Our Guest Test Kitchen series has been in effect for a while now, and each month, we look forward to having a new friend or family member share one of their favorite recipes with us and you as well. Here’s another one. Selene is at the helm for the month of March. She works with Chrystal, and she’s a girl who knows and loves good food. How perfect to have her around when it’s time for a new recipe. She may not see her post go up for a while as she’s trekking through Southeast Asia at this very moment where she plans to take a few cooking classes. We can’t wait to see what she whips up upon return to the States. When she’s back in town, she’ll catch up and check out your thoughts of her appetizer for today. Check it out!
“When I make these curry balls (and I always double the recipe), I use cream or half & half instead of mayo. I never have mayo in the house, and I’m always baking, so this recipe is a great way to use up that bit of extra cream. I love spice, so I often add more curry powder than necessary, often with a liberal sprinkle of cayenne or chili powder as well. Instead of chutney, I’ve tried Trader Joe’s Thai red curry sauce. You can use any similar sauce, as long as the consistency comes out thick enough for you to form the balls. (It should be like cookie dough.) I always toast the almonds myself, but I do often buy pre-slivered almonds. The important thing about this recipe is to let the flavors soak into each other. But don’t let the balls sit for too many days in the fridge, or else the delicious chunky crispy crunchiness of the nut-&-chicken combo gets soggy! My self-imposed challenge this time was to find a way to use the pretzel chips gifted to me by Chrystal. I puréed them to dust in the Cuisinart and then rolled the balls in the dust. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this, unless you already have some similar crumbs on hand that you’d like to get rid of.
The story behind this easy recipe is equally simple. My Auntie Leslie is a sometime casual caterer in the Bay Area and she has always made these as one of many (and I emphasize many) nibbles at cocktail or Super Bowl-type parties. One New Year’s Eve, she volunteered herself for a slightly bigger project than she could handle: a 200-person golden anniversary party for a friend’s elderly parents. It’s not that Leslie isn’t the most capable cook I know; it’s that she never asks for help. A couple of days before the big event she freaked out, alerting us to the fact that she was on the edge of a breakdown. So, at the last minute, my partner and I offered to help out. We spent the final 24 hours in her kitchen, madly prepping 20 different hors d’oeuvres at once. We did finish with time to spare, but not without lots of hand-wringing, shots of Patrón añejo and sticky bits of Dungeness crab in our hair and on the walls. Leslie made it to the party in one piece, but don’t let her try to convince you that she was able to do it without some behind-the-scenes sleight of hand from her two handy nieces.”
Chicken Curry Balls – 2 dozen (Thanks to San Francisco À la Carte & Auntie Leslie)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1 cup chopped toasted almonds
1 tablespoon chutney (Choose your favorite fruit chutney.)
Salt, to taste
Breadcrumbs or panko, for rolling (optional)
Combine cream cheese and mayo. Add curry powder and taste for spice. Add chicken, almonds, chutney and salt. Refrigerate until firm. Form into small balls, then cover and chill for 24 hours. These balls will keep for three days.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.