Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Celebrity Chefs Challenge: Aarti's Lady Marmalade Chicken Salad

I've followed Aarti Sequeira's rise to Food Network stardom because hers was the first season of Next Food Network Star I watched.  I enjoy watching her show, Aarti Party, but have never gotten around to making any of her recipes.  When I saw the article in Food Network magazine "He Made, She Made," I decided to go for it and host another challenge, The Celebrity Chefs Challenge (and I'd love to have YOU participate too!).

I made Aarti's Chicken Salad for dinner on Sunday because weekend meals aren't the fancy occasions around here that many others have.  We're usually running around, and so smaller easier meals are more likely to happen on the weekend than a weeknight!  Since we were running around, I had a few mis-steps and made a few errors.

The first problem was that I didn't realize I was out of Greek yogurt!  I improvised by straining some regular yogurt, but that only yielded about 1/2 a cup.  I used sour cream for the rest.  I also used too big a pan (See, I really do belong on Worst cooks in America.  They always say, use the right equipment for the right job), and so the mustard seeds may or may not have cooked properly.  But then I forgot to add the curry to that pan, and added it uncooked.  This may or may not have contributed to the overly curryliciousness of the chicken salad.

My husband said the chicken salad tasted strange, but that he likes mayonnaise in his chicken salad, so it's probably the yogurt.   As if he would've noticed had I not mentioned the yogurt.  And yes, he seriously is this much a pain in the butt when it comes to food.  The Boy ate his, but only because he wanted at those grapes!

So, Aarti's take on chicken salad was good, but a whole lot of work.  I'm not sure it's worth so much work for an ok dish, though it's entirely possible the dish is better without so much user error!

Lady Marmalade Chicken Salad, courtesy Aarti Sequeira


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 green apple, diced
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt, mixed well
  • 1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds or cumin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons roasted salted cashews, chopped
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put the chicken breasts on the foil and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub until coated. Pop the chicken in the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 150 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes.

Switch the oven to the broiler setting. Brush 1 tablespoon marmalade on each chicken breast. Broil, brushing occasionally with the pan drippings, until the chicken is cooked through and golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, build the salad: Toss the shallot, apple, grapes, lime juice, yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon marmalade in a large bowl.

Heat the canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and garlic; cook until the seeds stop popping (cover if they're popping out of the pan). Quickly add the curry powder; cook, stirring, 30 seconds, then pour the spiced oil over the yogurt mixture. Stir until combined.

Once the chicken breasts are cool, thinly slice them. Fold into the salad and adjust the salt and pepper. Top with the cashews and cilantro.

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