15 December 2017

Coronation Chicken

What is Coronation Chicken?

What is Coronation Chicken? Although having a majestic name, this easy and cheap dish was invented so that everyone living in postwar Britain could enjoy something a bit special on Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation day. Rosemary Hume and the florist Constance Spry proposed a lunch of cold chicken in a curry cream sauce with a salad of rice, green peas and mixed herbs for the reception guests. Originally the dish was named poulet reine Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth chicken), but is now known as Coronation Chicken.

The Queen agreed that the Coronation be televised allowing an estimated 27 million people in Britain to observe the ceremony, while another 11 million people listened on the radio. Britain could easily pre-make the Coronation chicken and enjoy it while watching the service which began at 11:15am and concluded at 2:00pm.

This year Heston Blumenthal and Mark Flanagan produced the menu for 12,000 visitors who will eat in the palace garden on the 4th of June as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Coronation Chicken is at the heart of the menu.

For the original recipe, visit www.telegraph.co.uk and search: the real Coronation chicken. My recipe goes for the healthier option, using Greek yogurt to lighten the mayonnaise and adding celery for a bright crunch. Why not try the original recipe or my light variation in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee?

Coronation Chicken


3 skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 tablespoon mango chutney

4 tablespoons Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

A few squirts of lemon juice

Coriander, to garnish

Salt and pepper


Step 1 Toss the chicken breasts with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder and the oil. Heat a large non-stick pan and cook the chicken for 5-6 mins on each side until golden and cooked through, then cut into strips.

Step 2 Place the chicken and celery in a medium bowl.

Step 3 Toast the other teaspoon of curry powder until fragrant in a pan for about 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 4 Combine the curry powder, chutney, yogurt, mayonnaise, and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly.

Step 5 Fold the curry dressing into the chicken until well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For best results, allow the chicken and dressing to sit in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavours to blend. Serve on fresh buttered bread or over a bed of watercress leaves. Makes 3 large sandwiches or 4 small sandwiches.

Lindsey Ile