This salad is a full representation of my third culture kid upbringing.
So before I delve into what I mean by that, I want to quickly explain what a third culture kid is- according to Merriam-Webster, the “third culture” to which the term refers is the mixed identity that a child assumes, influenced both by their parents’ culture and the culture in which they are raised. I was born in America to South Asian parents, hence the third culture.
Growing up, and even now as an adult, we would repurpose our leftovers from Pakistani takeout (because no Desi mama ever lets food do to waste) into sandwiches. My mom would shred up leftover Chicken Tikka/Tandoori (spiced barbecued chicken) and stuff it into mayonnaise-laden white sandwich bread, and top it off with a drizzle of ketchup and crunchy lettuce. It was a representation of our mashed up sense of culture- not fully from here or there, but our own special fusion.
This salad is a simple riff off of that very sentiment. Delicious and zesty chicken breast is tossed in a bed of greens and crunchy vegetables, and drizzled with a insanely flavorful chutney ranch dressing (pro-tip: you can mix ranch dressing with premade cilantro and mint chutney as a shortcut!). Each bite tastes better than the last, and is sure to make a repeated appearance on your meal rotation!
Chicken Tikka Salad with Chutney Ranch Dressing
- 2 pounds boneless chicken breast
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil
- 2 tablespoons full-fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons tikka or tandoori masala, any brand
Chutney Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- ½ cup cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ green chili (jalapeno or serrano; or 1 thai green chili)
- Salt, to taste
- 2 hearts of Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
- 1 bell pepper, any color, sliced thin
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup red onions, sliced thin
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
Prepare Chicken Tikka
Combine all ingredients and allow it to marinate for at least 20 minutes (overnight is best).
Heat a pan over medium heat. Add chicken and marinade and cook until cooked through. Cool completely, then dice into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Combine all ingredients into the jar of a blender and blitz until smooth. Check consistency and thin out with up to ¼-cup water if desired. Set aside.
Combine prepared chicken and all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Serve with prepared Chutney Ranch Dressing as desired.
Dressing can be prepared upto 3 days beforehand.
Leftover dressing must be kept refrigerated.