Betty’s Celebration Chicken Salad

This salad has been compared to Coronation Chicken, as it’s got that creamy, spicy vibe going; however I think the addition of the fruit raises it to the next level. It is our friend Betty’s signature dish; it’s the one that people ask her to bring to parties time and time again.  Then strangers approach her looking for the recipe (I watched my friend Caroline do this at my house once!).

This salad is a perfect addition to a buffet table. Betty very kindly brought this to a fund-raiser I was having one Christmas, and her  husband Robert added this recipe to my old notebook – well, Betty dictated, and he wrote! I don’t think any of us quite realised how unwell he was at the time. We still miss you Robert..


  • A frying pan
  • A large bowl (for mixing)
  • A large platter or shallow bowl (for serving)

INGREDIENTS: (feeds 15-20 as part of a buffet)

  • 2-3 large chicken breasts, cooked, cooled and cut or pulled into bite sized pieces.
  • A bunch of Spring onions, cut into 2cm pieces.
  • A bunch of fresh coriander, divided into stalks and leaves. Chop the stalks finely, keep the leaves for later.
  • 1 tablespoon of Olive oil
  • 2 large tablespoons of Curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons of runny honey
  • A large jar (about 500ml) of Mayonnaise (again, I’ve made this with the low fat version, without too much mishap)
  • A fresh pineapple, skin and core removed, cut into smallish chunks
  • About 500g black and green seedless grapes, cut into 4 if large, or cut into 2 diagonally (if you just cut them through their equator, they could pose a choking hazard to children or the elderly)
  • 3-4 sticks of celery, cut up fairly small
  • 1-2 heads of little gem lettuce to serve.


  • Ensure that the chicken is completely cold before putting the salad together ( see NOTES)
  • Fry the spring onions and coriander stalks in the oil for a minute or so, then add the Curry paste and the honey, and continue to cook until the onions are soft. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool completely.
  • Add the chicken and mayonnaise to the bowl, and blend thoroughly but gently.
  • Add the grapes, celery and pineapple pieces, and fold in.
  • Chill well before serving.
  • break up the Little Gem lettuces into their individual leaves, and scatter them over your serving plate
  • Arrange some of the salad into each little lettuce ‘cup’, then distribute the rest as you like around the plate.
  • Roughly chop the reserved coriander leaves and sprinkle liberally over the whole plate.
  • Expect strangers to sidle up to you with a smile and a pen and paper.. :)


  • Use a large tablespoon or a set of tongs so that people can help themselves to the little filled lettuce cups.
  • I quite often poach the chicken breasts in a mixture of stock with a drop of white wine added – that way you can cool them in the liquid, which keeps them moist, but also adds flavour.
  • One of those ready-cooked chickens from the supermarket or 1-2 packets of ready-cooked chicken pieces is very useful if you’re pressed for time when making this salad. Just buy the best quality you can.
  • It’s also good for the traditional Boxing/Stephen’s Day buffet! Helps use up that mountain of left-over turkey 😉
  • If you’ve made this ahead of time (well done you!) be sure to give it a thorough stir before garnishing and serving.



I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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