chicken with peanut sauce

Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Cilantro Lime Rice

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Tonight for dinner I made a delicious chicken and vegetable stir fry with peanut sauce, and a side of cilantro lime rice. This sounds like a lot of work, but it only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish. In general, stir fry dinners are always fast and are great for weeknights. The fact that this has a spicy peanut sauce is a huge bonus. This dish is inspired by my favorite Thai place – Mie Thai, which has an awesome Mie Thai Panang dish with vegetables and chicken in a peanut curry sauce. I seriously eat the sauce with a spoon when I am done with my food. This version of the sauce doesn’t use any exotic ingredients, so it can be made with everything you already have in your pantry (skip the fish sauce if you don’t have it).

chicken with peanut sauce
Peanut Butter Sauce. Need I say more?

Some notes before you start… I needed a total of 1 small bunch of cilantro for this dinner – most of it went into the rice and a couple of tablespoons went into the chicken with peanut sauce.

I put grated ginger and minced garlic into both the chicken and vegetables, and into the peanut sauce. If you want, just prepare a mixture of 2 tablespoons grated ginger and 2 tablespoons minced garlic, and then use half for the sauce and half for the chicken.

Chicken and Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

Makes 4-6 servings, depending on your appetite.

  • 1 whole chicken breast (2 halves)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper, rinsed and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cups snow peas (2 handfuls), rinsed
  • 1 x 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt to taste

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (regular or chunky would work as well)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less if you prefer no spice)
  • 1 x 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

Cilantro Lime Rice

  • 3 cups rice
  • Cilantro, stemmed and chopped, about 1/3 cup
  • Water
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Make the Rice

Start with the rice, since it takes the longest to cook. Prepare the rice following the instructions on the package, or on google. We have a rice cooker, so to prepare 3 cups of rice we need 4 cups of water, a splash of olive oil, and some salt, and then we let the rice cooker do all the work. Before I moved in with Aldo and his rice cooker, I preferred the “excess water and drain” method, because that was the only way I could make rice taste good without both overcooking and undercooking it (don’t ask, not sure how that happens).

When the rice is done, add the chopped cilantro and the lime juice, and stir well.

2. Cook the chicken

Slice the chicken into thin strips, the thinner the better, and season with salt. (I got kind of lazy with mine so I have chunky chicken strips) Heat a heavy bottom pan with 1 tablespoon of oil in it. Cook the chicken, stirring every few minutes until fully done and nicely browned, about 10 minutes total. Set aside until you are ready for Step 4.

3. Prepare the Peanut Sauce

Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl until a smooth sauce is formed. If you would like the sauce to be less spicy, don’t add all the red pepper flakes right away. When mixing the sauce, stir gently at first because the water will splash out if you stir too hard. It will look like it isn’t going to come together smoothly, but just keep stirring, and in a couple of minutes you will have  a delicious smooth sauce.

peanut sauce

4. The Final Few Steps!

Slice the onion and the seeded red bell pepper. You want all of the vegetables ready before starting to cook them, because everything will move quickly during the next few steps.

In a wok or a skillet with high sides, add 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the ginger, garlic, and onion. Stir fry for 2 minutes, until onions start to brown and to soften up. Then add the red bell pepper, and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the snow peas, and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Finally add the chicken and the peanut sauce, stir everything well, and let it come to a quick boil, approximately 2 minutes. Sprinkle liberally with cilantro.

Done!

chicken with peanut sauce

Serve with the cilantro lime rice and try to resist licking the sauce off the plate.

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