The rich flavor of peanut butter lends a distinctive taste and texture when combined with chicken. From Thai food dishes, to barbecue sauces, peanut butter and chicken are a tasty and well loved combination. This peanut butter chicken recipe allows for lot of customization, so you can change it up to suit whatever meal you’re planning that day.
What Makes This Recipe so Versatile?
So many recipes provide you with the ingredients and steps to make a single dish or meal. This is great if you’re just learning how to cook, or if you’ve been taking some cooking courses and are looking to practice your skills. But what happens when you really love the flavor of the dish, but it took too long to make? Or maybe the flavor was good but one of your kids won’t touch rice, or noodles, or someone at the table thinks that cilantro tastes like soap and therefore the whole meal is ruined for that person. This is where having a very versatile recipe that can be adapted and changed is so ideal. Being able to create pizzas, chicken on noodles, or skewered chicken out of the same basic ingredients gives you some options that you can use to make everyone at the table happy. It also lets you stretch your ingredients; rather than using two tablespoons from a jar and having the rest go bad, you can use those ingredients up in just a few weeks by changing the format of the recipe. This keeps dinner fresh and new, while catering to your time and personal taste.
Depending upon what you ultimately do with the recipe, you can also easily change up the ingredients slightly to suit as well. So if someone hates cilantro, you can switch from making Thai peanut butter chicken pizzas, to peanut butter chicken over noodles with little fuss and avoid the ingredient in question.
Beginning and new cooks may also find that using a recipe in this way allows them to hone their instincts for what will taste good in a dish. It’s this kind of intuition and confidence in the kitchen that teaches you how to be a gourmet chef, rather than just someone that follows a recipe to letter each time.
The Basic Peanut Butter Chicken Recipe
This recipe produces a peanut butter sauce that is used to coat the chicken as it cooks. Once the chicken has been cooked in the sauce you can use it to top noodles or rice, or use it as a topping for other things like Thai pizza. If you eliminate the chicken from the basic recipe and just make the sauce, you can use it to coat the chicken before cooking to form several other types of dishes.
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 7 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- Heat the oil in a large skillet.
- Add the chicken and cook on each side for a few minutes until golden brown.
- Add the onion, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and chicken stock.
- Stir and cook on high uncovered until the onions are translucent.
- Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in the peanut butter until the sauce thickens up. If it does not thicken in the first two minutes, add an additional two tablespoons of peanut butter until it does.
- Serve over rice or noodles, or use in one of the many variations.
Variations on the Basic Peanut Butter Chicken Recipe
Because it only takes 15 minutes or less for the basic recipe to cook, you can use it to create numerous other dishes with just a little bit of substitution.
The chicken itself can be cooked as stated in the recipe, or it can be grilled using the cooked sauce to coat the chicken. If grilling, do not cut the chicken up into cubes or small pieces first; allow it to remain whole and cook up the sauce without the chicken. Once the sauce is cooked, coat the chicken liberally, and then grill.
Chicken Skewers are a fun way of presenting the chicken to kids. Just soak some wooden skewers in water while you toss the uncooked chicken with the sauce. Alternate placing pieces of chicken with cut up vegetables onto the skewers and broil for 10 minutes per side. Serve over rice.
Thai Peanut Butter Chicken Pizza
This sauce and chicken makes a great topping for a Thai pizza. When making the basic recipe, add 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and 1/4 cup lime juice to the ingredients, adding them with the chicken stock and tomatoes. After the chicken and sauce is cooked, transfer it to the tops of tortillas, and bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until the tortillas are crisp. Slice with a pizza cutter and serve.
You can also vary the recipe by adding different vegetables either during the cooking process, or just before you serve, such as:
- Red bell peppers
- Sugar snap peas
- Baby corn
Because you can cook the sauce either with the chicken or separately, the list of variations that you can make with it is nearly endless. Don’t be afraid to swap out ingredients for others or to try tossing the chicken and cooking it in a variety of ways, such as broiling, oven roasting, or slow cooking to change the texture and flavor of the dish.
Give It a Try
Having a versatile recipe like this one in your recipe box can make for a fast and easy meal any night of the week. It takes just minutes to throw together, so whether you add all the ingredients to a slow cooker at the start of the day, or make the sauce the day before to coat the chicken with before grilling, it can be a big time saver for busy cooks. Once you’ve tried this peanut butter chicken recipe a few times, you may want to branch out and take some cooking courses to see what else you can tinker with. Try branching out in your cooking and give creative meal planning a try.