Curried Chicken Sandwich Recipe

Today’s sandwich is the “Curried Chicken Sandwich.” It combines curry-brined grilled chicken breast, a fennel and red onion slaw, and fresh dill on grilled sourdough bread.

Notes: You know how The People Who Know About Food Who Are On TV (TPWKAFWAOTV) are constantly talking about the notion of “layering flavor?” That’s just a buzzwordy way of describing cooking. Guy Fieri uses the term almost constantly on his show where he tastes different food and then repeats their exact ingredients back to camera, all while pushing the boundaries of appropriate cranial sunglasses-placement, as does Giada DeLaurentis, on her show about what happens when you have a shark’s mouth installed in a human head.

Here’s the thing: Almost ALL cooking involves “layering flavor,” which you and I know by the less-jargony description of “combining lots of things so they don’t taste like just  one thing.” Or maybe more specifically, the act of combining flavors with additional complimentary flavors, like when you saute onions with leeks, pepper, and thyme. You already had plenty of flavor from just the onions, but you complimented those flavors with additional flavors. That’s just cooking, right?

This is all just a long-winded way of introducing today’s sandwich, which layers flavor like crazy, or to paraphrase Jay-Z, “Stacks flavor like a food inspector.” Excellent sandwiches always balance texture, proportion, and yes, flavor, and this sandwich is a perfect example. The curry-brined chicken is perfect partners with the crunchy fennel-and-onion slaw, and the fresh dill from our garden adds a fresh, zippy finish. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the kickoff of National Sandwich Month, and we hope you think so, too:

Curried Chicken Sandwich

5 from 1 reviews
Curried Chicken Sandwich
Serves: 2 Sandwiches
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 pound), halved horizontally
  • ½ quart buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • ½ small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, plus more for serving
  • 8 slices Sourdough bread
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 big sprigs fresh dill
  1. Combine chicken , buttermilk, Kosher salt, pepper, curry, cumin, and turmeric in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Combine celery, fennel, sour cream, lemon juice, celery seeds, and 1 tablespoon mayonnaise in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set slaw aside.
  3. Grill chicken until cooked through, 5–7 minutes per side. Brush bread on both sides with oil and grill until toasted, about 2 minutes per side; spread with mayonnaise. Build sandwiches with bread, chicken, slaw, onion, and fresh dill.
Adapted from a recipe by Bon Appetit.

Curried Chicken Sandwich

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.


  1. Hilarious! I have been desperately trying to layer flavors in my chili, after seeing Sara Moulton do it, using various chili powders. I have never tried curry. Will I like it? this sandwich certainly looks great. So, I’m gonna try it, complete with the fennel and onion slaw, if I find fennel at the farmers market. the British love curry, don’t they. It is interesting (or maybe imperial) when a country adopts a cuisine from another country. I wonder if the Queen eats it?

    View Comment
  2. Don’t forget: Guy Fieri will be parroting back the ingredients as food flies out of his mouth because “THAT’S CRAZY!”

    Seriously, though, I really like the thought process in this recipe, and I may have to try it albeit with chicken thighs because I loathe boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Everything else in this sandwich? I am totally on board!

    View Comment
    1. I completely understand your issue with boneless/skinless, and don’t use them often, but in this case, the chicken gets a ton of flavor and moisture from the brine. But by all means, thighs would work too. 🙂

      View Comment
  3. Well, there’s layering, and then there’s melding. This sandwich is layering. And FREAKING DELICIOUS! Sorry, got carried away there. I love the contrast of the chicken, texture and flavor, with the slaw, t&f, and the up front zing of the plain raw onion. In short, this is definitely a keeper. 😉

    What can I say? I’m HUNGRY!

    View Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.