One of the first dishes I perfected – at least to the point where I felt confident serving it to others – was thai peanut chicken lettuce wraps with red and orange peppers and jasmine rice. It was my go-to for dinner guests. Since my current list of potential dinner guests aren’t fans of this type of dish I haven’t made it in a long time. For dinner tonight I decided to bring it back, of course, in the spirit of trying something new, I mixed it up a little.
This afternoon I let Jillian Michaels kick my ass then headed to class and a meeting (showered first, of course). So when I got back I was super hungry and ready for dinner. For the first time in weeks I had no idea what I wanted to make. So I opened the fridge, grabbed the chicken I defrosted, and then went searching. I looked in the cabinet [yes, I only have one :)] and saw a box of “Boil-in-Bag” brown rice my mom tried and hated so passed down to me – I decided to use it. Then I opened the freezer and saw half a bag of frozen “stiry-fry vegetables” (broccoli, snap peas, baby corn, peas, carrots) and decided all I needed was a sauce. That’s when I remembered the peanut sauce!
GASP! Yes, this is a bottled sauce that I doctor up. I am going to try making my own next time I make something like this since I recently found a recipe that looks great. As much as I wish everything I ate was homemade, farm-raised, organic, local, etc. etc. it’s not in the time or money budget right now – but hopefully one day!
Anyway, here it goes…
What you’ll need: (this was for 2 servings, I packed up the rest for tomorrow)
- 1 Boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 C. Veggies (really anything you like would work fine!)
- 1 C. Brown rice (I used boil-in-bag but more power to ya if you don’t!)
- 3 T. Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce
- 1 T. Minced garlic
- 2 T. whole peanuts (I used roasted, any will work)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (only if you like serious heat!)
- Salt & pepper to taste
What you’ll do:
- Get your rice cooked or started cooking so that it’s ready when you need it – this will vary based on type of rice and cooking method.
- Spray your grill pan (or a regular pan if you don’t have a grill pan) with non-stick spray and preheat on medium-high.
- Tenderize your chicken breast and season with salt and pepper.
- Once the pan is preheated (chicken should sizzle on contact) add the chicken to your pan.
- Once you can see a white rim around the edge of your piece of chicken, flip and cook for a few more minutes (cook time varies based on size and thickness of your meat – make sure it is white all the way through)
- Add 1 T. minced garlic to the pan (fresh or refrigerated will both work)
- Once the chicken is cooked, cut in to bite sized pieces (leave in the pan, or remove from pan to cut and return to pan)
- Add the veggies.
- Crush peanuts in a ziploc bag and add 3/4 of the crushed mix to the pan.
- Once cooked thoroughly (everything is hot), remove pan from heat and add 2 T. of the peanut sauce & a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Toss to coast.
- Plate 1 C. of brown rice, making a layer in the center of the plate (I like to make beds for my food, I have come to realize)
- Now plate half of the chicken/veggie mixture on top of the bed of rice.
- Garnish with remaining crushed peanuts.
Warning: The sauce is already spicy – so you may want to try it before adding the red pepper flakes.
Substitutions: Gluten-free? Check the sauce & if you’re in the clear you could definitely sub quinoa for the brown rice! Vegetarian? Skip the chicken! I will most definitely be trying a meat-free version of this dish!
Serving Suggestions: There are 2 ways I would suggest eating this. First of all, the way I described above and the way it is pictured here. 2. In a lettuce cup. This just means using a romaine lettuce leaf like a taco shell: top it with rice, then chicken/veggie mixture, fold and eat! LOVE lettuce cups!
The sauce is smooth and spicy, the chicken is tender and moist, and the veggies are crunchy. The garlic adds a little extra punch of flavor. Not to mention the super crunchy peanuts! As you know if you’ve been reading, I have recently realized that I love homogeneous mixtures. This one is super great because I love love love all of the different flavors and textures that come together.
This meal is also pretty economic! Chicken, rice and frozen veggies are pretty inexpensive, and I got the sauce at Walmart for less than $3. Not too shabby!
Gadget: I LOVE my Williams Sanoma meat mallet/tenderizer! It is very heavy, which makes it easy to crush things that are difficult to crush (peppermint sticks, for example) with little effort. The bottom part screws on and off so you can decide whether you want the pointed or smooth end. It is shown here with the smooth side down after I crushed up the peanuts.
Do you like Thai food? What’s your favorite?
What’s your favorite go-to sauce? (Mine is tzatziki lately)