Chicken Salad with Tarator

Locale: Turkey

Source: Mark Bittman, The Best Recipes in the World [p. 201]

Serves: 4


  • 2-3 c shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 c milk or stock
  • 2 oz good-quality bread
  • 0.25 lb walnuts (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 0.25 c extra virgin olive oil
  • pure chile powder, like ancho or New Mexico, or paprika to taste
  • 1 c chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Soak bread in milk or stock. Put walnuts, garlic, and some salt in food processor and pulse to grind coarsely. Squeeze some liquid from bread and add to food processor along with oil. Process until combined but not pureed. Add as much of the remaining milk or stock as you need to give the mixture a mayonnaiselike consistency.

  2. By hand, add chile powder or paprika; bind the chicken with as much sauce as is necessary to give it the texture you like. Taste and adjust seasoning, then stirin about two thirds of the cilantro. Serve or refrigerate for up to a day; garnish with remaining cilantro before serving.


  1. I've made tarator before as a condiment to accompany grilled kebabs (e.g., swordfish), and have seen numerous similar recipes. Bittman offers one (p. 600) which calls for more garlic (3 cloves), no olive oil, 1 tbs (to taste) of lemon juice.

  2. I followed Irene Kuo's recipe for quick boiling chicken breasts: put them in water, bring to a boil and boil vigorously for 6 minutes, then cover, turn heat off, and let them steep 15-20 minutes. After cooling, I cut the chicken to a rough 1/4-inch dice. I used black walnuts, of course. I used ciabatta rolls for the bread, trimming the crust, soaking in milk. Wound up using all the milk I had, which I didn't measure but was probably less than 1 cup. Used dashes of ancho chile powder, Aleppo pepper, and paprika, none of which produced much heat.