Perfect Peanut Chicken | A Rose in Bloom

So, when I first moved to Lexington, I discovered a store named Half Price Books, which is, well, a used bookstore as the title suggests.  Since then I have really made a point to not go back in there very much, partly because it's on the other side of town so I can't walk there, and partly because this store would take my entire paycheck. Seriously.  Neither my bank account nor my small apartment can take that.  But anyway, I digress.  I purchased The Food and Cooking of the Caribbean Central and South America by Jenni Fleetwood and Marina Filippelli, which has tons of delicious looking recipes, including today's Peanut Chicken.  It has a light peanut flavor from the peanut butter, with a little spice and hints of citrus.  It's delicious and perfect for the warmer weather we had this weekend, as Caribbean food always makes me think of hot weather (although the spices will warm you right up in midwinter too).  Here is how to make it.


Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs bone chicken breasts, skinned and cut into cubes 
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
  • 1 fresh hot chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cups warm water
  • salt
  • fresh coriander sprigs for garnish
  • fried plantains, to serve
  • okra, to serve
  1. 1. Put the chicken in a large bowl and stir in the garlic, thyme, black pepper, curry powder, and lemon juice.  Add a little salt. Cover and marinade for 3-4 hours.
  2. Melt butter in a large pan. Add onion, saute gently for 5 minutes, then add seasoned chicken.  Fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning frequently, and then stir in the tomatoes and chili.
  3. In a small bowl, blend the peanut butter to a smooth paste with a little of the warm water and stir this paste into the chicken mixture.
  4. Gradually stir in the remaining water, then simmer gently for 30 min, or until the chicken is fully cooked.  Add a little more water if the sauce begins to dry out. Garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander and serve hot with slices of fried plantain and okra.
My variations:
Oh, you wouldn't expect me to follow the rules verbatim.  Let's be honest with ourselves. Instead of breasts, I used thighs.  They are cheaper so I buy those sometimes instead.  I used garlic powder instead of cloves; I think it was about one teaspoon.  I didn't really measure the spices.  I tend to just sprinkle them till it looks tasty.  I know I used double the curry powder because we LOVE curry powder.  I used the juice of one whole lemon (waste not want not), and a jalapeno pepper.  I actually ended up omitting the chopped tomatoes, because I didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand. Instead, I put a little squeeze of Trader Joe’s tomato paste in a tube. Roger does not like okra, so we served this with fried plantains and rice flavored with chicken bouillon and turmeric.  It was still absolutely delicious, and having rice worked out nicely because the sauce was a little runny and the rice helped soak it up.  
And just to make you jealous:








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