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22nd January
2009
written by Steph
Peanut Chicken Curry

Chicken Peanut Curry

My friend Simona is always asking me to post more recipes and cooking stuff on here, and I always try to come up with excuses and reasons for why I don’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like to cook – I’m one of those strange birds who finds it a stress-reliever and fun – but I also tend to be one of those people who cooks via intuition and “what feels right”, so trying to document the process is somewhat painful and counterintuitive for me.  I am not entirely sure that I could make exactly the same thing twice, because I always end up tweaking things and adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Also?  I pretty much never measure things when I cook, which is why it is generally Tony, and not me, who does the baking around here.  Oh, and generally, by the time I finish cooking, we’re hungry and just want to dig in, so we often forget to snap a picture of our meal, and I don’t know about you, but what is a recipe without a picture?  Not one that I’m going to try out, that’s for sure! But last night, I made a concerted effort to get Tony to take some nice pictures of our meal before we dug in, and I also tried to mentally keep track of what I was doing as I cooked, so that I could pass along a great weeknight recipe to all of you.  This is really a great recipe for several reasons: 1) it’s quick and easy to make; 2) the ingredients list is not that long; 3) similarly, you likely have all of the crucial ingredients on hand already in your kitchen, and if not, they’re all pretty easy to snag on your next grocery run.  So, without further ado, let’s get onto the recipe for Chicken Peanut Curry. The recipe I used is my adaptation of Elise’s Chicken Peanut Curry at Simply Recipes, which you can find here.  Feel free to just go read her recipe, because it’s way more systematic than mine will be, and I want to give credit where it’s due!  Below is the ingredient list, but I’m going to add little notes for your benefit Ingredients 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken pieces (or you can use bone-in for added flavor), cut into 1 1/2 inch wide chunks or strips [Note: I only used 1 really big chicken breast (probably just shy of a pound), because there are only two of us, and I don’t need to devote 3 lbs of meat to any one meal!] 1/2 cup flour [For 1 honking huge chicken breast, you probably only need to put in a heaping ¼ of a cup instead] 4 Tbsp curry powder [I have really potent curry powder (not the generic store brand kind) so I just used 3 heaping Tbsp… add as much as you generally like!] 2 teaspoons Kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns 1/2 cup olive oil 1 small yellow/white onion, cut into slivers [My own additon!] 3 handfuls of coarsely chopped cashews [Again, another ad lib!] 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced [Didn’t have fresh ginger on hand, so I just used powdered… It worked totally fine.  Also, I just dumped in what seemed to be about 1 Tbsp, since dried spices tend to pack more punch than fresh.] 2 Tbsp garlic, minced 2 serrano chili peppers, seeded, de-veined, minced [Skipped this… didn’t have them, and we aren’t huge spicy curry people] 4 cups chicken broth [I didn’t want to use our last can of broth, so I just crumbled up three “bouilion” cubes, and added them to the pan… then I only wound up using 3 cups of water, before getting what I felt was a good consistency] 1/2 cup peanut butter (if using freshly ground peanuts, add 2 teaspoons of sugar) [For our proportions, I found this to be a bit overpowering… In the future, I might start off with ¼ cup of PB, taste, and go from there] ½ cup of frozen peas [My addition] 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds 8 green onions, chopped, greens included [Only used 3 of these, because of my previous addition of a whole onion] 1/3 cup each finely chopped mint and cilantro 2 limes cut into wedges Whew!  I hope that wasn’t too confusing! Method 1.    Rinse chicken, and pat it dry.  Mix flour, curry powder, pepper, and salt in a bag.  Add your chicken pieces (already cut into bitesize pieces) into the bag, and shake it up so that all of the pieces are nicely coated. 2.    Add oil to pot (or wok, in my case) and bring to medium-high heat (on our stove, I had the dial set to 6… just past the half way point).  Add chicken pieces and let brown and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every once in a while (you want all sides to cook and don’t want anything to burn).  In the interim, slice up your onion and add to pan (probably after chicken has been in the pan for about half the time).  Add cashews. 3.    Once onions are starting to look semi-cooked (beginning to get clear), add in your ginger, garlic, and chili peppers (if using).  Also, if you are cheating like I did, crumble your boullion cubes into the pan as well.  Next add half cup broth/water and let simmer for a few minutes (maybe three?). 4.    Add your peanut butter, and stir while adding so that it gets incorporated evenly.  Then add the remaining broth/water. As I said above, I  felt that adding an additional 2.5 cups of water (for total of 3 cups) made things sufficiently liquidy, so that’s when I stopped.  Also, this is when I added the frozen peas in. 5.    Let simmer and thicken for about 10 minutes.  Once the mixture starts bubbling, you might want to turn your burner down to a lower setting (around dial setting 3 or so). 6.    Totally optional step: About halfway through simmering, I felt the sauce smelled a little too peanut-y, and not enough like curry  (I used ½ cup PB, but this might not have been an issue with just ¼ cup… then again, maybe the curry wouldn’t have thickened up as nicely with less PB, so this is the part where you just have to play around!).  So, I added a tablespoon or so of a Massaman Thai curry paste I had, to give the whole thing a bit of kick.  If you have such paste, feel free to add it here. 7.    Regardless of whether you followed step 6 or not, right before you get ready to serve this puppy, add your coriander seeds & the green onion, and give the curry a stir. 8.    Serve over piping hot rice.  Garnish with chopped coriander and mint, and squeeze a little lime juice over it too. [I didn’t do any of these things the last time I made this, and it was still really tasty.  I did like the additions last night though, so I do recommend you add them if you can!]  Devour!
Glamor shot!

Glamor shot!

So there you go!  As I said, check out the original recipe if mine seems incoherent.  The main things I did was suggest different proportions for certain things, but that stuffs really just a matter of taste (literally!).  Also, I hate meals that are all just one thing, and in the original recipe, it just had chicken and some green onion.  Hence my addition of onions & peas, and even some cashews for some extra protein.  In my mind, those additions elevate the dish to a proper meal, but again, add what you like, and refrain from adding what you don’t. If you give the recipe a try, let me know how it goes.  Also, if you have any suggestions for how I can improve my recipe presentation (for clarity, etc.,) please leave me a comment as well!

4 Comments

  1. Simona
    01/22/2009

    Yaaaaay! You’ve just made me so happy on exactly the day I needed it. I’m having a horrible day (and stressful week overall) and you just made me smile. And drool. A little.

    I’ll definitely be trying this recipe and I’ll let you know how it goes! Hopefully I’ll manage to get all the ingredients together sometime next week.

    Thank you!

  2. 01/22/2009

    Hurrah! Glad I could help. I think the curry is definitely one of those dishes that is even better the next day on a second re-heating, so just know that it lends itself well to leftovers (we have at least one more serving in the fridge right now). Also, it’s a pretty forgiving recipe, so have fun with it!

  3. 01/28/2009

    That looks really, really good. I can’t cook, but I just might have to give this a try. Thanks!

  4. 01/28/2009

    I promise this is a really easy recipe! I won’t say it’s impossible to screw up (because who needs that kind of jinxing? 😉 ), but as you can see, I strayed quite a bit from the original recipe and it turned out fine! If you’re looking for a dead simple recipe that hardly even qualifies as cooking, I would suggest the thin crust tortilla pizza I posted recently. It’s a good warm-up recipe to get you into a cooking groove. 🙂

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