Peanut Chicken Skewers (or not)

When I saw this recipe in a recent Real Simple, I knew I had to make these for Matt. I realized that the skewers I thought I was going to make these on were far too long to use, so I ditched the skewers and just made little chicken nuggets. They were good! Jack Henry, who doesn’t eat anything, was intrigued enough to take a couple of bites but didn’t actually eat one. The boys thought they were just so-so, but Matt and I really liked them. I’ll note the changes I’m going to make next time after the recipe.

3/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley (I had to use dried parsley because I had no fresh herbs)
kosher salt and black pepper
2 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 24 thin strips
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
24 6-inch bamboo skewers

On a large plate, combine the peanuts, bread crumbs, cilantro, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Thread each strip of chicken onto a skewer and coat with the peanut mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere.

In batches, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook the skewers until golden, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate as they are cooked and add more oil to the skillet as necessary.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and chili-garlic sauce. Serve with the chicken.

My changes:
1. Obviously, no skewers. And that was fine.
2. Next time, I’m not making the mayo mixture. We didn’t love it, but we DID love just using the Thai sweet chili sauce that we had in the fridge, and the boys loved it with sweet and sour sauce (I love World Harbors brand – it’s at our Superwalmart and grocery stores).
3. I think I’m going to use half peanuts, half walnuts next time. For one, we always have walnuts in the house (not so for peanuts) and walnuts have some actual health benefits, even though the difference would be minor in this recipe.
4. MAKE SURE you cut the chicken fairly thin, whether you plan to skewer it or not. That’s more important than how big the piece actually is, as it will cook faster when it’s thin.
5. Next time, I’ll use less oil. These won’t have to actually be fried on the outside to be good, because the panko helps keep them crispy! With just enough oil in the pan to keep them from sticking, it’ll be fine. I used peanut oil, but you could use canola or olive, too.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sara luke
    Jan 24, 2010 @ 18:23:24

    I did half honey roasted peanuts (because that’s what I had) and half walnuts and they were delicious. But I did have a rough time getting the breading to stick.


    • Nicole
      Jan 24, 2010 @ 22:09:34

      Yeah, I definitely had to press the coating on there pretty good…glad you liked the peanut/walnut combo! I’ll do that next time for sure.


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