Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken Breasts with Cilantro and Red Thai Curry Peanut Sauce

This is one of my favorite Phase One recipes with chicken!

(Next up for our Month of Daily Phase One recipes, this amazing and simple recipe with sauteed chicken breasts topped with a sauce flavored with cilantro, ginger, garlic, peanut butter, coconut milk, and red Thai curry paste.  This is one of my all-time favorite ways to cook chicken breasts, first posted in 2007.  The recipe has been needing new photos for a long time so it makes me very happy to be able to give it an update!)

When I featured Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk for Kalyn's Kitchen Picks, along with my recipe for Thai Chicken Soup, I promised another great recipe using coconut milk, and I loved this chicken recipe with coconut milk in the sauce.  The recipe has a few key ingredients which are blended to make a creamy peanut/curry/ginger paste. When you heat the paste and mix with coconut milk and chopped cilantro, the result is a highly flavorful, fresh tasting sauce that really bumps up the flavor of whatever you serve it with.  The sauce was great on chicken, but I think you could also serve it on pork, fish, broccoli, or cauliflower. Any other ideas for using the extra sauce? Let me know in the comments.

I found the recipe in one of my newest cookbooks, Fine Cooking Annual. I got the book at Costco, but it's also now sold at Amazon.com. I totally love this book, no surprise since I love Fine Cooking Magazine. By my reading chair I have a package of brightly colored post-it notes that I stick on pages when I spot a recipe I want to try. The pages of this book are completely covered with post-its!

Trim the chicken breasts so they're all kind of the same shape, cutting off any visible fat or ragged pieces.

Then one at a time, put the chicken breast inside a heavy freezer bag and pound with a meat mallet until each piece is about 1/2 inch thick.

Mince the ginger and garlic, and measure out the peanut butter to make the paste.  (Not shown, rice vinegar, soy sauce, Splenda, chicken stock.)

The recipe called for a food processor, but I used my immersion blender with the small canister attachment that was the perfect size to blend all the paste ingredients.

You'll also need a generous amount of finely chopped fresh cilantro.

Heat the oil, season chicken with pepper, and saute the chicken until it's browned and just cooked through.

Then remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep it warm.

Reduce heat to low and add the coconut milk, scraping the pan to get off any browned bits.  Stir in curry paste mixture and simmer until it's hot, about 2-3 minutes.  

Stir in any juices that have accumulated on the plate and simmer another minute or so, then turn off the heat and stir in most of the chopped cilantro, saving a little to garnish if desired.  Serve chicken with the sauce spooned over.

 And just for fun, here's my original photo of this dish from back in 2007!


Chicken Breasts with Cilantro and Red Thai Curry Peanut Sauce
(4 servings, with lots of extra sauce for another use, from Fine Cooking Annual with slight adaptations by Kalyn)

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thick
2 T peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 T chopped fresh garlic
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter (without added sugar) at room temperature
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not "seasoned" vinegar which has sugar)
2 T soy sauce
2 T Splenda or sugar (use Splenda for South Beach Diet)
1 tsp. red Thai Curry Paste (I like Thai Kitchen brand)
3 T homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
fresh ground black pepper to taste
about 2 T peanut oil (depends on your pan)
1 cup unsweetened lite coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk)
4 T finely chopped cilantro (or more), plus more for garnish if desired

Instructions:
Trim chicken breasts so they are about the same size and remove any visible fat or ragged edges.  Put each chicken breast inside plastic bag or between plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound to even 1/2 inch thickness. 

Finely mince the ginger and garlic.  In food processor or immersion blender canister combine ginger, garlic, peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, Splenda or sugar, curry paste, and chicken stock. Taste to see if you want to add more red curry paste. (I didn't.)

Heat the oil in heavy, large frying pan. Season chicken with black pepper, then add chicken to pan and saute over medium heat about until chicken breasts are nicely browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes on first side, and 2-3 minutes more on second side.  (It's important not to overcook the chicken; it should feel barely firm to the touch when you take it out of the pan.)

Remove chicken to plate and cover with foil. Reduce heat to low and add 1 cup coconut milk. (You can freeze the other 3/4 cup coconut milk for another time.) Scrape off browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then stir in peanut/curry/ginger paste mixture and heat through, about 2-3 minutes.

Add any juices that have accumulated on the pate and cook another minute or two.  Turn off heat and mix in chopped cilantro. Serve the sauce immediately over chicken breasts, with additional chopped cilantro for garnish if desired.


South Beach Suggestions: 
Made with Splenda, natural peanut butter without added sugar, unseasoned rice vinegar, and lite coconut milk, this recipe would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet

More Phase One Ideas with Chicken:
Baked Pesto Chicken
West African Chicken and Peanut Stew with Chiles, Ginger, and Green Onions
Forbidden City Chicken
Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon-Mustard Pan Sauce
Janet's Mustard Chicken
    
More Great Recipes with Chicken, Cilantro and Coconut Milk:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Red Curry Soup with Chicken, Edamame and Cilantro from Christine Cooks
Chicken Curry with Scallions, Peanuts and Parsley or Cilantro from Kuchenlatein
Tom Kha Gai from Tigers and Strawberries
Turkey Green Curry from Je Mange la Ville
Chicken Tropicale with Pomegranate Glazed Green Beans and Portobellos from Gluten Free Goddess
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) 
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81 comments:

  1. Kalyn, your recipe looks wonderful! I think I've seen the low-fat coconut milk at quite a few stores. It's a good idea for me, for some reason this milk will make me... burp, probably the fat content too high, but I adore its flavor though.

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  2. Funny, I just posted about being a Fine Cooking fan too. This curry sauce sounds splendid.

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  3. Yum! I love the combination of coconut milk and cilantro...a match made in culinary heaven, for sure.

    BTW, we love your site!

    -J

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  4. YUMMY!! I love the combination of cilantro,Thai curry and chicken!Photos are fabouous!Thanks Kalyn.

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  5. Even though I've just come from a nice breakfast this looks delightful. Sounds like just the right amount of peanut!

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  6. Gattina, the fat content *is* pretty high in the regular coconut milk, and quite honestly I can't tell a difference in the taste when you use the lite version, so try it.

    Christine, isn't that just the greatest cooking magazine? I'll have to go read what you said about it.

    J, thanks. (Everyone who doesn't know, K & H write a fairly new food blog located in Salt Lake, check it out!)

    Asha, thanks. Thai curry is one of my absolute favorites too.

    Tanna, nothing like reading the food blogs after breakfast to get you hungry again. Do try this sauce; it was fantastic.

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  7. Wow .. that looks fantastic. I'll have to give this recipe a try AND try to find that cookbook!

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  8. Kalyn, I snagged this book at Costco, too, and I absolutely love it!

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  9. Kalyn, cilantro is back in your WHB post :D! Love cilantro, and your lovely recipe, too!

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  10. wow, I see you used curry & peanuts, taste like satay, hmm, I could use this recipe and add some fresh lemongrass herbs to it, yums ! :) Thanks for sharing :)

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  11. Kalyn, this is the best recipe ever. I love red curry and peanut butter, but never had them together before. I cannot wait to try, without cilantro ofcourse :) Thanks for sharing. I have a question : is it brown sugar or regular white sugar that the recipe asks for?

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  12. Kalyn, this looks delicious. I just bought an emersion blender. I'll have to try it out on this receipe. I just have to convince my kids to try Thai curry.

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  13. Alisha, the recipe and cookbook are both keepers.

    Lydia, Ah, Costco! My favorite store.

    Anh, you know I cannot go too long without my cilantro.

    Melting Wok, lemongrass would be great in the curry/peanut paste.

    Burcu, the recipe asks for "mirin or granulated sugar" so I'd say that's white sugar.

    Chigiy, I love my immersion blender. After I got it I wondered how I got along without it for so long. Good luck getting the kids to eat it, although my brother's kids love Thai food.

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  14. I had a beautiful and delicious dinner this evening, and this looks SO good I'm hungry all over again!

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  15. Looks beautiful (lovely colour!) and sounds delicious!

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  16. I love peanut sauce!

    I've never read Fine Cooking ....I'll have to pick up a copy next time I'm in the U.S.

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  17. Cilantro!!!! Boy, that is my kind of recipe. It has all the flavors that I like the best!

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  18. Kalyn, that´s marvellous! The curry sauce sounds fantastic. :))

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  19. This was sooo darn good! I love Thai food and "southwest" flavors and I adore Cilantro!

    The leftover chicken was great for my lunch the next day...I was in heaven.

    I will go to this recipe often. Thanks for sharing it!

    I think I am going to try ity with some green curry paste, too..

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  20. Anna and Pille, it was so delish!

    Katie, Fine Cooking is fantastic, and no ads!

    Sher, me too!

    Helene, the sauce was amazing.

    Cowgirrlup, I think it would be good with green curry too. Thanks for the feedback.

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  21. Does this fit into South Beach Diet Phase 1? I was looking for a recipe for South Beach and came across this page...it seems like it does, but wasn't sure.

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  22. Anonymous, sorry about that. I guess when I get too harried I forget to tell the phase it works for! Yes, this is fine for phase one, except be careful not to buy "seasoned" rice vinegar, which has sugar. It's a great recipe. I loved it.

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  23. I rarely follow recipes to the T so either way this was delicious! All the flavors go so well with each other.

    I am currently on South Beach phase 1 so as a suggestion, you can top the chicken & sauce with raw coleslaw (or just shred some cabbage). The raw cabbage with the sauce gives you the nice texture and crunch of a crispy noodle. Very appropriate for this dish!

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  24. Naomi, very good idea to use some coleslaw or shredded cabbage with this for a bit of crunch!

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  25. Kalyn, I have just discovered your Blog and I love it! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I have been following the South Beach Diet for a while now and whilst I am finding some recipes delicious, I hadn't, until last night, tried any of the recipes on my husband or children. I made this dish yesterday evening and the kids could not get enough of it! My husband did not have a chance to try it. One question though, do you have any nutritional stats for your recipes you post? I know this might be hard to work out! Thank you!

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  26. I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe.

    I chose the South Beach Diet because I didn't want to have to calculate calories, carbs, or points, so if you need that information you'll have to calculate it yourself.

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  27. Kalyn, thanks for this recipe and all the others - I've lost 14 pounds on SB and I would be having trouble if it wasn't for your great site. We've changed this one up a bit to make it more like a regular curry. We cut the chicken into pieces, saute with peppers and onions, add the coconut milk and sauce, and throw in some mushrooms and the cilantro. You could serve it with brown rice but we don't miss it at all. Yummy, yummy, yummy!

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  28. Jennifer, I think that sounds like a great variation. I made this recently with my niece and a friend and we gobbled it up! So glad the blog is helpful for you.

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  29. This was soooo good! I didn't have the natural peanut butter so I had to use regular...but I went easier on the sugar since the pb was sweeter. Definitely can't wait to make this again!

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  30. Michelle I made this recently with my niece and some of her friends and she LOVED it!

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  31. Hi!! sorry my english is very bad but i have a question.
    In mexico we dont have the curry paste. Which you recommend to replace it?
    I have tried some of your recipes and they were wonderful.
    tks!

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  32. Thelma, your English is not bad at all! I'm glad you're enjoying the recipes. Here's a recipe from the web for Red Thai Curry Paste which may help (although you may not be able to find all the ingredients.) You can probably come up with something close though. You could try googling for other recipes too to see if there is one that uses ingredients you can find.

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  33. The Thai Curry Peanut Sauce on this chicken sounds amazing, can't wait to try it as I'm a huge fan of Thai flavors!

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  34. Yummy looking recipe. This week I am going to do phase 1 and this looks like something I would definetly want to try. I just want to ask you about the coconut milk though. Is it really Phase 1? Isn't coconut a fruit? Please pardon my ignorance. Thank you!

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  35. Elena, the newest book (South Beach Diet Supercharged) has a much less restrictive list of foods and it lists "Coconut Milk - Lite" under phase one foods.

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  36. Hi, this recipe is similar to one on the Food Network website from Sandra Lee. I had made that several times prior to starting SB, so I was THRILLED to know that I could still have it with a few modifications! To make it more similar to the dish that you might order in a Thai restaurant, I sauteed large slices of green cabbage in the pan after removing the chicken, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and put them back into the pan with the cabbage and the curry sauce. I then served the whole dish over nicely steamed broccoli instead of rice. I think you could also add some strips of red bell pepper along with the cabbage for some nice color. Most restaurants also use carrots, but you can't have these on Phase 1 of SB. Also, for the benefit of your readers, red curry is NOT like Indian curry, so if you don't like Indian curry you might want to try this. You will be pleasantly surprised! Thanks for posting recipes, it makes Phase one of SB a no brainer!

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  37. Hi Kalyn,

    I'm so going to become a regular poster on your blog! I hope my questions don't annoy you too much =). This recipe looks amazing and I can't wait to whip it up. My question is, once I'm done with phase 1, what would you suggest to serve this with?...and also speaking of SB Phase 1, when you first did it, how soon did you notice weight loss? I've been doing it religously for 7 days now the scale barely budged about 3 pounds...I'm beginning to get a little disheartened...any suggestions?

    Thanks so much,

    Hina

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  38. Any type of rice dish would be good with this; just enter rice into the search bar.

    I first did phase one over 7 years ago, so I can't remember exactly but I think I lost about 8 or 9 pounds in two weeks. I'm not an expert on how the diet works for others though, the only thing I could suggest is to check the book to be sure you're sticking to it.

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  39. I've only been using phase 1recipes from the new book and recipes designated as "Phase 1" or "all phases" from your blog as well as allowed veggies and dips...my appetite has decreased significantly...maybe the weight is coming off slower because I don't have a huge amount of weight to lose (about 20 lbs.) ...I was just hoping you would have some insight based on your experience.

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  40. Kalyn this was really good! I am just starting SB again after doing it 6 years ago and falling (crashing) off the wagon. The big difference is the great recipes that I am seeing that weren't out there before. Yours are definitely more my style of food and I'm so glad you've posted them! Phase 1 will be much less painful because of you. Thanks!
    Jen

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  41. Jen, glad you are enjoying the recipes.

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  42. Hi Hina,
    Glad you're getting that figured out. Yes, I do think this would taste good with almond butter.

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  43. OOPS sorry I accidentally deleted my post...

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  44. Thanks for posting this recipe!! I LOVE it! Made it last night and it was really, really good. I'm already looking forward to making it again!!

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  45. You had me at "generous amount of cilantro!" Can't wait to try this one out. :)

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  46. I can't think of a single dish I wouldn't put a Thai peanut sauce on! This one is going on my list to try immediately.

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  47. I would need to replace the cilantro but I like the idea of the sauce. Agree sliced cabbage would add a nice crunch, or mung beans also.

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  48. Lydia, glad you like it.

    Barbara, I'm sure this sauce will still be delicious without the cilantro.

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  49. That dish looks nothing short of ah-mazing! What about using the extra sauce as part of a chicken satay?

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  50. Coincidentally, I made a very similar recipe last night. Instead of vinegar, though, I used fish sauce, and added a bit of lime juice and a dash of Sriracha. I also use crunchy natural peanut butter instead of smooth. Love this dish!

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  51. Cate, great idea to use the extra sauce for satays!

    Cschaewe, your version sounds great too!

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  52. This looks simply lovely. I love doing exciting sauces over seared meats and have several such chicken dishes. But haven't tried a Thai sauce yet. Can't wait to try it!

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  53. WOW! Love peanut and curry! Looks and sounds amazing!

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  54. Good golly Miss Molly (aka Kalyn) this dish was beyond amazing. We practically licked the dish. Soooo delicious!!

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  55. I just made this for dinner and it was absolutely delicious! I've just graduated college and I cooked this for my mom (a very good cook) and she loved it too! Thanks so much, will be returning to your blog for more tasty meals!

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    1. Lizzy, so glad you liked it! (And congratulations on the graduation.)

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  56. This was a fantastic sauce that I can see myself making again and again. Thank you! One confession: I was feeling lazy, so I didn't pre-chop the garlic and ginger. I just threw it into my mini-food processor with everything else. Save a lone piece of ginger that wedged itself under the blade, everything chopped up nicely, and I was pleased with myself for saving a couple of minutes' work!

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  57. Mary good to know. I'm all in favor of saving time!

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  58. One of my favorite dishes, ever, is a dish called "Masaman Curry with Chicken" from a Thai restaurant near our house. It's pretty expensive though, so we don't have it often. I even requested it as my birthday dinner! I searched and searched the internet for any similar recipe, but never found anything remotely close. THIS IS IT! THIS IS Masaman Curry- I could not be more ecstatic to find one of my favorite things in a recipe I can easily make!!! At the restaurant, they serve this with the chicken in bite size pieces, cooked with chopped red peppers, and then garnished with avocado slices and cashews. And a side of rice. As soon as I took a bite, I ran to the pantry to get cashews and loved every bite! I'll be making this again super soon, and adding the avocado (sounds weird, but it works!) Thank you Kalyn!!!

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  59. So glad you enjoyed it so much!

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  60. This is SO delicious! If you want a peanut sauce recipe, this is it!

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  61. Kalyn, I have enjoyed your blog and recipes for years, but I have to say that this is my favorite recipe so far. I love peanut sauce, and this was better than any sauce I have had in a restaurant. I don't know how you do it, but you come up with some of the most creative and delicious combinations of "legal" ingredients. Thank you so much for your dedication to healthy cooking, which in turn helps so many of us! YUM!

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  62. Sheri, so glad you are enjoying the healthy recipes! I love this one too.

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  63. This was SUCH a hit in my home - thanks for the awesome recipe!!

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  64. I made this tonight over brown rice for dinner and it was DELICIOUS! Thank you for sharing! I think next time I will toss crushed peanuts over the top to add a little extra crunch.

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  65. So yummy! Made this for dinner tonight! I cut the red curry paste to 1/4 tsp because we have a toddler eating it too. That was plenty of heat for us! He just said "yum. It good!" Very pad Thai like. I think I add crushed peanuts next time for some crunch. I had extra cooked angel hair so served it with that and some snap peas. This is a keeper! Super easy recipe too. Thanks for sharing!

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  66. Ahhh~ Perfect for my high fat, low carb diet.

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  67. I just had to stop by and tell you I made this dish tonight and it was OUTSTANDING! I just love any of the satay-type sauces and this one was stellar! Hubby really like this a lot! THANK YOU so much for this addition to my collection!

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  68. I just pinned this because my kids love Thai peanut sauce! Looks good! Thank you for the recipe! Julia

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  69. Oh, and for my little one, who is picky - the chicken goes on a skewer (everything tastes better on a stick)! Will try you sauce. :)

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  70. Julia, hope you enjoy. And how wonderful to have kids with such well-developed taste buds!

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  71. Tried this dish tonight and it was a huge hit!! Thank you so much for posting! I cut teh sugar in half but probably could have omitted the sugar all together and it still would have been amazing!

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  72. I want to make this for dinner tomorrow but im nervous. The sauce sounds amazing but i know theres different types of curry. The only curry ive ever liked is yellow curry from a thai place by home and its very sweet. Is red curry similair?

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    1. I'm not sure how to answer that. Red and Yellow curry are both Thai curries, so in that way they're similar, but each is slightly different. The red curry isn't sweet, but it's delicious. Maybe google Thai Red Curry Paste and Thai Yellow Curry Paste and compare the ingredients to help you decide.

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