry paste, but is available in Asian groceries (Mae Ploy is a common brand).
The Diamond Head recipe also specifies dark meat chicken from a roasted bird, and Ro says using Fuji apples really makes a difference.
Make the recipe your own by adding onions, nuts, chutney or bit of diced papaya or mango. You could sub sour cream for some of the mayo.
And if you don’t like papaya, serve the chicken in a sandwich or over green salad.
DIAMOND HEAD GRILL CURRY CHICKEN APPLE SALAD
By Chef Kelvin Ro
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup diced cooked chicken, preferably dark meat from roasted chicken
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 1/4 diced Fuji apple
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 ripe papaya
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 2 lemon wedges
Soften curry paste in microwave. Stir in sugar; let cool slightly. Mix with mayonnaise until smooth. Add chicken, celery and apple; taste and season with salt and pepper.
Cut papaya in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove seeds. Mold chicken mixture in center of each papaya half; garnish with cranberries. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 2.
>> TIP: To keep papaya steady on a plate, cut a thin slice off the underside of each half to create a flat surface.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (not including salt to taste): 500 calories, 27 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 115 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 32 g sugar, 21 g protein.
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