Oh, you thought I was going to do something Irish-inspired? Nah, didn’t feel like doing the cliched thing here. Plus, I sort of did that already with the cottage pie.  Instead, I think it’s time we take a trip to Asia.  This is a quick and easy recipe to make, and it’s not short on flavor at all. Also, it’s Thai-inspired because I use a non-traditional ingredient in place on another.  I’ll explain at the end.  Let’s make some food, shall we? 

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 – 1 ½ Lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped (or grated)
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass puree
  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 bag frozen vegetable mix 
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 ½ tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp to  1 Tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp scallions or green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

First thing is first, let’s get the chicken ready.  Why thighs you ask? They’re the superior meat on a chicken.  They have more flavor and don’t dry out like breast meat does.  Cut your chicken thighs up into 1-inch pieces.  Place into a bowl.  In a smaller bowl, mix ½ of the ginger and lemongrass and 1 of the grated garlic cloves.  See below.

I use my micro-plane to grate the garlic and ginger.  Be careful with the garlic, you don’t want to grate the tips of your fingers.  Once they are mixed up well, add it to the chicken and toss so all the chicken is coated. Cover with plastic and let sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours.  You can start to prep the sauce and the vegetables (well, onion and scallions, really) while the chicken is hanging out in the fridge.  Chop your red onions and scallions and put them aside. In a small bowl or decent-sized ramekin, combine the peanut butter, fish sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and the rest of the ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. Mix well. Taste it.  Add more vinegar or honey if you think it needs it.  You have different tastes than me.  Make it your own!

Now you may find yourself asking yourself, “how do I work this”.  You may ask yourself, what the heck is this water for?  The water is because most likely, that sauce is going to be too thick.  Add as much water as you want to make the sauce the consistency that you want.  Now, put it aside.  Take a large sauté pan and put it on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil.  Once the oil gets to temperature, throw the red pepper flakes in.  This lets the pepper oil get into the canola oil and really wakes up the flavors and spice.  Now, add the chicken.  Cook until it is golden brown on all sides and each piece is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the heat and add the red onions.  Cook until they get a bit translucent, something around 3-5 minutes.  Make sure to keep them moving so they don’t burn.  Now, dump the bag of frozen veggies into the pan.  Yes, you can use fresh vegetables.  I actually have used fresh veggies in this recipe.  It’s great either way.  Once the vegetables have cooked enough that they are hot and cooked through, add the chicken back in. 

Toss the chicken and veggies together and then add the sauce.  Toss until the sauce is coating all of the chicken and veggies.  Kill the heat. Scoop out a good bowlful of your Thai peanut chicken stir-fry into a bowl.  Top with a nice handful of scallions and enjoy!

Thank you for reading.  I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it.  Remember, it’s simply a foundation.  Sometimes, I use limes instead of rice vinegar, mainly because limes are much more traditional in Thai cooking. Now you know why it’s only Thai-inspired!   Maybe you want to use brown sugar instead of honey.  Go for it.  Whatever you do, make it sure you like it.

The next two columns will be a two-parter. The first will be a side dish which, and I can’t believe I’m saying it, is vegan friendly and the second will be the main dish, which is decidedly NOT vegan friendly.  Until then, have a great month!  Happy Spring, all!

Yield: 4 servings

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...