• Kasparov “chicken” salad

    July 9th, 2008mr meanersalads

    Back in 1983 I was fortunate enough to play chess with Garry Kasparov, one of the greatest chess players of all time. Actually, about 60 school-age kids and I played him simultaneously in a large hall as he walked systematically from table to table making move after move. Each of us had a while to plot our next move before Kasparov arrived at our table, yet he still beat every one of us, including me when I was mated after only 11 moves.

    What stands out most about that experience, though, is not the humiliating (but expected) defeat rather his intriguing lunch salad of curry-covered chicken on a bed of spinach that he seemed to very much enjoy, despite the fact it came out of a polystyrene container.

    This food item haunted me for years, as I was almost a vegetarian by then, and as a vegan now I longed to create the same dish that the soon-to-be World Champion (he was crowned in 1985) so nonchalantly downed while taking me, and 59 of my friends, down some 25 years ago.

    Kasparov Salad – Curried Vegan Mayo with spicy “chicken”, tomatoes and mushrooms.

    You’ll want to recreate this salad not to be reminded of the Grand Master (how could you be unless you were there?) but to enjoy a unique take on a usually carnivorous classic.

    First, the ingredients are straightforward:

    Ingredients: Vegan Mayo, Lightlife Chick’n “Smart Strips”, various exotic curry powders. Also, spinach, small tomatoes and mushrooms for the salad.

    The method is also straightforward. First, strain and drain the Smart Strips, cutting into smaller chunks if you like your nibbles that much smaller. Microwave for 2-3 minutes so that the soften and cook through. Also, having them warm helps later for the mixing of the mayo.

    Next, add a few tablespoons of warm water to as much curry powder as you like. The darker the better. I usually blend several powders and also add cayenne pepper for an extra spicy bite.

    Once the mixture is nicely blended, add the warm Smart Strips and mix very well. Leave to soak for a few minutes so that they get the yellow coloring from the turmeric that’ll be in your curry powder.

    Next, add 2-3 tablespoons of vegan mayonnaise and stir like crazy so the strips are covered and the curry powder is fully coating them. Once you’re happy with the texture, put the whole thing in a fridge for 30 minutes to cool down the warm strips and water. This also has the affect of allowing the spices to soak in, giving a unique, juicy, spicy taste.

    Finally, layer spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms in a salad bowl and pour on some of the “chicken” salad ensuring that the juices soak through the spinach. You can even toss it if you like, but I find that tossed spinach sometimes goes awry as it breaks up and turns to mush. Whatever you do, grind some fresh black pepper on the top, and enjoy.

    The end result can be truly spectacular in taste and appearance! I’m sure Kasparov himself would enjoy it, even though he’s retired from chess and entered the murky world of Russian politics.

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3 responses to “Kasparov “chicken” salad” RSS icon

  • Oh, it was extremely hot in my kitchen when I was baking those cookies! I enjoyed this story about Kasparov; what a cook memory. 🙂

  • Oh yum, what a beautiful salad! I wish I had a celebrity story to compare to yours… does it count that I saw Mandy Moore at the airport in NYC? Just kidding 🙂

  • Looks Great ! have you considered adding jícama ?

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