Curry is commonly eaten throughout Asia and the Middle East. The term curry refers to delicacies that are seasoned with black pepper, coriander, curry leaves, ginger, cumin, chili powder, mustard seeds, salt, lemongrass, ginger, five spice powder, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and other pungent spices and herbs. The spices are heated with oil when cooking to release the aromas.
Ready made curries such as the powder and paste found in the supermarkets are for convenience purposes. Dry curry powder is made up of ground spices and herbs and burns easily therefore it is not recommended when frying foods. The powdered form is commonly used when simmering soups, sauces and in salads. Curry paste on the other hand has a higher tolerance for heat and may be used in fried dishes. The intense flavor of curry paste is a result of the fresh herbs, spices, oil and liquid flavoring such as coconut juice.
The first time I tasted curry was my first year in college. A couple of my friends from Japan invited me over to their place for a Japanese feast. I watched, amazed, as they threw all sorts of spices together in the pot and let it simmer until the apartment smelled fragrant. The curry chicken we ate that day was absolutely divine. Curry is a treat I do not get very often since no one in the house shares my enthusiasm for cultural fare.
When I saw this recipe for curried turkey salad I immediately knew what I was going to make for lunch. I used left over roasted chicken and Greek yogurt instead of Mayo in the dressing. I wanted to slip into my jammies and if I owned a pair of bunny slippers I would put those on too. Then with my bowl of Curried Turkey Salad I would casually make my way to my bedroom, climb into bed and watch an hour of Pride and Prejudice (the A&E version). (Well, I would have if I had a TV in my room.)
4 cups cooked and chopped turkey
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup chopped celery, optional
1/3 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts*
Curry Dressing (recipe below)
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well. Serve on your favorite bread as a sandwich or on a bed of greens as a salad. Serves four to six.
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons curry powder**
1 tablespoon honey
generous pinch of salt
fresh ground black pepper
Whisk all ingredients until well combined.
*To toast walnuts, spread a handful of walnuts on a baking sheet. Toast in a preheated 350 degree oven for about five minutes or until they are fragrant. Don’t leave them in too long! Allow to cool slightly before chopping and adding to salad.
**If you prefer less spice in your salad, start with one tablespoon of curry powder then taste dressing and add more if desired.