Tired of the long days of winter and dreaming of beaches kissed by the tropical sun, where palm and coconut fronds dance, swaying in the gentle breezes while the foamy waves caress the beach….?
Put yourself in a tropical mood and shed the winter woes by planning a luncheon and inviting a few friends. Make a tablecloth out of a few yards of a colorful floral print, give each guest a bright colored silk flower to wear over their ear (yes the men too!) - Behind the right ear if available and looking, or behind the left ear if already taken.
Set the mood with either a Hawaiian CD or music from the Caribbean and your set to go!
The following dish is one I love serving for casual summer entertaining, both for ease of preparation and because it is a light and refreshing meal without sacrificing taste. I usually serve it with a light passion fruit dessert, but any dessert that brings the tropics to mind will do, such as coconut ice cream laced with Kahlua!
If fresh mangoes are not available in your area, check Costco. They usually have 3 or 5 pound bags of fresh frozen mango chunks.
Curried Chicken and Mango Salad:
As I have mentioned in earlier articles, through the years I have collected an impressive amount of recipes using mangoes, a most versatile fruit. I like to serve this salad over spinach noodles for a colorful presentation. Yields 4 to 6 servings.
For the Chicken and Mango:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 sweet onion, chopped (Maui, Vidalia, Walla Walla, Texas Sweet)
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 Tablespoons red curry paste
2 Tablespoons mango jam or preserves
2 Tablespoons chicken broth or stock
1 pound cooked chicken, cut into bite size pieces
2/3 cup natural yogurt
4-5 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large mango cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 package spinach noodles
1 Tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
For the Dressing:
3 Tablespoons virgin olive
4 Tablespoons salad oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 Tablespoons chopped, mixed fresh herbs (parsley, chives, basil)
Salt and freshly ground fresh pepper, to taste
For the Garnish:
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
Flat leaf parsley or watercress sprigs (optional)
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic for 3 or 4 minutes until soft and translucent. Take care garlic does not burn. Stir in the red curry paste. Cook for about one more minute, then lower heat and stir in the mango jam, and the stock or broth, mixing well. Add the chicken pieces. Stir until chicken is well coated in
the paste. Spoon mixture into a bowl and set aside to cool.
When the chicken mixture is cool, stir in the yogurt and mayonnaise, then add the diced mango, stirring it carefully so as not to break the mango flesh. Chill for about 30 minutes.
Cook noodles according to package instructions. Immediately after draining, add the olive oil or melted butter to the noodles and mix well, coating all over. Noodles will be glossy and strands will separate.
When ready to serve, divide noodles into serving plates, spoon the cold curried chicken and mango over the noodles. Garnish with flat leaf parsley or watercress sprigs and sprinkle the nuts on top. The dressing can be served in small bowls on the side.
For a pretty presentation I like to serve it with a fresh fruit salad over a bed of greens on the same plate. Mango, starfruit slices, papaya, pineapple chunks and orange slices are some of the choices.