What sandwich filling infused with ‘curry’ spices was made specially for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953? Why, coronation chicken, of course! Indeed, the (mustard) seeds for this revelatory dish were planted nearly twenty years earlier, with the presentation of the similar ‘Jubilee chicken’ for George V’s silver jubilee in 1935.

With their meat-spud-veggie past, it was only natural for the British colonialists in India to have made off with a spice or two (or 99), and perfectly fitting now that one of the current British national dishes is chicken tikka masala.

Both Coronation and Jubilee chicken involve poultry (usually leftover!) in a spiced mayo dressing. Piquant, creamy, aromatic, sweet and savory – what’s not to like?

While I have cooked the chicken from scratch for my recipe below, just use leftover chicken if you’re pinched for time. (On a side note, who thought it’d be a great idea to serve leftover chicken slapped in two pieces of bread to a queen?!) This was absolutely delicious with a crisp salad and in a sandwich. It would also work with pasta. And, like many things imbued with spices, it tastes even better the next day!

Tips: As above, to save time, use pre-cooked chicken or simplify the ‘bird’ marinade to salt, pepper and lime, and double the spices in the saute marinade. But never, never skip the sauteéing of the spices. This is mandatory to avoid the gritty taste and lack of aroma of uncooked spices. I used a part-ripe mango here for its piquancy. Feel free to use raisins and a small handful of sliced almonds, often bedfellows of the royal coronation chicken 🙂

For the bird:

  • Chicken, 4 fillets, skinless
  • Ground coriander, 1/2 tbsp
  • Garam masala, 1 tsp
  • Ginger, fresh, 2 tsp heaped
  • Rice vinegar or lime juice, 1/2 tsp to 1 tbsp
  • Mirin, 1 tsp
  • Olive oil, 3/4 tbsp
  1. Broil on Hot setting on your oven broiler for about 10-12 minutes
  2. Check that chicken is done by cutting it at its thickest bit
  3. Leave to cool a little before chopping into little cubes.

For the dressing and marinade:

  • Thick yoghurt, 2 tbsp
  • Sour cream, 2 tbsp
  • *Mayo, 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Fat slice of lime or lemon, use the juice (and zest if you wish)
  • Mango chutney, 2 tbsp
  • Mint, small handful, chop finely
  1. Mix in a bowl, season, and set aside

Sauteéd ingredients for marinade:

  • Chopped, 2 shallots
  • Scallions, 3, slice white bits, keep sliced green bits for garnishing
  • *Mango, part or fully ripe, cut into cubes (optional)
  • Garam masala, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric, 1/2 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper, smallest pinch
  1. Saute the shallots and scallions in some olive oil till wilted
  2. Add the ground spices, then the mango
  3. Season with some salt, cook till softened and fragrant
  4. Fold this into the yoghurt marinade
  5. Add the chicken
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (eg. more lemon juice or pepper)
  7. Serve in a sandwich as is or with a green salad.