Braised Peanut Chicken Curry with Thai Gremolata

February  8, 2014
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

I got the idea for this dish from a fantastic Thai restaurant in Hercules, California. It's just off Highway 80 and a must-stop if traveling from the Bay Area to Sacramento. They have a Panang curry beef (Panang Nuer) on their menu that the waiter described as “homestyle,” that is, slow-cooked. The beef is fall-apart tender, and the dish is topped with a crunchy chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves. To have it once means to crave it forever. I filed the slow-cooked curry idea away for a rainy day. On just such a day, I came up with this recipe. I love to revisit this dish when it's cold-—slow-cooked foods are so comforting when it isn't nice out.
I've posted the Thai Gremolata component as a standalone recipe to Food52 previously, but I suspect it lacked context. This braised curry is the dish for which I developed it, so I'm including the recipe again, as a component of this dish. —indieculinary

What You'll Need
  • For the curry chicken:
  • 1/2 cup red Thai curry paste (preferably Maesri brand, if you can find it)
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil or any neutral oil
  • two 8-ounc cans coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Juice of 1 lime or a chiffonade of 4 kaffir lime leaves (worth it if you can find them!)
  • 1 tablespoon brown or palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • For the Thai gremolata:
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, minced
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro, packed
  1. For the curry chicken:
  2. Preheat an oven to 350º F.
  3. In a wok or large saucepan, stir-fry the curry paste and peanut oil together until the paste is softened and fragrant.
  4. Add the coconut milk and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the peanut butter and whisk to combine as it softens and melts into the sauce.
  6. Add the lime juice or chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves, the sugar, and the fish sauce, whisking to combine.
  7. Simmer for a couple of minutes and then remove the sauce from the heat.
  8. Place the chicken thighs in a Dutch oven and pour the peanut curry over them.
  9. Place in an oven, covered, for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and easily shredded with a fork.
  10. To serve, divide the chicken evening between 8 plates and serve over rice, noodles, or salad, and garnish with Thai gremolata (recipe follows.)
  1. For the Thai gremolata:
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, briefly dry-sauté the minced shallot, garlic, and peanuts, stirring frequently, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Do not leave unattended, or you will risk developing burnt or bitter flavors.)
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Toss the peanut, shallot, and garlic mixture with the lime zest and minced cilantro to complete the gremolata.
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    Claire Hoyt

25 Reviews

Darian September 19, 2020
SO good! I originally flagged this recipe to use up some leftover coconut milk, and am pleasantly surprised to report it will be a reason to BUY coconut milk in the future! I used soy sauce instead of fish sauce due to an allergy, and had chicken breasts instead of thighs on hand. I served over bucatini and it was delicious.
samanthaalison December 16, 2019
This was really delicious, but a little bit too rich. I'd probably sub the second can of coconut milk for broth or water next time. I also subbed cashew butter for peanut butter and cashews for peanuts as my husband is allergic. Super easy and great flavor!
Violet L. February 21, 2018
I prepared this dish last night to rave reviews from my family. I had to make a couple of substitutions from my pantry, but they only enhanced this great recipe. Not having the red Maesri curry paste, I used the white (in the yellow can). I had not tasted this curry before, as we ways use the green or red paste. It is delicious, with a milder but more subtle flavor. I used kaffir lime leaves from my freezer, and the flavor was sensational! I served the dish with the gremolata and hot sauce for those who preferred a spicier flavor. No one used the hot sauce, as the flavor of the curry was extraordinary. I have leftovers today to enjoy all by myself, while other, less fortunate family members are at work. I have given this recipe 5 stars and filed it among my favorite go-to menus. A heartfelt thank you to indieculinary!
indieculinary March 20, 2018
Hi Violet, I'm so glad to read that you enjoyed this! Leftovers are one of my favorite aspects of this dish, too.
juliunruly April 11, 2017
Made this for the second time last night. I cut the coconut milk with water to loosen the sauce up, because I remember it being a bit too thick and rich last time. Added a little extra lime juice, plus some heat with thai chilies. Served with brown rice. No idea how authentic this is, but it's so damn good. Can't wait to make it again. Will definitely add vegetables next time.
indieculinary March 20, 2018
Hi, I clearly missed the boat on responding to this 11 months ago, but I'm so happy to hear it's made it into your rotation! Regarding the vegetables, I often do a side of peanut-oil-roasted eggplant wedges for this dish.
Jenn K. March 8, 2017
I did this in the instant pot (high pressure for 20 min) & it was great. Next time I'll add eggplant and shiitakes so it's a one pot meal (plus rice I guess). Thank you for this!
indieculinary March 8, 2017
Instant Pot, great idea! Eggplant goes very well with this; I often serve it as a side with this dish; cut into wedges and sauteed in peanut oil.
Vanessa R. February 25, 2017
Really wonderful recipe, added a few things to suit my own preferences (quartered mushrooms, eggplant, fresh chiles; subbed chicken stock for a can of coconut milk), cooked with the bone in and shredded into the sauce then tossed like Pad Thai noodles. AMAZING! thanks!
indieculinary March 8, 2017
Glad you liked it!
Sheila K. February 25, 2017
Has anyone yet made this with low fat coconut milk
indieculinary March 8, 2017
I think it should work fine--the peanut butter will still add richness.
kj February 24, 2017
I live near Hercules....What is the name of the restaurant?
indieculinary March 8, 2017
Won's in a shopping center right off the freeway.
Claire H. August 29, 2016
This was great, and easy! Yum. Thanks!
Anne M. May 18, 2016
This sounds delicious! If I were to use boneless breasts instead of thighs, how long do you think I should bake them? I can't wait to try this out!
Lacey January 25, 2016
This recipe was delicious! I made it twice, the first time it was really good, but a little salty, and the second time I bought the recommended brand of red curry paste, and that made quite a difference! Not just in the saltiness, but the flavor was also much better with the higher quality curry paste. It was amazing the second time around, I try a lot of thai recipes but this has to be my favorite! I will be making this recipe regularly.
indieculinary January 25, 2016
So glad you enjoyed it! I swear by Maesri curry paste.
juliunruly June 12, 2015
This has a lot of potential. I thought the sauce needed something extra, perhaps more lime? Some lemongrass? It was also VERY thick and rich, so I'd probably try low fat next time as well. I had to add cayenne for more heat, and will be more prepared with fresh chilies next time. The gremolata was delicious and fun!

Overall a winner, but I'll be tweaking it.
Vanessa R. February 25, 2017
There was the juice of a whole lime in the recipe. I subbed chicken stock for the second can of coconut milk; added quartered crimini mushrooms and baby purple eggplant and fresh chilies. Good call :)
Cheryl June 2, 2015
Delicious! Delicious! Delicious! Very flavorful. I liked the gremolata, but it was a lot of work (comparatively). Maybe I will just use cilantro and chopped peanuts next time. Mine was too salty, but for some unknown reason, I decided to put in 2T of fish sauce. Won't do that again. I used full fat coconut milk, and will use low fat next time. Thank you!
stevemr June 1, 2015
You say to cook the chicken until its shred-able, but you don't say to shred it. Should it be shredded, and returned to the sauce (as in a pulled chicken recipe)? The chicken in the photo does NOT look shredded
indieculinary June 12, 2015
I was just describing the texture you were going for with the chicken. Shred or not depending on your preference.
mollyrowell March 20, 2014
how much peanut butter is needed? It is listed in the instructions - but not in the list of ingredients.
indieculinary March 30, 2014
Sorry about that! I just added it to the ingredients list-- 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons.