Madras Chicken Salad

tumblr_inline_ni91ogLJZV1qdei8mThis a guest post from Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo.

Whipping up some chicken salad? Don’t you dare make a bland-tasting version tossed with plain old mayonnaise. Instead, punch it up with smoky, aromatic curry powder, crisp apples, fresh herbs, and toasted almonds. With just a few pantry items, you can radically transform a ho-hum dish into an elegant and flavorful meal.

Although this South Asian-inspired chicken salad is making its debut on my blog today, it’s been one of my favorites for years. In fact, this recipe first popped up in our iPad app almost three years ago, before making its second appearance in our cookbook. When I’ve had a long day, I just throw this salad together and serve it on a giant bed of organic lettuce mix. Hosting a party? Spoon it into cucumber cups or on endive spears for a fancy hors d’oeuvre. No one’ll guess how little time it took!

If you don’t have any cooked chicken on hand and decide to purchase a rotisserie chicken instead, don’t worry—I won’t tell anyone. Confession: in a pinch, I’ll pick up Whole Foods Market’s Classic Organic, Salt and Pepper, or Perfectly Plain rotisserie chickens (prioritized in that order). These birds are minimally seasoned (if at all); in fact, according to my buds at Whole Foods, they’re roasted at the top of a vertical rotisserie oven so that the non-Paleo seasonings on the birds at the bottom of the oven can’t drip on ’em. (Still, a word of caution for allergy sufferers: because the birds are cooked in the same oven, wheat and soy contamination is nonetheless possible.)

So grab your cooked chicken, your Paleo Mayonnaise, and the rest of the ingredients, and let’s do this!

Servings: 4



  • ½ cup Paleo Mayonnaise (if you don’t feel like making it, grab some Primal Kitchen Mayo)
  • ¾ teaspoon Indian curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small Gala, Fuji, or Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice
  • Juice from ½ medium lime
  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast or thighs
  • ½ cup packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup almond slivers, toasted


First, make the curried mayonnaise. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Yes, folks—whenever possible, it’s important to taste your food so you can adjust the seasoning as needed.


In a separate bowl, toss the apple chunks with the lime juice. This will ensure that your apples won’t oxidize into brown, splotchy cubes—and the acid adds a nice zing to the salad, too.

Shred the chicken by hand, and toss it into the bowl with the acidulated apples. Add the cilantro, scallions, and curried mayonnaise, and mix well.


Top with toasted almond slivers and serve. How easy was that?


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9 thoughts on “Madras Chicken Salad”

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  1. This is a really yummy recipe. I’ve made it several times as written and have also substituted tuna for the chicken once or twice. Definitely worth making!

  2. Thanks, Mark. I will give this one a try. I usually make my own mayo. Not to knock Primal Kitchen mayo, which I’m sure is excellent, but homemade is incredibly fast and easy with an immersion blender and a wide-mouth Mason jar. (Many thanks to whoever it was that recommended this method!) This recipe sounds very versatile. I prefer chicken salad that isn’t sweet and would probably omit the fruit in favor of chopped hard boiled eggs or diced cucumber.

  3. This sounds delicious; will definitely try it. Just wondering, why a particular brand of kosher salt? i usually use Celtic salt or something similar. Thank you!

  4. I make chicken salad as my primary lunch protein to go on a bed of greens for most days, I make a big batch over the weekend and it lasts most of the week. I will most definitely try this recipe today when I’m making it. I do make my own mayonnaise, so much better than what I was getting at the supermarket. Thanks.

  5. Made this last night for my work lunch today. DEEELICIOUS!

    Thank you Mark and Michelle.

  6. Thanks Mark for this wonderful recipe. I should really give a try. Looks mouthwatering and delicious. Can we use shallow fried chicken or fish for this?