Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Peanut Curry Chicken – Check Please!

There’s a show called “Check, Please! Bay Area,” which features three locals who try each other’s favorite restaurants, and then compare notes with host, Leslie Sbrocco. We get lots of great ideas for places to try, and every once in a while I hear about a dish that I really want to make, and this peanut curry chicken is the latest example. The restaurant was called Old Skool Café, and the dish was “Abu’s West African Peanut Butter Stew.” 

I was working while it was on, and not paying full attention, but I remember thinking that it sounded like something I’d like to try soon. That was a year ago. 

Last week, Michele and I ended up going there, and I finally had my chance to order the stew, and reverse engineer the recipe for a video. Except, I didn’t order it. I have this mental defect where have to I order fried chicken every time it’s on a menu. Michele was no help, since she has the same affliction with shrimp and grits. 

Anyway, someone ordered it at the table next to us, and I overheard them discussing it, which provided plenty of inspiration for this version. I decided to not follow any specific recipe, but instead do a simple composite of every peanut curry I’ve ever come across. 

Unlike Abu’s stew, and many others, I didn’t use coconut milk, as I feel that’s a little too sweet and rich for the peanut butter. I loved how this came out, and I can’t imagine it being any richer. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:

For the spice blend:
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
                                                                                  
2 1/2 pounds chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup 
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I recommend using an all-natural style that doesn’t contain sugar. If you use the regular stuff, you won’t need the brown sugar called for below). 
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar 
about 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, depending on desired thickness 
1 pound zucchini, cut into chunks 
1 red bell pepper, cubed 
1 green poblano pepper, diced 
1/2 cup roasted peanuts 
chopped cilantro and fresh lime to garnish 
serve on rice

41 comments:

Andrew S said...

Hey Chef,

When you use the term "browning" in your videos, is that always meant to indicate that the meat is not cooked through, rather seared for better flavor/texture? Are there any exceptions to this? This recipe looks fantastic.

Dale Percy said...

Hello Chef John.
Would it be possible to take it to the point of: browning the chicken, sauteing the onions, garlic, ginger and spices; and then putting it all in a slow cooker before the liquids? this would be great change for a weeknight meal, but given the cooking times, I wouldn't want to be waiting on it when I get home from a long day.
Thanks!
Dale

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I am very hungry now.

Ian Chinworth said...

Do you think the flavor would be at all negatively affected if I use ghee instead of vegetable oil? Or maybe peanut oil to add to the theme?

Luccien Fitzpatric said...

Do you think its possible to make this without the ketchup because I cant eat tomatoe products

Chef John said...

Sure!

Lazybug said...

Made this last night, it was delicious! Definitely a keeper.
Also, I learned not to try and debone 3 pounds of chicken thighs late at night by myself...

Adrienne L said...

Can you make a mushroom risotto? I need a good recipe so I am asking you of course!

Jacquie said...

This was an amazing recipe, entire family is currently fighting over what is left. Thank you so much for such a wonderful and easy way to wow the family! Have a picture but not sure how to insert in the comment.......

not49p said...

Wow, my 17 year old son has taking to cooking and made this for us tonight. I too have had other African peanut stews. I've never been fond. This was so good. A friend came over and he loved it. So much so he asked for the recipe. Non of the flavors overwhelmed, but it was very flavorful! Tres bon!

McFadden's Glendale said...

Totally feeling lazy today so this recipe is just perfect! It looks to die for

Unknown said...

Hey Adrienne L, Chef John already has a baked mushroom risotto video! I might actually make this tonight, since my gf isn't a mushroom fan and won't be around.

http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2013/03/baked-mushroom-risotto-why-stir-when.html

Jim Swindell said...

If a person was trying to make this vegetarian, would you recommend tofu? if so, which type?

Jim Swindell said...

If I wanted to make this vegetarian, would I use tofu? If so, which type?

Christopher Myers said...

Made this for dinner last night, so we could eat in front of the TV and watch the Masrterchef Finale and loved it. Now I'm eating the leftovers for lunch and still love it

Warior4355 said...

I love your videos man, I just wish you posted directions in your blog posts as I keep a paper recipe binder over the stove and its hard to put your video in it. Oh well, will just have to suffer watching you make amazing looking food, such agony!

kinjun ranger said...

Hey Warrior4355 - just write it down like I do. Easy to do :-)

Jacque Phillips said...

My vegetarian adaptation is simmering right now, and it tastes wonderful!~ I added mushrooms, and I will serve it with couscous instead of rice bc I've got it on hand. This recipe is getting bookmarked!

Peter Pierson said...

Great Recipe. Here are my variations, mostly a result of ingredient supplies. I used a jar of good Korma sauce for the curry spice. Coated the chicken with a standard chicken rub to which I added a Tsp of Sumac leftover from a Middle Eastern dish I recently cooked. Used 1/2 C coconut cream concentrate to smooth out the sauce. Garnished with thin apple slices along with the peanuts (left off the cilantro which I don't like). Added the veggies about 20 minutes before serving time. Thanks for the inspiration.

Valerie Beurtin said...

I tried it today without changing a thing, and it was great !!!
Thank you so much, it was perfect, as always :)

potkas7 said...

Fancying myself a pretty good curry cook, I was intrigued by this recipe. When I looked at the ingredients and saw Ketchup on the list I thought, "Ahh, an Indonesian sweet curry," since in that part of the world they use a condiment called Catsup Manis in their cooking.

My original thought was that I was going to add some coconut milk to the recipe but, as it simmered away on the stove and I kept tasting it, I thought, "This is pretty good just the way it is." The peanut flavor moves the needle from S.E. Asia to West Africa. In fact, with autumn approaching, I think if I were to make this again, I might add some chunks of fresh pumpkin to give it a real West African flavor.

But this is really one delicious curry.

Unknown said...

For those that keep asking for written instructions, Chef John works with Allrecipes.com, you can find the written directions for this recipe there by following this link:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/244979/chef-johns-peanut-curry-chicken/?internalSource=search%20result&referringContentType=search%20results

NoUseForAName said...

Hey CJ,
If this is being served in a dish to a whole table, should we garnish the whole thing with lime or leave it on the side to be added last minute?
Thanks!

Kevin Villeneuve said...

Wow this was so good! Like I mean restaurant quality. I was sure I had everything to make this but I was missing the ground coriander Yikes!! :( .... In a pinch instead of the coriander I used a generic mix of chicken seasoning I had on hand and marinated everything over night.
I will make this again and next time with the coriander im sure it will still be as awesome if not better.

Thanks Chef John :)

Dane Fisher said...

i agree with the other commenter....where's the risotto recipies? I watched many other youtuber's videos on risotto, but i don't feel that i'll master it until i get chef John's take on it.

Thomas Bryant said...

Chef John: did anyone comment or notice that there is no curry in your peanut curry chicken?

Chef John said...

No, because curry is not an ingredient, it's a type of dish. If you put all those spices in a jar, that could be considered a "curry powder" or "curry spice," but there's no such thing as adding a pinch of curry. Just FYI!

Ottis Bovine said...

Be nice to have a printed direction.

Chef John said...

Them type one up. I'm busy making free videos for you. ;) btw, you're welcome.

Nicole Cooper said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. I have never made a curry before and this was great. My family are picky eaters and they loved it. Please continue with the curry recipes!

John Muir said...

Where did you get that great serving plate? Who knew you had such great taste? ---I'm sorry, that joke was just awful. Why am I leaving it there? Why do I not delete it? I don't know.....plate?

sushi said...

I tried this yesterday and it was really yummy, however I did feel it was a bit too peanut buttery, think it was because I used supermarket brand ones... I also cut down on cumin and cayenne thinking it'll be too spicy for my kids, but it made it a bit bland.... Any suggestions?

Thekhaled said...

Thank you chef! I doubled the recepie and fed a lot of guests! The lime, as you said, mad a lot of difference!
It would have been better to serve the rice on the side, because it became a bit hefty with it mixed in to the stu.

Keep up your great work!

Chris Mignemi said...

Chef John...I just want to say how incredibly incredible your videos are! I made your peanut curry chicken tonight and it looked pretty much exactly the way yours did! I want to show you a picture I took of it! It was delicious!

JD Smith said...

Hi Chef John (can I call you CJ?),
Made this tonight and although with a few mods, all around comments were 'this is really good'. But of course I get that all the time when I cook 😏.
I spiced up with a bit more cayenne, and took each of your 30 min simmers down to 20 because I got a late start after walking and then bathing dogs (mud season here). Only one Zuch in the drawer so added chopped carrots at the same time as onion. No peppers since "someone" gets certain greenhouse gas related reactions...

So, just wanted to say thanks, CJ, for an excellent recipe and for our very nice weekday dinner experience. And for all of your great videos and recipes.
JD

Tim Murtaugh said...

This is great!

It's the first Food Wishes recipe I've made since coming across your videos a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed both making and eating it, even though I forgot to add the brown sugar to go with my natural peanut butter. Could have been even better!

As I was eating it, I had a couple thoughts I'll try out in the future:

— This would work really well with firm tofu or fried eggplant chunks in place of the chicken.
— I added chopped fresh tomato to my leftovers the next day, and that went very well too.
— I will probably chop up the peanuts next time, there were too many big hard chunks, IMHO. Maybe even using chunky peanut butter would achieve what I'm looking for?
— For me, curry goes fantastic with raisins, so I'll be trying that out too.

Such a great recipe, totally malleable — thanks!

Uhnonee Moose said...

After spending an ungodly amount of time binge-watching Food Wishes, I finally made this for my family and it turned out so gooooooood :D Keep up the awesome work, Chef John!

Mark M said...

Hi John. Great recipe. I decided to add an actual Indian spice to this dish. I added ground Black Cardamom to the recipe. I love Cardamom but a lot of people don't including some Indians. Indian people are very particular about their curries. It's really insane from the people I have met. Some Indians will go visit their friends and will refuse to eat another's families food that's being served. The visiting husband will make his wife bring their own curry with them and cook their food separately. What an insult that would be in a typical American household.

Claire said...

OK, so I make this all the time because it is soooooo good. Daughter took it over to a new mom the other night and she was in heaven. Next day her friend, a local chef, came over to eat and said my God girl, what restaurant made this? And the reply of course was, oh my friend's mom. So yes at some point, I will cop to the truth and say it's not mine it's Chef John's, but right now I'm basking in the glow of a mother finally doing something right. I have tweeted the spices to a curry more to my liking, but otherwise take a bow, Chef John.

Miles'mama said...

I would love to make this dish. My son is allergic to peanuts though, what is your recommendation for a substitute?

Tim Murtaugh said...

@Miles'mama — I don't know what Chef John would say, but my guess is cashews might be a good substitute.