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Curried Chicken Salad Papaya Boats

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SKILL LEVEL :
Easy and quick

Chilled papaya halves are filled with a curried chicken salad filled with dried cherries and diced apples. Topped with chopped macadamia nuts, this salad is the perfect hot weather meal.

Remembering Sunny Hawaiian Days

This recipe is inspired by a favorite dish that was served at the Outrigger Canoe Club when I was a kid growing up in Honolulu. Curry and papaya go together beautifully. This curried and fruit-enhanced chicken salad is served chilled in a half papaya. It makes for a perfect luncheon dish on a hot day or a light supper on a warm evening. 

 

Here is a picture of my family circa 1960's on the seawall of the Outrigger Canoe Club

Here is a picture of my family circa 1960's on the seawall of the Outrigger Canoe Club

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My Version

I don't know what all went in to the original Outrigger Canoe Club dish other than chicken, curry, mayo and papaya. I have come up with my own rendition which includes chunks of tart apple, dried cherries, celery, green onions and lime. I use Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise, which I love. You have to try it to understand why it is so much better than traditional American mayo. Learn more about this near-cult ingredient on this post.

A Word About Curry Powder

Every curry powder is a little bit different. Most curry powders include turmeric, cumin, coriander,  chili peppers and fenugreek. Other ingredients often found in curries include ginger, garlic, black pepper, mustard, cinnamon and more. The take away is all curry powder is not the same. So experiment with different powders until you find one you like. Likewise, curry powders come in different strengths, so I recommend starting with a tablespoon, mixing, tasting and adding more until you get the flavor and potency you prefer.

The Trick to Making Papaya Boats

Chilled papaya halves are filled with a curried chicken salad filled with dried cherries and diced apples. Topped with chopped macadamia nuts, this salad is the perfect hot weather meal.

Slice the papaya in half lengthwise and use a spoon to gently scoop out the seeds. Flip the halves over so the cut side is down and slice off a thin piece at the highest point. By removing this piece you create a flat bottom so your papaya boat won't roll around on your plate. Also, did you know papaya seeds are edible? They have a peppery flavor and can be used in salad dressings either whole or ground up.

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Roast Chicken

This dish can be made very quickly if you use a store-bought roast chicken. Alternatively, roast two chickens for dinner, eat one the first night and save the second one for this curried chicken salad the next day. Roasting two chickens is always a great "Cook once, eat twice" strategy. See my post to learn how I make roasted beer can chicken without the beer can. 

Curried Chicken Salad Papaya Boats

Prep

Total

Yield 6 servings

Chilled papaya halves are filled with a curried chicken salad filled with dried cherries and diced apples. Topped with chopped macadamia nuts, this salad is the perfect hot weather meal.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup mayonnaise (I use Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise)
  • 1 - 2 T curry powder, to taste
  • Zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 1 T honey
  • ¼ t fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ t kosher salt
  • 4 cups chopped roast chicken
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced (green and white parts)
  • 1 tart apple, finely diced (use green or tart red such as Envy apple)
  • ½ cup dried cherries or yellow raisins)
  • 3 papayas, halved and seeded
  • ¼ cup chopped macadamia nuts

Instructions

  1. Make the curry dressing by whisking together mayonnaise, curry, lime zest and juice, pepper and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. Combine chicken, celery, green onions, apples and dried cherries in a bowl. Toss with dressing. Fill each papaya with a big scoop of the curried chicken. Top with chopped macadamia nuts.

Notes

Curried chicken can be made a day in advance and refrigerated until served.

Courses Lunch, Dinner

Cuisine New American, Hawaiian

 

Curried Chicken Salad Papaya Boats

Prep

Total

Yield 6 servings

Chilled papaya halves are filled with a curried chicken salad filled with dried cherries and diced apples. Topped with chopped macadamia nuts, this salad is the perfect hot weather meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise)
  • 1 - 2 T curry powder, to taste
  • Zest and juice from 1 lime
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 4 cups chopped roast chicken
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced (green and white parts)
  • 1 tart apple, finely diced (use green or tart red such as Envy apple)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or yellow raisins)
  • 3 papayas, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Instructions

  1. Make the curry dressing by whisking together mayonnaise, curry, lime zest and juice, pepper and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. Combine chicken, celery, green onions, apples and dried cherries in a bowl. Toss with dressing. Fill each papaya with a big scoop of the curried chicken. Top with chopped macadamia nuts.

Notes

Curried chicken can be made a day in advance and refrigerated until served.

Cuisine New American, Hawaiian

 

 

6 COMMENTS

Comments

  1. Debbie Logan says:

    I made this meal for my family last night. My boys raved about how much they loved it! This was a perfect meal for the hot weather we have been having! And I love the photo of you growing up in Hawaii!!!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Thank you Debbie. I’m so glad the Logan clan enjoyed it!

  2. Shirley Keever says:

    This is a fantastic salad. So delicious and really easy. Love it. Thank you Kim We loved seeing the picture of you all in Hawaii.
    Love you recipes!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Thank you Shirley, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and the pictures. Hawaii is a special place and I am lucky to have grown up there!

  3. Cyndi Ringelman says:

    Hi Kim! My mom said I had to try this and last night was the night. I could not find the Kewpie mayo anywhere near me so I decided to use ‘regular’ mayo. When I was in the middle of making the curry dressing, I discovered that we were out of mayo. How could that be?! We always have mayonnaise! Hmm. What to do? I didn’t want to go back out to the store and delay dinner so I used plain Greek yogurt instead of the mayonnaise. Guess what? It was great! Of course I don’t have a comparison taste test, but it was so good with the yogurt that I will make it this way again!

    1. Kim Pawell says:

      Hi Cyndi, so good to hear from you. I like the yogurt swap and I think a lot of readers will prefer using yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Thanks for writing in. We all benefit from your inspired substitution!

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