When making hors d’oeuvres, chefs will sometimes use good-quality store-bought products for quick flavor. I love to spice things up with exotic combinations like hot Indian curry and sweet mango chutney. Here, they combine in an alluring sweet heat that delivers a delicious adventure in every bite of these curried chicken salad radicchio cups. Almonds add crunch and a nutty flavor. Chicory balances the sweetness in the filling with a bitter bite. Some varieties of radicchio grow in a ball-shaped head that makes round lettuce cups, while the elongated Treviso variety, which looks like red Belgian endive, creates boat-shaped cups. You could use white or red endive, as well. If bitter flavors aren’t your thing, use smaller leaves of Red Leaf or butter lettuce.–Joey Altman
Curried Chicken Salad in Radicchio Cups
- 2/3 cup slivered almonds
- One (3-pound) roasted chicken at room temperature
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise plus more to taste
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup mango chutney such as Major Grey’s, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons Indian curry paste as hot as you like
- Dried cranberries, halved grapes, or chopped apples (optional)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium heads round or Treviso radicchio
- 1 bunch cilantro picked apart into small sprigs
- Small bunches grapes for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Transfer the almonds to a plate to cool. Shred the chicken meat using 2 forks or, if you prefer, cut it into pretty little cubes. Snack on or discard the skin and discard the bones. Place the chicken in a large bowl.
- To make the curry dressing, pulse the mayonnaise, yogurt, chutney, lemon juice, curry paste, and almonds to a chunky texture in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. (Alternatively, you can mix this by hand, cutting up any large pieces of chutney, if needed.) Stir in the cranberries, if using.
- Mix the curry dressing with the chicken, adding mayonnaise or yogurt, if needed, to generously coat the chicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional chutney or lemon juice, if desired. (You can cover the chicken salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.)
- Cut the core from the radicchio and carefully pull apart the leaves. (For the first few leaves, you will need to roll back the edges to peel them off the head without tearing them. If you are using Treviso, cut off the bottom inch of the head, and the leaves should easily fall apart.) The larger leaves are best for plated presentations, while the smaller ones work well as finger food for hors d’oeuvres. Trim the largest leaves, if needed, to make them more manageable. (You can place the radicchio leaves in a resealable container, cover with a damp paper towel, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.)
- To serve, spoon the curried chicken mixture into the radicchio cups and garnish each with a sprig of cilantro. After you have filled the radicchio leaves, stack any remaining ones, roll them up into a tight cigar shape, and cut crosswise into thin ribbons to use as a bed for your platter or entrée-size salad. Arrange the cups on the platter and garnish with additional ribbons of radicchio, cilantro sprigs, and small bunches of grapes, if using
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Everyone that tasted these curried chicken salad radicchio cups absolutely loved them.The flavor was dynamite and I think it makes a wonderful appetizer or lunch entrée. I used cranberries but would use halved red grapes next time. The juice from the grapes would add to the wonderful sauce. Serving this in the radicchio cups makes for a beautiful presentation.
These curried chicken salad radicchio cups make for an excellent recipe. I enjoyed the contrasting flavors of curried sweetness against the bite of radicchio, although radicchio is not one of my favorite vegetables. I prefer a less aggressive lettuce, like endive. Overall, this recipe is delicious and presents very well. The chicken salad also tastes great the next day, after the flavors have had a little time to cohabitate. I had a little left over and made a sandwich on crusty Italian bread, lightly toasted (grilled naan would taste great also). Also, for this test, I divided the batch of chicken salad into thirds and put the dried cranberries in one, halved grapes (seedless red) in the second, and chopped apples (Granny Smith) in the third. Each fruit is a great companion. I especially liked the grapes version.
This recipe for curried chicken salad radicchio cups assembles fairly quickly. (Try getting a couple of small, precooked chickens from your grocery’s deli section to make it even faster.) There is a nice sweet-spicy flavour, with the toasted almonds adding a nice textured background. I had raisins handy, so I chopped and used them, instead of grapes, to garnish along with the cilantro and extra radicchio ribbons. The use of radicchio cups instead of a tortilla round gives the overall preparation a wonderful, colourful effect, and the flavour of the chicken mixture isn’t masked. Overall, a very nice taste of chicken curry that was enjoyed by everyone who tried it!
The flavors in these curried chicken salad radicchio cups are really great together. It also makes a colorful presentation. The dressing was just right: not too much mayonnaise, and the right amount of sweetness from the chutney and fruit (apples, cranberries, grapes). I also think you can never add too much curry paste. I served this at lunch and it went very quickly. Wish I had made more.
There are plenty of times when I have leftover roasted chicken and need ideas for what to do with it. This recipe for curried chicken salad in radicchio cups is the answer! I found the chutney, with its sweet and spicy flavor, quite addictive. The crunchy toasted almonds gave it that extra something to make it even better than I had expected. Once you have the chicken roasted, you’ve got a meal that is quick to throw together and is perfect for a warm-summer or early-autumn evening. I will definitely be making this again.
Originally published April 16, 2007
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
These curried chicken salad cups are pretty easy to make. Great finger food. Yeah, this was a cool little app. I like making little things like that in radicchio cups. Just grab and go. I loved the flavor. I specifically tried it as I only prefer curry a few times a year and am not really a chutney fan, but they melded together so well. Got some great compliments on it too. I’ll definitely make this again. I put in some cranberries — nice complement to the overall dish — as I figured it would go well with the chutney.