Monday, September 19, 2005

Chicken Peanut Curry

I saw this recipe on the SIMPLY RECIPES Blog. This blog gave me the idea to start my blog.

When I first saw the recipe, I skipped the introduction and just looked at the ingredients, I thought the dish was Thai, but it is actually from a West African themed cookbook. I do recommend this dish. Depending on your chopping skills, the dish will be done in 30 minutes or less!

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken pieces, cut into 1 1/2 inch wide chunks or strips
1/2 cup flour
4 Tbsp curry powder
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns
1/2 cup olive oil (this is necessary for the full recipe-see note below)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 serrano chili peppers, (seeded, de-veined--to tame the heat, if you like), minced
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup peanut butter (if using freshly ground peanuts, add 2 teaspoons of sugar)
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
8 green onions, chopped, greens included
1/3 cup each finely chopped mint and cilantro
2 limes cut into wedges

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry. In a small sturdy paper bag, combine the flour, curry powder, salt and pepper. Shake well. Add the chicken pieces and shake to coat well.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add chicken pieces. Cook 5-10 minutes (depending on size of chicken pieces) tossing occasionally to cook chicken evenly. Add the ginger, garlic, chili pepper and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to the saucepan. Cook for 3 minutes, scraping the pan with a spatula and stirring to combine everything well.

3. Add the peanut butter, stirring quickly to incorporate it with the chicken. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups of broth slowly, stirring continuously to maintain an even texture. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Right before serving, add the coriander and green onions. Salt to taste.

4. Serve with rice. Top each serving with fresh cilantro and mint. Squeeze a little lime juice over it as well.

Serves 6-8.

NOTE: The recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of Olive Oil. I thought this was too much and was about to go with much less when I thought that maybe there was a purpose. Sure enough. The olive oil, with the flour that coats the chicken, makes the base for a roux, which makes the sauce thick and tasty later. A roux is most often seen in cajun cooking with butter and flour.

*I'm thinking the next time I make this of adding green peppers cut into strips and maybe some carrots, just to add some veg.

*I used two jalapenos, one seeded, one not. This was one the cusp of just hot enough, but J-Lo would like more.

*I would recommend a bit more grated ginger.

*I happened to have both mint and cilantro on hand from some previous recipes. At the very least I would try to have cilantro. You use equal amounts of both and I couldn't taste the mint.

*I only used 4 green onions, could have used the full eight the recipe calls for.

*Following the directions above are fine, but I would like to suggest that in step 2, when it calls for adding 1/2 cup of broth, that you wait until you are ready for the peanut butter and mix the 1/2 cup of broth (warm it up) with the peanut butter, so that it blends in better. I really had to whisk this up to get the peanut butter blended. Wetting it with the broth would have helped.

*Speaking of Peanut Butter, I used a new variety of Skippy. SKIPPY NATURAL. Not bad. I think following the recipe above, if I would have thought this through a bit, I would have added a bit of sugar, not that it really mattered.

*I used some of the lime juice in the cooking liquid for the rice. A just barely there flavor but nice, as I only had plain Giant brand rice, lacking in flavor.

*I solicited the advice of a veggie friend and here's what she had to say about tofu: " Tofu should work with a peanut curry. I would highly recommend firm or extra firm tofu instead of silken tofu. You can sautee it but it doesn't really brown like meat does. I just gets hot and absorbs whatever fat you are trying to sautee with. You could just cut the tofu into small cubes (press all the water out of it first though) and then just put them in your curry early on so it absorbs a lot of the good flavor. Or you can deep fry (or shallow fry) the tofu. It is really tasty fried, but not as healthy. You can also bake tofu. I haven't tried it myself but I'm sure it isn't hard. I think you just have to bake it at a low temp (maybe 325 or so?). " Let us all know if you try this recipe as a veggie version, using tofu and a veggie broth.



Elise said...

Hi Scott,
I'm so glad you like the recipe! It's a good one, isn't it? Welcome to the wide world of food blogging by the way. The more the merrier!

Dancer in DC said...

Thanks for the recipe, Elise - it was delicious! I'm actually having it leftover as lunch today. Yummy.