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Spicy Chicken Peanut Noodles

28 Aug

Many thanks to my friend Erin for introducing me to this recipe.  I’ve made it at least five times this summer.  Grilled marinated chicken topped with a fresh cucumber “salsa” and peanut sauce — yum!  Don’t be discouraged by the laundry list of ingredients.  It’s easy to prepare, and you could even make the peanut sauce and sambal a few hours ahead if needed.  I double the amount of peanut sauce and cucumber sambal.

Spicy Chicken Peanut Noodles

  • 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 8 ounces, weight Dry Spaghetti
  • ¼ cups Dry Roasted Peanuts, Chopped (for Garnish)


  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut Oil
  • ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt


  • ½ cup Chicken Broth
  • ¼ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Garlic Sauce
  • ½ cups Fresh Cilantro, Minced


  • 1 cup Cucumber, Seeded, Diced
  • ½ cups Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • ¼ cups Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ Tablespoons Kosher Salt

Preheat grill to medium-high. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Toss with chicken and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove chicken from grill (or grill pan), and tent with foil while preparing the other ingredients.

Prepare the cucumber sambal by tossing together the sambal ingredients. Set aside till serving.

Cook the pasta according to the package; drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile, prepare peanut sauce. Heat broth, peanut butter, brown sugar, vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, and chili garlic sauce in a saucepan over medium heat to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes. Off heat, stir in cilantro and salt, then pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat.

Top each chicken breast with pasta and cucumber sambal. Garnish with peanuts.

Makes 4 servings


Pre-cooked Chicken

7 Dec

Many casseroles, chicken salads, and pasta dishes call for cooked, shredded chicken.  These are my two favorite ways to pre-cook chicken:

Method #1: Roasting (my personal favorite)

Preheat you oven to 350 degrees F.  Place 4 to 6 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on) skin side up on a sheet pan.  Rub chicken with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Set aside until cool enough to shred, chop, or whatever your heart’s desire.

Method #2: Boiling

In the case you only have boneless, skinless breasts on hand, boiling is the way to go.  In the past I never seemed to take them out before they overcooked, but this method helps ensure they’re nice and juicy.

Bring 1 part chicken broth and 2 parts water to a simmer in a pot.  Add chicken and simmer for 6 minutes, uncovered.  Remove from heat and cover pot.  Let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate and cool 10 minutes.

Note: You can freeze your precooked, shredded chicken for about 3 to 4 weeks, which is a huge timesaver.  A few mintues in the microwave on the defrost setting, and you’re good to go.

Chicken Tikka Masala

7 Dec

When Sam and I have a chance to eat out, we almost always choose an Indian restaurant.  I hadn’t really attempted cooking Indian fare in my own kitchen until my Sept. 2007 issue of Cooks Illustrated arrived in the mail.  Their recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala is delicious and takes the intimidation out of cooking ethnic food.   The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve it over basmati rice and accompanied by naan and a mango lassi.  You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note below for substitution)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
  2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
  4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

*Note: If you don’t have garam masala on hand, you can substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Spicy Coconut-Chicken Curry

7 Dec

I discovered this recipe in one of those free healthy living brochures while in line at the grocery store.  I’m usually leery to try recipes that have not been rated, or at least recommended by someone, as I hate to waste good resources on a bad recipe.  However, this one turned out fabulously.  It’s one of our new favorites and a great way to use bone-in chicken.  If you like Indian food, you’ll love this.  If you’ve never tried a curried stew, prepare to be delighted.

Spicy Coconut-Chicken Curry

6 to 7 chicken thighs, drumsticks, or a combination of both (bone-in, skin-on)
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
a one-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 Tbsp curry powder, preferably Madras
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I omit this if feeding kiddos or adults who shy away from spicy foods.)
1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes, drained
About 1 can (15 oz) light coconut milk, divided
1 cup frozen, thawed green peas
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle both sides with salt.

2. Coat bottom of 5- to 7-quart Dutch oven with thin film of oil and set over med-high heat.  When oil shimmers, add chicken, skin sides down, without crowding; brown in batches if necessary.  Cook until skin is golden brown and chicken releases easily from pot, about 5-8 minutes.  Turn pieces over and cook until they brown.  Transfer browned chicken to plate.

3. When last batch of chicken has been removed, add onion, garlic, and ginger to pot.  Cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add curry powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook for 30 seconds until spices are fragrant.  Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup of the coconut milk.  Stir well and let come to boil.

4. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot.  Chicken should be surrounded by sauce, but not submerged in it, so that topmost skin is exposed.  (If there is not enough liquid in pot, add remaining coconut milk.)

5. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is opaque at bone, about 45 minutes.  Stir in peas and cilantro and cook until peas are hot, about 5 minutes more.  Serve over fragrant rice (basmati or jasmine).

Serves: 4 adults (plus a few kiddos)

Source: Braises and Stews by Tori Ritchie

Photo: Ben Fink