Saturday, 28 January 2012

My World-Famous Spicy Thai Peanut Butter Chicken

This is another one of my home-made Chinese take-outs! I've been making this one for years, because I am a peanut butter fiend. And honestly, what's more awesome than a creamy, spicy, rich Hunan sauce on a stir-fry or on some dumplings?

I may have a severe addiction to that spicy peanut-buttery taste, so I began to experiment with the flavors until I got the following stir-fry sauce. It's probably highly inauthentic, but it's a universal hit: my boyfriend loves it, coworkers have been known to beg for the recipe and my brother requests it constantly.

This is one of those cases where one can say: "authentic - shmauthentic"! This dish is a lovely comfort-food, rich, creamy and spicy. The sauce can be as thick or as liquid as you want; just add more broth or water. If it separates, as peanut butter tends to do, just stir until it gets nice and smooth again. Lime is not mandatory, but it gives the sauce a fruity zing that I just can't resist.

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into finger-sized strips
2 small yellow onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
8 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
Shriracha sauce, to taste
1 to 2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 or 2 limes, juiced (optional)
Peanut oil
2 tablespoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
Sea salt and ground pepper
Toasted peanuts

In a large bowl, put the peanut butter and slowly pour the broth or water, gradually mixing it with the peanut butter. Add the lime juice, if using. Blend well until the mixture is creamy. Add more water if needed, until you get a thick, smooth sauce that pours easily from a wooden spoon. Add the Shriracha 1 tablespoon at a time, mix well and taste to make sure it doesn’t get too spicy. Preheat a casserole-type pan over medium heat. Add a glug of oil to the pan and sauté the garlic for a few minutes, until it is golden. Add the onions and fry for 5 to 6 minutes, until they are soft. Add the chicken to the pan and cook another 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and slightly golden. Pour the sauce over the chicken and blend well to coat everything. Mix in the chili flakes, cardamom and add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. When the chicken is tender and cooked through, remove from the heat and add a handful of toasted peanuts to the pan. Mix well and serve with jasmine rice and steamed vegetables.

I sometimes mix it up by adding some shitake mushrooms along with the chicken (regular button or cremini mushrooms work well, too). You can add any veggies you like in a stir-fry: bell peppers, baby corn... You can also substitute the chicken for some tofu! Use 1 block of extra-firm tofu, diced, and stir-fry it until crispy and voila! The chewy texture of the tofu goes so well with the thick sauce.

As the rich texture of the sauce hints, this isn't a low-fat dish, whether you use chicken or tofu, so keep it for those days when you need to give yourself a finger-lickin' good treat!


  1. Miss Punk Housewife,
    I cannot express how excited I was to come across your blog! I was looking for a 'peanut butter chicken' recipe and I found several online that required the use of soy sauce & fish sauce which I didn't have, so I kept looking and voila! I found your recipe and amazingly I had all the ingredients - especially the Indian spices. Instead of just adding in the onions diced, I sauteed a paste of the onions, garlic and spices. I also poured in 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs in the peanut butter sauce - the result was just amazing! My only suggestion to those making this for the first time - include only 1 tbsp of chili flakes and skip the Sriracha sauce - because this dish is spicy!
    BTW: I love how your blog is set up - especially the fonts and we definitely share some common interests like tea & Tarot.

  2. I am so glad you like it!! I agree, the dish is quite spicy, but my boyfriend and I both love piquant tastes :) Enjoy the blog and let me know how your recipes go!

  3. fantastic and easy. I had all the ingredients except peanut oil and I only used a tsp cardamom. Will make this again and get some peanut oil. Now off to check out your other recipes- thanks