There is something irresistible about Coronation chicken – that combo of the cumin and other curry spices makes me crave it in the same way that I do a curry.
Back in the Seventies this was a must-have buffet dish, but unfortunately it was often made by simply whisking some curry powder into a pot of mayonnaise, and the results could be pretty disgusting. In post-war Britain fresh curry spices were difficult – if not impossible – to come by. But there are few things worse than raw curry powder and these days, with the panoply of ingredients available to us, there is no excuse for not making an effort and doing the job properly.
4 slices of bloomer-style bread
Shredded crisp lettuce (optional)
2 chicken thighs
2 free-range chicken eggs, boiled and peeled
300ml chicken stock
1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp ground cumin
Thumb-sized piece of root ginger, peeled, grated
1/2tsp ground turmeric
1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
Seeds from 6 cardamom pods
1/2tsp fenugreek seeds
1tbsp vegetable or corn oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4tbsp good quality mayonnaise
2-3tbsp Greek yoghurt
1tbsp chopped coriander
1tbsp mango chutney, chopped if very chunky
Put the chicken thighs in a pot with the stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Drain off the stock, reserve and leave the chicken to cool.
Meanwhile, gently cook the onion, garlic, cumin, ginger, turmeric, chilli, cardamom and fenugreek seeds in the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes with a lid on without colouring the onions. Add the stock from the chicken and boil until it reduces to a couple of tablespoons. Coarsely blend in a liquidiser; cool. Mix with the mayonnaise, yoghurt, coriander and chutney and season. Cut the chicken into chunks or slices, chop the eggs and bind with the sauce. Butter your bread and assemble your sandwiches, with or without the lettuce, with a generous amount of filling.