When I was a kid, my favorite dinner, the one I would request for my birthday, was Peanut Chicken. It was a recipe my mom got from her best friend and it was pretty exotic fare in our home. I’ve never had a Thai inspired peanut sauce dish that beats it and this birthday, I made it with my mom so I could learn how. There are several steps but it is worth it for a nice occasion or as a Sunday prep for a week’s worth of lunches. Once the chicken is simmering, go ahead and pull the cilantro leaves off the stems (a good kid friendly kitchen task) and begin making the sauce. This recipe would serve 4-6 based on the appetites. PS, if you don’t like cilantro, don’t even try this — It’s all about the cilantro!
2 lb chicken breast (preferable bone in but boneless works too)
1 whole green onion, chopped in half
1 quarter size slice of fresh ginger, crushed with the side of the knife
1 Tbsp. Dry sherry
1/2 tsp each salt and sugar
2 cups water
1/2-3/4 head of shredded iceberg lettuce or chopped salad mix
Peanut Sauce (see recipe below)
Place chicken in a 2 qt pan with the split onion, ginger, sherry, salt, sugar and water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken to cool. Strain broth for soup if desired. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, discard skin and shred meat. Thinly slice the iceberg lettuce. Serve immediately or chilled, with shredded chicken over a bed of lettuce drizzled (or slathered, if you’re me) with peanut sauce. If you’re making ahead for lunches, store greens, chicken and sauce separately until you’re about to eat.
Peanut sauce ingredients:
A generous 1/3 cup of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1/3 cup of salad oil of choice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 bunch green onions, trimmed
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves removed from stems
Using a food processor, chop cilantro finely and put aside in a bowl. Then do the same with the green onions, keeping them separate. Put all other sauce ingredients in the food processor and run until well combined in a smooth sauce. Add half the cilantro and green onion in and taste. Add as much of the remaining cilantro and green onion as you like to taste. Blend until well combined.