Leftover chicken is given new life with a nutty, Thai-inspired sauce and bright cabbage slaw.
Peanut Sauce (also known as satay sauce) is widely used in Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, and African cuisines. And, while it is more heavily Indonesian and Malaysian in origin, in the States we associate it more with Thai food. So, while we are calling today’s dish Thai Peanut Chicken, a more accurate title might actually be Indonesian or Malaysian Peanut Chicken. But, with the addition of the tacos, we figured we have enough of a fusion going on that we can get away with going with a more familiar name.
To make our peanut sauce, we’re starting with actual peanuts. Many peanut sauces will have you use peanut butter, for an American twist on the traditional sauce. But, starting with peanuts (we like dry roasted with as little salt as possible), you bring an extra peanut-y flavor and texture to your sauce. And, since you’re blending the sauce ingredients together anyway, starting with actual nuts as opposed to peanut butter doesn’t take that much extra effort for a much better sauce.
Instead of getting creaminess in the sauce from the extra oils added to peanut butter, we give it a light and slightly sweet creaminess by using coconut milk. Regular coconut milk will give you a thick and rich sauce, if that’s the route you like to go. But, we use light coconut milk, which creates a fresh lightness to the dish and balances out the robust flavor and fat from the nuts.
The list of ingredients may make this dish look complicated to make, but it really comes together very easily, with just a bit of chopping for the slaw and a little food processor work for the sauce. If you’d like to have dinner on the table in even less time, make the slaw and sauce ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator. The flavors will just improve as they set.
We make our sauce in two steps, first the grinding of the nuts to a near-paste with some of the sauce ingredients. Then, once the nuts are fine and the other ingredients are well mixed in, we transfer the mixture to a saucepan. While warming the peanut paste, we mix in the coconut milk to thin it out to a nice, saucy consistency. If you just wanted a nice peanut sauce, you could use a bit less coconut milk and stop here, but we’re going for the peanut chicken today, so we’ve added a bit more coconut milk for a thinner sauce that will really coat our leftover chicken. Adding the chicken to the warming sauce is an easy way to heat up your chicken at the same time.
Since there are two steps for the sauce, you could always create the processed peanut paste ahead of time, and finish it off on the stove just before you are ready to eat.
- 1 c red cabbage, shredded
- 1 c green cabbage, shredded
- 1 carrot, julienned
- ½ small sweet onion, sliced
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ tsp crushed red chili peppers
- 1 c peanuts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp water
- ½ large lime, juiced (2 Tbsp juice)
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ c coconut milk, light
- 2 c cooked chicken, diced or shredded
- 6 6” flour tortillas
- ¼ c chopped peanuts
- Place all slaw ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Let stand while you make your sauce.*
- Place the peanuts in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add garlic cloves and pulse until the cloves are finely chopped and mixed with the peanuts. Add the soy sauce, water, lime juice, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper (depending on your heat tolerance). Blend until a smooth paste forms.*
- Transfer the peanut mixture to a medium saucepan. Add the coconut milk to the peanut mixture and mix until smooth, heating over medium heat. Once the sauce is smooth, mix in the cooked chicken. Continue to cook until the chicken is heated through.
- To serve, pile the chicken and slaw on a 6” flour tortilla. Top with extra peanuts if desired.
Check out the rest of this week’s lineup of quick and easy Weekday Supper dishes.
Monday – Easy Bean and Rice Wraps by MealDiva
Tuesday – Pierogies by Recipes Food and Cooking
Wednesday – Skinny Egg & BLT Wrap by Momma’s Meals
Thursday – Chicken Shwarma Wrap by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Friday – Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos by Curious Cuisiniere