Peanut Butter Chicken

Servings : Serves 4-5

This is an African comfort food, ideal during cold weather. The somewhat exotic combination of chicken with peanuts and sweet potato cooked to form a spicy creamy curry makes for one amazingly flavourful meal.  I normally serve this over plain boiled/steamed white rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg chicken pieces, preferably thighs/drumsticks (but any pieces will do, even boneless chunks)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger paste/grated ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp garlic paste/minced garlic
  • 500gm sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks (you can use regular potatoes)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste/puree
  • 1-2 green or red chillies, chopped (optional for extra spice)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water (if using water, add 1 chicken bouillon cube to the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (you can use smooth but I prefer the texture with chunky)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder or red chilli powder, or to taste
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp chopped coriander
  • a squeeze of lime juice (optional)

Instructions

Pat dry the chicken pieces then sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper.  Make sure the chicken is at room temperature. I prefer using chicken on the bone for the added flavour, but you can go with boneless chicken thighs if you like.

Heat the oil in a large pan and brown the chicken pieces. Avoid crowding the pan, you can brown the pieces in batches. Remove into a bowl, cover and set aside.

Add the onions in the pan and saute for a few minutes until they begin to brown. Then add the ginger and garlic and fry for another couple of minutes until fragrant. Then add the fresh chopped tomatoes and tomato paste plus the chilli powder or cayenne, turmeric powder, coriander powder, crushed bouillon cube and some salt. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy.

Next add the sweet potato chunks and stir them well.  Allow them to simmer in the tomato mixture for a couple of minutes on medium heat.  You can splash in a little broth or water if the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Now put the peanut butter in a bowl, add some water or broth to it and whisk with a fork to combine. Add the peanut butter mixture plus the chicken pieces and remaining water/broth in the pan.  Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes. Make sure to keep checking and stirring to prevent the curry from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The peanut butter will thicken the sauce as it cooks.

Finally check that the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. Adjust salt/pepper and squeeze in a bit of lemon/lime. Then add fresh chopped coriander and give it a final stir. Turn off the heat and serve over steamed rice.

Enjoy!

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