For a more formal presentation, spoon the avocado salsa into 10cm (4in) cooking rings set on serving plates and ladle the balsamic cream around each one. Arrange the spicy chicken on top and garnish with a small mound of lightly dressed salad leaves.


  • 4 slices white bread (crusts removed, 1 day old)
  • 2 tsp medium curry powder
  • 2 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tblsp milk
  • 2 large skinless chicken breast fillets (cut into strips lengthways)
  • sunflower oil (for deep-frying)
  • 25 g mixed baby salad leaves
  • for the avocado salsa:
  • 2 avocadoes
  • 2 tomatoes (seeded and diced)
  • 2 tblsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 2 tblsp chopped fresh coriander
  • finely grated rind and juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tblsp balsamic cream (to serve)
  • for the balsamic cream (makes 150ml):
  • 150 ml beef or chicken stock
  • 1 tblsp tomato purée
  • 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar
  • 150 ml double cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • For the Avocado Salsa:
  • Cut the avocadoes in half and remove the stones, then scoop out the flesh and cut into dice. Place in a bowl and add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, coriander, lime rind and juice and olive oil. Season to taste and stir well to combine. Cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature for up to 30 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  • For the Balsamic Cream:
  • Place the stock in a small saucepan with the tomato purée, vinegar and cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced by a quarter and thickened to a sauce consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or allow to cool, transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film, then chill until needed, for up to 5 days.
  • For the Spicy Chicken Salad:
  • Place bread in a food processor or liquidiser and whizz to fine crumbs, then with the motor still running add the curry powder, chilli powder, sesame seeds and parsley until just combined. Tip into a shallow dish and season well.
  • Place the flour on a plate and then beat the egg and milk together in another shallow dish. Toss the chicken strips into the flour until well coated, shaking off any excess, then dip into the egg mixture and coat in the flavoured breadcrumbs.
  • Heat a deep-fat fryer to 180°C (350°F) or half fill a deep-sided pan with the sunflower oil. Cook the breaded chicken strips in batches for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm while you are cooking the remainder.
  • To serve, arrange a mound of the spicy chicken on each warmed plate and spoon the avocado salsa to the side. Drizzle around the balsamic cream.

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neven maguire: home chef starters and nibbles mexican