Right. So I’ve been meaning to cook this recipe for the longest time, but I’d always not have one thing or the other that I’d need, but you see, one day, when kovs was coming over, I randomly looked in the fridge and pantry and saw that I had nigh on everything for this recipe, and here we are today. Meanwhile, Kovie is dramatic and I will tell you why later.
Now I’m sure you’re probably wondering how on earth do you make a curry out of peanuts. What’s it gonna taste like. Well, it’s easy actually. PEANUT BUTTER. But not that jarred or canned stuff with stabilizers and sugar and fat and emulsifiers and what not. I used completely natural peanut butter that I made. Popularly known as ose oji in igbo. It’s a spicy peanut butter, completely natural, made with peanuts and some spices and seasoning, ground into a paste and that’s it. You can make it at home, but you’d need a food processor and stuff. I however Milled mine at the market. Those mills do a better job of grinding everything and mixing to together into a smooth paste. About the origins of this curry, it’s definitely Asian, it has roots in Indian cooking, Indonesian cooking, as well as Thai cooking. I can’t categorically say where it originated from though. This is obviously my own take on it, but enough story. Let’s get to it.
So, as usual, these are the ings.
About two full chicken thighs, or you can use a pound of any chicken part you like. Breast, deboned thighs.
1/2 of a green, yellow and red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces, preferably squares.
2 red scotch bonnets aka rodo, finely minced (because anybody who knows me knows I consume a ridiculous amount of pepper). You can totally omit this or cut it down to as little as half of one pepper, because the dry spice mix contains pepper as well as the peanut butter.
1/2 of a large onion or one whole medium onion, cut into large chunks.
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced.
1/2 a cup of 100% natural peanut butter.
1 or 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, or any vegetable oil.
Whole roasted salted peanuts and green onions for garnish.
For the spice mix:
One tablespoon each of salt, cayenne pepper(ata Gigun), yaji, curry powder, chicken seasoning (use 2 cubes, crumbled, if you don’t have the already powdered version) and lastly one teaspoon of pepper soup spice. I’m using one teaspoon because it contains very similar ingredients to the yaji.
- First thing you want to do is wash your chicken and pat dry. Then score the skin and flesh, and you can go as far as hitting the bone. This is because you’re not marinating it for long and you want the seasoning to penetrate as much as possible.
- Next thing is to measure out your spice mix in a small bowl, give it a good mix, then use half of it to season the chicken. Make sure you rub it into every nook and cranny and gash you’ve made unto the chicken. Set the other half aside to be used for later.
- Get your saucepan on medium high heat, add the two tablespoons of oil and sear your chicken on all sides until golden brown, but not cooked through. We’re just trying to develop flavour here, and the browning of meats and vegetables and some other things intensifies flavour.
NB: Let me quickly digress for a bit. This is called the Maillard reaction . Something about amino acids and reducing sugars reacting with heat to give browned food its distinctive taste and flavour. So many foods undergo this. Steaks, cookies, vegetables, breads. I mean, why do you think all these things taste so good? Anyhoo, enough chemistry for one day.
- While your chicken is browning, quickly prep your scotch bonnet, mince it as finely as you can, mince your garlic, and chop your onions into fairly large chunks.
- Take out your chicken, and set aside in the plate you put them in when they were raw. Don’t worry about cross contamination since they’re going to go back into the sauce and finish cooking. Then into that oil, add in your onions, garlic and minced pepper and sauté until slightly translucent. This should take anywhere between 3-5 minutes. Constantly stir to avoid burning and this also starts to scrape up all of those brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Then add two cups of water to this, to deglaze the pan properly, still stirring up all the stuck bits at the bottom of the pan.
- Dump in the rest of your spice mix, your chicken and the peanut butter and give it a good stir. Cover and allow to simmer on medium low heat until the chicken is cooked through, and your sauce has thickened. This should take anywhere between 12-20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.
- If you know me, you know that I’ll rather die than eat or serve over cooked bell peppers.
A little dramatic, I know. But please, I really would rather die than eat over cooked bell peppers. I’ll just cry.
- Correct seasoning, even though you’re extremely likely not to need anything extra at this point. Add in your bell peppers, simmer for 15-30 seconds and turn off the heat.
And that’s it. Your spicy (I did tell you somewhere earlier in this post that it was spicy) chicken peanut curry is ready.
I served it with steamed basmati rice, you know, because steamed basmati rice goes with everything. Add a small sprinkle of peanuts and finely sliced green onions and that really is it.
About Kovs being dramatic….. So, I asked her to come and taste it before I plated and shot this meal. She tasted it but didn’t say anything. She then had a second taste, meanwhile I’m standing right there waiting for her to say something, so I asked “what do you think” and she almost didn’t answer me AGAIN. She now said “why are you rushing me? Don’t you know it takes a while to process greatness?” Please, I’m done with her. Whomever wants her can come and carry her.
Love and light.