Coronation Chicken Salad

Ed Thomson

Coronation Chicken or Celebration Chicken (as it was known in my family) was a favourite dinner of my mum’s in the 1980’s as she could prepare it ahead of time, even the day before using a rotisserie chicken. My recipe is an updated Sri Lankan version of the 1953 recipe designed for Queen Elizabeth’s coronation by Constance Spry from Cordon Bleu Cooking School.

Instead of using mayonnaise or crème fraiche, I swap these out for buffalo curd or yoghurt which gives the dish a much lighter and zingy flavour. As you know I am a massive fan of Sri Lankan curd, refer to our buffalo curd post, noting that yoghurt works just as well.

If you want to go old school with the recipe, please go ahead and add tinned fruit although I would suggest that some thinly sliced chilled mango would go quite nicely.

T&T TIP: I have been loving the whole chickens from Anthoney’s, a Green Certified Company: Their birds come frozen with skin ON (yay) and are packaged in a compostable bag (double yay!). I purchase them from Spar or Keells, they also deliver direct. If you are looking for a traditional roast chook with crispy skin, these roast up beautifully. Generously season it, a chef I used to work with said that you can never over salt a chook. Carefully run your fingers between the skin and breast all the way down and smoosh in lots of butter. Under the skin, you can also add garlic, herbs and then into the cavity pop in a few cut limes.

If you want the easy option like my mum, go the bought, pre-roasted chook option.

Coronation Chicken


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 225g mango chutney
  • 1 cup of buffalo curd
  • 3-4 Sri Lankan Limes (small) zested & juiced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 whole chicken, roasted with meat pulled from the bones, chopped into chunks & cooled

To Serve:

  • Fresh lettuce leaves, washed
  • Cucumber, chopped
  • Herbs: coriander & mint
  • Lime wedges/cheeks
  • For crunch: toasted coconut flakes – alternatively almonds, pepitas, toasted rice flakes


In a frying pan gently cook the oil and onion until soft and translucent.  Add the curry powder and cook for a minute until fragrant.  Add the mango chutney and cook for another few minutes until everything is combined and you have a jammy spicy sauce.

Cool for a few minutes, then mix in the curd or yoghurt. Add the lime zest and juice and taste for seasoning.

Add the chicken, mix well and chill for at least one hour in the fridge and up to overnight.

If, like me, you have little people who would probably like this dinner without the sauce, I tend to serve the sauce and chicken separately.  

To Serve

As in the photograph, I like to put all the components into little dishes for everyone to build their own salad.   It looks like a celebration and is lots of fun. Alternatively, you can pre-make one large platter or individual plates

Photography: Ed Thomson
Stylist: Ed Thomson
Props: by stylist

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