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Smoked chicken tikka salad with mango, quinoa and black lentils

This recipe is inspired by Diana Henry’s cookbook, A Change of Appetite. I’ve tweaked it a bit to my own taste, adding crunchy green beans and a little more heat and spice to the dressing. There’s a solid, earthy base of creamy cooked lentils with nutty quinoa (toasting it in a dry pan before cooking really helps it keep its texture) and crunchy green beans, freshened up with lashings of juicy mango, vibrant mint and lime juice. The dressing uses Indian flavours with a spritz of lime and a pinch of sugar to make a moreish, aromatic, brick-red sauce for those other bold flavours. Finally, some rich smoked chicken for all those punchy flavours to cut through.

It’s a great medley of textures and flavours: fruit here, meat there, and an aromatic curry-scented dressing to hold it all together, using a rich fragrant curry powder. It’s healthy but filling, and is a gorgeously unusual dinner party dish. You could use normal cooked chicken if you can’t find the smoked kind, or even some smoked mackerel flakes.


  • Soak the lentils in cold water overnight. When ready to cook, wash them thoroughly then cook in simmering water for around 40 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, toast the quinoa in a dry frying pan then cook in boiling water for 13 minutes. Drain and leave to dry out a little. Peel and thinly slice the mango, then put in a large serving bowl with the quinoa and lentils.

  • Cook the green beans in boiling water until just tender, then add to the quinoa. Toss with the mint and smoked chicken. For the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients. Taste and check the seasoning. Drizzle the dressing over the salad, toss together gently, then divide between four plates to serve.

Recipe and photographs courtesy of Elly McCausland, Nutmegs seven

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