Satay lovers stop right here! I love chicken satay, or anything with peanut sauce, but it takes a while to thread the meat on the skewers, cook up the peanut sauce, marinate, etcetera etcetera. These chicken thighs in a spicy Thai-style peanut sauce are cooked in one baking dish … and you can prepare it and have it on the table in under an hour!
I often have a Saturday morning cooking show on in the background while I’m pottering around, and one regular little feature they do is have a celebrity face their ‘food heaven’ and ‘food hell’.I enjoy this, although strangely I mostly find myself mouthing ‘mmm’ at their food hells and ‘yuck’ at their food heavens!
Maybe you can guess roughly what I’m going to say next … pretty much any meal with peanuts in it is my food heaven. I’m also a huuuge fan of quick one-pan chicken meals, for quite a few reasons (hardly any time, hardly any washing up, shove in oven and forget etc. etc.).
Now I know you’re sitting there wondering what my food hell is! Well, the one that immediately jumps to mind is the big fat sausage of black pudding type stuff (called boudin) that I was once virtually force-fed in France. It’s a whole story, but even now I can remember the awful taste and it makes me feel a bit queasy, so I think I’d better get back onto the delicious peanut dish instead!
So … this spicy Thai peanut chicken. Oh, spicy Thai peanut chicken, you are adorable! And if you like chicken satay, I think you will DEFINITELY find it adorable, too. As I was eating it, the phrase ‘spicy Thai peanut chicken, where have you been all my life?’ kept running through my mind. I didn’t want the meal to end. Honestly, it was DE-licious times about 50.
The best thing is it took hardly ANY effort to make at all. It’s one of those meals that pretty much makes itself. You just whisk together a sauce of peanut butter, coconut milk, chicken stock, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, fresh red chili, garlic, honey & ginger (no pre-cooking of anything in the sauce required), then pour the whole lot over chicken thighs and bake for just over half an hour.
And that’s it. Done. Just spoon the chicken and sauce into a nice serving dish, sprinkle over colourful chopped green spring onions, red chilis and extra crushed peanuts chopped up in a mini food chopper/processor (and lime if you aren’t as dim as me and actually remember!) Then serve with rice and maybe a simple green salad and a bit of something like naan or popadoms to mop up all that lovely sauce. And let me tell you there is a LOT of sauce, because that’s how we like it around here!
I should have called this post ‘Thai-style’ because there are other ingredients I probably should have added to the recipe if it was going to be considered real Thai! But as usual I wanted to keep things simple, so the recipe is good enough for me as it is.
I actually think this would be a great dish to serve to guests – so long as no one is allergic to peanuts, of course. Or regards peanuts as their food hell. OK, so maybe check that … 😉
One more word of warning. I stupidly forgot to wear gloves when chopping up my chilis. Yup, total rookie mistake. So … ooouch! Aieee! Ooooh! Moments after finishing eating, my hands were on fire. Literally – or that’s how it felt. No word of a lie, I had to sit there on the couch with my hands in a glass of cold water to try to cool them down. They hurt ferociously for HOURS. So please do try making this yummy meal, but DON’T DO THAT.
Lastly … I can’t resist asking. Food heaven? Food hell? What are they for you?
Serves: 3 to 4
- ¼ cup (65 grams/2.2 ounces) peanut butter
- ¼ cup (60 ml/2 fl. ounces) soy sauce
- ¼ cup (60ml/2 fl. ounces) coconut milk
- ¼ cup (60ml/2 fl. ounces) chicken stock, blended into 2 tablespoons corn flour
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- large thumb-width piece (at least) of fresh ginger, peeled & grated (I added a bit more than this!)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (I used Japanese mirin, but Chinese is fine, too)
- 2 small red chilis
- 675 to 700 grams/24-25 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I used 10 smallish ones)
- about 3 spring onions, chopped finely
- large handful peanuts (salted is fine), crushed in a food processor or bashed with a rolling pin in a plastic bag
- 1 more red chili, chopped finely
- lime wedges
- rice or rice noodles to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180C/355F.
- Slowly blend the soy sauce into the peanut butter in a jug or medium bowl, then blend in the coconut milk & stock/corn flour. Stir in the garlic, ginger, honey, rice vinegar & chilis.
- Arrange the chicken thighs in a large baking dish, then pour the sauce all over them. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for about 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce bubbling and thickened a little (10 minutes before the end of cooking time, remove the foil, spoon the sauce all over the chicken again and then return to the oven uncovered - you might need to cook for a tiny while longer depending on the size of your chicken thighs. Also see notes below for another tip!)
- Spoon the chicken and sauce into individual bowls over rice or rice noodles (or into one nice larger serving dish with a separate bowl of rice/noodles) and sprinkle the spring onions, peanuts and remaining chili over. Eat immediately with lime squeezed over.
Use gluten free soy sauce & chicken stock to make this dish gluten free!
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