I first saw these gorgeous little morsels in the dazzling sunshine of a Caribbean afternoon on the island of Tortola. I had been invited to sail across to another island for dinner, and the owners of the boat, a spirited couple, both in their seventies, had made snacks to sustain us until later. Well, I’m a fool for anything rolled in coconut, and the rather retro combination of chicken, curry, walnuts, and cream cheese totally ruined my dinner. In my excitement — they’re awfully good — I ate about twelve, and what with all the bobbing up and down on the water, I started to feel quite queasy. So just eat these in moderation on dry land, and you’ll be very happy. An icy Alsace wine like Hugel Gewürtztraminer (2001) would be a perfect accessory.—Serena Bass
2 cups homemade or canned chicken stock
One 8-ounce boneless chicken breast, pounded lightly at the thick end
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise or Hellmann’s mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup walnuts, chopped medium-fine
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted on a baking sheet at 350°F (175°C) for 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden
1. Put the stock and chicken breast in a small saucepan over low heat. Cover, bring to a simmer, then cook for 8 minutes. Set aside until completely cooled. This could be done the day before.
2. Remove the chicken from the stock (saving the liquid for a soup) and chop medium-fine. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese with the mayonnaise until smooth. Add the chicken, onion, curry powder, walnuts, and salt; mix together gently. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours — it’s much easier to roll when cold.
3. Dampen your hands and lightly roll the mixture into 3/4-inch balls. Press on a coating of toasted coconut and, if you can, serve this hors d’oeuvre within an hour so the coconut will stay crunchy.
Recipe © 2004 Serena Bass. All rights reserved.