Coronation chicken is a combination of precooked cold chicken
meat, herbs and spices, and a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce which can be
eaten as a salad or used to fill sandwiches. It is popular in the United
Left: Coronation chicken.
Florist Constance Spry and chef Rosemary Hume are credited
with the invention of coronation chicken. Preparing the food for the
banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, Spry proposed the
recipe of cold chicken, curry cream sauce and dressing that would later become
known as coronation chicken. Coronation chicken may have been inspired by jubilee chicken,
a dish prepared for the silver jubilee of George V in 1935, which mixed chicken
with mayonnaise and curry.
Normally bright yellow, coronation chicken is usually flavoured with
curry powder or paste, although more sophisticated versions of the recipe are
made using fresh herbs and spices and additional ingredients such as almonds,
raisins, and crème fraîche.
When made with fresh ingredients, coronation chicken
is often pink or brown from perhaps the combination of red wine, bay, and madras
powder. The original dish used
curry powder, as fresh curry spices were almost
unobtainable in post-war Britain.
Left: Curry powder.