Serves you right

A Thai peanut stir-fry.

With my busy schedule, I confess to cooking the same seven dinners nearly every week. Simple family-pleasers requiring little planning, like Friday night pizza. Seeking a little variety, I recently added stir-frying to the rotation and it’s become one of my favorites.

That’s because it’s quick and versatile, using ingredients on hand. I begin planning my recipe by checking which fresh vegetables need to be eaten first, and also keep a stir-fry veggie blend in the freezer as a back-up. A variety of flavorings with a long shelf life, like soy sauce, teriyaki, hoisin, rice vinegar, and honey are kept in the pantry or fridge. I use a wok to cook in, but a large skillet works as well.

Stir-frying is a Chinese cooking technique that was brought to the U.S. by immigrants in the early 1800s. It wasn’t until the 70’s until it became a popular way to cook at home, as health-conscious people realized the technique was simple and tasty.

To get you started, this recipe has a delicious sauce with a curry flair. The peanut butter thickens it and adds so much flavor.

Chicken Peanut Curry Stir-fry

½ cup creamy peanut butter

• ¼ cup water

• 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

• 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

• 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

• 2 cloves garlic minced

Whisk sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into ½ inch pieces

• 6 cups vegetables of choice, ½” chopped

• ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

• ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

• Prepared rice for serving, preferably brown

1. In a large wok or deep, large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium- high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften.

2. Add the chicken and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fully cooked through and the juices run clear, about 4 minutes. Remove the chicken and onion from the skillet and set aside.

3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then the vegetables. Start with the veggies that take the longest to cook. Sauté until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Return the chicken and onion to the skillet. Add the reserved peanut sauce. Toss to coat evenly, and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

5. Stir in the peanuts and cilantro. Serve hot over rice, topped with additional chopped peanuts and cilantro as desired.

Serves 6

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with NC Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. margie_mansure@ncsu.edu, (828)264-3061

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