We were at the university’s cafeteria. It was the first day of school and I was looking at the sandwiches, wondering which one to order for lunch. Right away I noticed a sandwich with a chicken-mayonessy-type filling. It looked good. A sign next to it read, ‘Coronation Chicken’.
I turned to my (English) friend Tom.
“Yo. Tom. What’s Coronation Chicken?”
He looked at me shocked, as if I’d just asked him what ‘bread’ was.
“What, you don’t know what Coronation Chicken is!?”
“Nope,” I shrugged. “I have no idea. What is it?”
“Ohhh! You must try it! Hold on. Let me buy it for you… hello? hi. Could we get two Coronation Chicken Sandwiches please? Thanks. Here you go Anna, try it.”
I took a bite of the sandwich and nommed viciously.
“What do you think?” Tom asked me.
“MAN!” I said, as soon as I finished chewing.”That’s REALLY good! What’s the sauce!?”
“It’s a mayo-based sauce with a bit of cream and spices and sultanas and apric…”
“WHAT! Did you say sultanas?! Sultanas… also known as… raisins?”
“Argh. I hate raisins!”
“But you like the sandwich, right?”
“Actually, yeah! I love it!”
And that, my dears, is when it all began – my love affair with Coronation Chicken. All thanks to Tom who urged me to try it before telling me that it contained raisins (he probably knew I wouldn’t have eaten it if I’d known – food prejudice can be star-crossing like that).
For a week or so after the first time I tried it, I must have eaten it every day for lunch – in sandwiches, on toast, inside potatoes. But I soon realized that it wasn’t the healthiest thing on earth, far from it because it’s normally quite high in sugars and not-great-for-you fats. Sometimes it even contains artificial coloring! So what did I do? I started making my own!
By the way, if you’re curious as to its origin, let me share with you a bit of history on Coronation Chicken. The Coronation Chicken dish, as we today know it, is said to date back to 1953 when Queen Elizabeth the II was crowned (thus the name). It was rumoured to have been created by Constance Spry – an English food writer who, in all likelihood, was inspired also by what was called ‘jubilee chicken’ – a chicken + mayonnaise dish served for the Silver Jubilee of George V in 1935 (i.e. the 25th anniversary of his reign).
1 large chicken breast
1 tablespoon low-fat (or regular) mayo
1/2 tablespoon (medium or mild) curry paste
1/2 pot (170g) 2% Greek Yogurt
1/8 cup sultanas
1/8 chopped apricots
1 tablespoon chopped mango (or peach!)
1 tablespoon chopped Cashews
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion granules
Chives – to season (optional)
1. First, cook your chicken. I like boiling it. I know it sounds nasty (and doesn’t look too grand either) but boiling chicken is great! Because you can then take a fork to it and pull it apart into strips that you can then mix with all sorts of sauces. People do this a lot in Mexico actually, when they make things like Chicken Mole or pretty much any dish containing chicken strips! Like fajitas. They just boil a bunch of the chicken – in either plain water or vegetable stock – and take the chicken apart with a fork (or by hand) and mix it in with the sauce. I’ve been doing it for ages.
2. To make the Coronation sauce, all you then do is mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl. Taste it though, guys, to ensure it ticks the right boxes. If, for example, you like your coronation sauce sweeter, you can add some stevia drops, honey, or sucralose (aka splenda?) to the sauce.
3. If you like your sauce creamier, you can add more yogurt or even a tbsp or two of ricotta or mascarpone. If you like it fruitier, add more sultanas or apricots. Some people also add chopped peaches of even grapes! It’s really up to you, just reach in there with your sauce and play around with it until you get to that place when you nom nom nom
4. Once your sauce is done, mix the chicken in there and stuff the whole thing into a sliced cooked sweet potato!
5. Now, for the sweet potatoes, what I do is stick a bunch of them in a hot oven (set to 200 C – 356 F) until they get super hot. I don’t poke them with a knife before roasting or do anything in particular. I USED to wrap them in tin foil before baking them but all too quickly realized that they don’t need it so I cut the middle man – the tin foil – and now just throw them in whole and bake them till they’re ready.
I like topping the whole thing with dried chives but again, this is up to you. You could sprikle them with paprika, with dried parsley, basil, or… well, whatever you fancy
Macros per Serving: N/A
Interesting, my Mexican grandmother has for YEARS been making what she calls ‘Pollo a la King’ which means… ‘King-Style Chicken’. Anyways, it’s a chicken dish with a mayonnaise sauce but a bunch of red peppers added in. It’s delicious. I’ll have to upload it on here too at some point. I’m mentioning it now though because all these royal-type chicken dishes appear to contain mayonnaise. What is it about kings, queens, and… mayonnaise?
PS: Don’t forget to get this month’s issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine if you’re anywhere in Europe in Australia because it contains my recipe for Protein Jaffa Cakes (look at how awesome they turned out) and they’re amazing!!!!! I’ll upload it on my Features Page next month too, so those of you in the rest of the world can access it too.