I love coconut and I love peanut sauce, which is why this recipe first caught my eye. The recipe looked simple enough, with the bulk of the ingredients simply being whisked together into a sauce. And asparagus? Heck yeah–love that stuff too. After some tweaks and the addition of fresh green beans, here’s the recipe. If you like peanut sauce, chances are you’ll like this! If not, I’d say your chances are . . . well, slim to none.
For the sauce:
½ cup peanut butter
1 14.5 oz can coconut milk
1 TBS Thai red curry paste
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS fish sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1-2 TBS honey (to taste)
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch cinnamon
1-2 tsp sriracha
For the chicken:
1 TBS coconut or vegetable oil
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 bunch asparagus
½ lb green beans
Optional garnishes: peanuts, sriracha, unsweetened coconut flakes, cilantro, green onions, etc.
At this point, it looks like too many ingredients for this to be anything akin to ‘easy.’ But don’t worry! We’re just going to pour and sprinkle and drump, and most of those ingredients can go straight back into the pantry.
That’s right–drump. I have decided that what started as a typo is now going to become a permanent part of my vocabulary. And I haven’t quite nailed down the technical definition, so I’m open to suggestions before I contact my friend Merriam Webster.
And by the way, what kind of a first name is “Merriam”? Is it a typo for “Miriam” that turned into a name in the same way that ‘dump’ turned into ‘drump’? Maybe Merriam and I are more connected than I ever imagined.
Oh, the questions I have on a daily basis.
So: whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce.
You can adjust the flavors to your liking—add more sriracha for spice, more honey for sweetness, more lime juice for acidity, etc.
It’s hard to judge what it may or may not need if you taste it now (like I did), but if you taste it later once it’s hot and in the pot, your taste buds will be able to direct you more clearly.
If the asparagus stalks are thick, halve them lengthwise:
If they’re thin, you can leave them be. While you’re at it, snap off the tough ends. Cut the asparagus and green beans into 2-inch lengths on the diagonal.
Chop the onion, mince the garlic . . .
. . . and cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. When hot, add the onion and garlic.
Cook until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken to the pot, and cook for about 8 minutes, until golden.
That chicken sure is a disturbing shade of mauve at this point. But that will soon be rectified, thanks to the discovery of fire made long, long ago by a hairy man named Uggl. Or Oogf. Or maybe it was a hairy woman–the hair makes things hard to distinguish, sort of thing.
Not that I was looking . . . and not that I was even there. Anyway.
Add the sauce to the pot . . .
. . . lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about 8 minutes.
Thank you, Uggl. Your discovery sure is coming in handy today.
Stir in the green beans and asparagus . . .
(don’t be like me and add WAY too many green beans) . . . and cook for 5 or so minutes or until crisp-tender.
If the sauce seems too thick at this point, thin it out with more coconut milk or water. Also, don’t forget to taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Everyone is different. No two mouths are not on fire.
Serve over rice, with as few or as many of the garnishes as you please.
Personally, I’m all about the extra peanuts and the coconut flakes, though I didn’t have the patience to toast mine.
On the downside, my veggies were kind of floppy the following day when I reheated the curry–so leave them on the crisp side of crisp-tender that first night if you know it’s going to become part of your leftovers stash.
But overall–très goodé!
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