Braised Peanut Chicken Curry with Thai Gremolata

By • February 8, 2014 10 Comments

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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

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Serves 8

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
  1. Preheat an oven to 350º F.
  2. In a wok or large saucepan, stir-fry the curry paste and peanut oil together until the paste is softened and fragrant.
  3. Add the coconut milk and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the peanut butter and whisk to combine as it softens and melts into the sauce.
  5. Add the lime juice or chiffonade of kaffir lime leaves, the sugar, and the fish sauce, whisking to combine.
  6. Simmer for a couple of minutes and then remove the sauce from the heat.
  7. Place the chicken thighs in a Dutch oven and pour the peanut curry over them.
  8. Place in an oven, covered, for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and easily shredded with a fork.
  9. To serve, divide the chicken evening between 8 plates and serve over rice, noodles, or salad, and garnish with Thai gremolata (recipe follows.)

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. 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.)
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Toss the peanut, shallot, and garlic mixture with the lime zest and minced cilantro to complete the gremolata.

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