My favorite part of this simple mango chicken salad is the tropical flair that comes from the sweet-and-sour Tamarind dressing. Made with tamarind paste, lime and honey this dressing bursts with flavor.
How to Cut a Mango into Cubes:
A mango has one long, flat seed in the center of the fruit. Once you learn how to work around the seed, the rest is easy.
Stand the mango on a cutting board stem end down and hold. Place your knife about ¼” from the widest center line and cut down through the mango. Flip the mango around and repeat this cut on the other side. The resulting ovals of mango flesh are known as the “cheeks.” What’s left in the middle is mostly the mango seed.
Cut ½‑inch parallel slices into the mango flesh, being careful not to cut through the skin. Turn the mango cheek ¼ rotation and cut another set of ½‑inch parallel slices to make a grid pattern. Turn the scored mango cheek inside out by pushing the skin up from underneath. Slice mango chunks off close to the skin with a knife.
- 2 tablespoon tamarind paste
- ¼ cup warm water
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning chicken)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (may substitute yogurt or sour cream)
- 2 roasted large chicken breast halves (skin and bones removed and then cut into ½‑inch cubes)
- 1 pinch granulated sugar (or more to taste)
- 1 pinch ground cumin (or more to taste)
- 1 pinch ground coriander (or more to taste)
- 1 pinch paprika (or more to taste)
- 1 pinch tumeric (or more to taste)
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 2 large, ripe but firm mangos (cut into ½‑inch cubes, see notes)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (lightly toasted in a hot skillet)
- ½ cup lossely packed fresh mint leaves
- freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
Prepare the dressing: Combine the tamarind paste, water, lime juice, honey, and oil in a small mixing bowl or mason jar; season with salt and pepper. Whisk or shake to blend. Add the mayonnaise and mix again to help bind the emulsion. Set aside, remixing just before using.
Prepare the salad: Place the chicken cubes in a large bowl, add one generous pinch each sugar, cumin, coriander, paprika, tumeric, salt and cayenne pepper; toss to coat the cubes evenly. Set aside at least 5 minutes to allow the spices to flavor the chicken, then add the mango and coconut.
Dress the salad with some of the prepared tamarind dressing to taste; toss gently. Garnish with whole mint leaves and season with black pepper; serve chilled.