Peanut anything is almost always a winner with me. I love peanut butter with chocolate, peanut butter and jam, peanut butter popcorn – I could go on forever but I’m sure you get the drift. For a long time though, peanut satay has been a bit of a nemesis. Allergies and an over-abundance of chilli means I’ve pretty much steered clear of most commercial satay sauces. If you’re interested, you can read a little more about that here. When I began to formulate this recipe, I had a lot of things to consider – gluten free, lactose free, shellfish free and little to no garlic. Not spicy, because I don’t do spicy and neither do the kids. Versatile, and above all delicious.
I’m pretty proud of the results. This sauce takes a lot of influences from a lot of different recipes, and is the culmination of nearly half a pad of post-its. When I cooked it at home, I wanted it for a meal. I’ve delivered the recipe here as it was when I first made it, but I’ve also used this as a dipping sauce for snacks and a condiment with my steak and three veg. You could probably even spread it on toast, if that’s what suits you. It warms up to a pourable consistency, and sets to a cream cheese-ish consistency when kept in the fridge.
I cooked this with lactose free milk, because that’s what I had, but you could also use coconut cream if you prefer. For those with fructose, chilli and particularly garlic concerns, the curry paste I buy is beyond mild, and has minimal garlic. The small amount I put in the sauce doesn’t upset me, but if fructose and/or garlic is an issue for you, then be sure to choose a curry paste that’s suitable. If there isn’t a curry paste that works, then simply leave it out and adjust the soy/sugar/honey balance (maybe add a squeeze of lime juice if you have it, and some coriander) until you are happy with the flavours. I like the addition of the curry paste because it saves me getting fiddly with the herbs and spices in my cupboard, and when you’re cooking for a hungry family on a time limit whilst balancing a teething toddler on one hip, well, you take the easy way out. Similarly, if you want this to be spicy, you can use a hotter curry paste, or add some chilli at your discretion. If you need a little advice on substituting ingredients, check out my substitution guidelines.
Piper enjoyed eating this meal with her plastic spoon/fork. (splayde. spork. whatever.) I poured just enough sauce on her meal that when it stirs through the meat and rice, everything clumped together and was easy for her to scoop. If your little one isn’t up to using cutlery, don’t worry – if it’s clumping together they will easily scoop it up with their hands.
Friendly Peanut Satay
Chicken, Veggies and Rice
- 1 x large chicken breast
- 1/2 a head of broccoli
- 2 x medium carrots
- 1 x cup rice (or less if you know exactly how much your family will eat)
- Oil / butter
- Pinch of Salt and Pepper
- Pinch of paprika
- Pinch of Coriander (dried or fresh, depending on what you have)
- Cook your rice according to the packet directions, or by your preferred method. I usually do mine in the microwave: Put the rice in a large, microwave safe jug and add 2 cups of water. Give it a little stir and microwave on high for 5 minute intervals, stirring every time it beeps, until ready. For white/arborio rice this is usually about 15 minutes but that may depend on your microwave. Brown rice takes a little longer.
- While the rice is cooking, wash and chop the carrot into long, thickish sticks, as though you were making chips. Wash the broccolli and cut it into florets of a comparable size to your carrot. Heat a frypan with some butter or oil, and put your veggies in over a lowish heat.
- Chop your chicken breast into cubes or rectangles of a comparable size to your vegetables. I find slightly smaller works better, especially if little people are handling the meat.
- When the vegetables are starting to become tender, add the chicken to the pan with a little extra butter or oil. At this point, season well with salt and pepper (adjusting the pepper according to your preference) and a little pinch of paprika. Add a sprinkling of coriander and stir everything up. The meat and veggies should have a nice coating of herbs (add more if you think it needs it. Cook, stirring, over low to medium heat until your chicken is cooked through. You will know because the juices run clear, or the meat is white all the way through when you cut a piece of chicken open. I always check the largest piece I can find, because if it’s done then it’s safe to say the rest is ready, too. Try not to overcook the chicken or it will be dry and hard.
- Spoon the rice into individual bowls and either top with the chicken and veggies or spoon it alongside like I did. Now it’s ready for saucing!
Friendly Satay Sauce
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 tsp honey (plus extra)
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1tbs sugar
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp curry paste
- 3/4 cup milk (or 1 x can coconut milk or cream)
- Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and mix carefully until combined. At this stage it will be almost a water-like consistency, but remember it will thicken when heated. If you are using coconut milk, add about 3/4 cup and see how it looks. If you want the sauce looser, add more. Taste, and add more honey as necessary. I originally made this with 1 tbs of honey (oops) and it was still delicious, but I wouldn’t recommend any more than a tablespoon or the honey will overpower the other flavours.
- Put the saucepan over a low heat and stir continuously until it thickens. This should take about 5 minutes or so. Resist the urge to turn the heat up, particularly if you are using lactose free milk as it splits very easily when overheated.
- When the sauce is hot and has thickened, turn off the heat. Pour it into a jug and serve!
It’s up to you whether you make the sauce before, after, or during the other part of the meal. I made mine before, poured it into the jug and let it sit on the table for a few minutes. The leftover sauce will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week (that’s about how long it took me to eat my leftovers). Either reheat it in the microwave, or eat it cold.
Adjust the meat and vegetables dish to suit what your family likes. You could easily omit the chicken and add more veggies to make this a vegetarian dish, or change the vegetables around depending on what the family prefers.
As always, use whatever butters, milks, oils, spices etc are suitable for your dietary requirements. If you choose to omit the curry paste, adjust the balance of soy and honey until you are satisfied with the taste.