Aaah, Coronation Chicken. How I love thee. I say ‘chicken’, but I must confess I have never tried it in its original form. I first made it a few years back during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations (because it’s the ubiquitous street party side-dish, right?) but I made it using chicken-style Quorn pieces. And it was heavenly, adored by meat-eaters and veggies alike. Creamy and fruity and gently spiced with mild curry powder. It sounds weird. I suppose it is, really. Not sure anyone outside of the UK even knows what coronation chicken is. But imagine how exotic it must have seemed to the average Brit back in the 1950s, when it was first popularised! This rather different version was put together last night after a sudden longing for the retro dish; no doubt triggered by the royal knees-up that is the Queen’s 90th birthday weekend.
Most recipes currently swimming around my head these days are vegan, as that is how I am generally eating – and thinking – day to day, and the recipe below reflects that. You could use vegan Quorn chunks (I still don’t like them) or dry-fried tofu if you like, but I am keeping things really simple by using chickpeas (not to mention nutritious – although nothing really offsets that amount of mango chutney, sorry health nuts!). This dish hits the spot for me, and is super easy to make. I was so happy with it, I wanted to blog it asap – so there are no step-by-step instructions. But it really doesn’t get any more complicated than frying an onion and mixing stuff together, so give it a whirl! Cashews are the vegan’s secret weapon when it comes to replacing cream. One part cashew to two parts water produces a silky cream substitute when blitzed until smooth (a mini food processor or grinder is ideal) and it takes just seconds to do. This recipe is based on one tin of chickpeas and half a mango; it makes a good bowlful – probably enough to make sandwiches for six people, if you’re going down that route. Simply double the quantities (and use up the whole mango!) for a larger amount. It will keep well – and even improve – in the fridge for a few days.
Sadly I don’t know of any street parties marking the Queen’s 90th birthday this weekend, but I will be tucking into a Coronation Chickpea wrap for my lunch tomorrow and raising a G&T to Her Majesty’s good health! Have a great weekend everyone.
*There is an updated – and dare I say better? – version below.
50g raw cashews (plus 100ml water)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp medium curry powder
1/4 tsp chilli flakes (leave it out if you want it really mild)
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp lemon juice (from a bottle is fine!)
Half a large mango, chopped into small chunks (about 150g). Use tinned if you’re feeling particularly lazy!
4 tbsp raisins or sultanas
3 level tbsp vegan mayonnaise (my current favourite is Vegenaise Organic)
3 level tbsp mango chutney
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (Pouches of frozen herbs from the supermarket are perfect to have on standby for small quantities like this)
1 x tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
A pinch of salt and pepper
Flaked almonds, to finish (optional)
- First make the cashew cream: Place the cashews into your grinder, blender or mini food processor and blitz until finely ground. Add the water and blitz again until you have a smooth, creamy liquid. Set aside.
- On a low heat, warm up the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently fry the onion until it is soft (about 4 minutes).
- Add the curry powder and chilli flakes and coat the onion. Fry for another minute, then stir in the tomato puree and lemon juice. Cook for another minute.
- Now add the cashew cream you made earlier, plus the mango, raisins, mayonnaise, chutney, coriander, chickpeas and salt and pepper. Mix well and gently cook for a few minutes – the heat thickens the cashew cream.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then keep chilled before using. Sprinkle some flaked almonds just before serving, if you like.
***NO COOK VERSION – 19th JUNE 2017***
Now that vegan creme fraiche is a thing (thank you Oatly, you superheroes), I thought I’d see how it worked with this recipe. I’m ecstatic with the results and will be eating this version all summer! Simply replace the cashew cream (i.e. the cashews and water) and the mayo with Oatly creme fraiche, and use spring onions instead of a regular onion. Mix everything up in a bowl. No need to cook anything, tastes lush, job done.