Recipe: Thai peanut noodles with chicken

Asian food is yummy! For busy/lazy single folks like myself, Asian food is great because it’s fairly easy to make yet is pretty healthy (I think). Today I made some Thai peanut noodles with chicken for lunch. Here’s how it was done.

The first thing to do is to figure out what ingredients to use. This dish, like most Asian dishes, is balanced and is very versatile – you can change the ingredients yet deliver the same dish. Here’s what I went with today:
– Noodles: Udon (thick Japanese white flour noodles). People normally use egg noodles with this dish, but who cares, as long as it tastes good? 🙂
– Meat: Bone-in chicken thighs, chopped into 3-5 pieces with a cleaver. You can use all sorts of other meats: pork, beef, fish, shrimp, squid, even frog legs…
– Veggies: Cabbage and cucumbers (the only veggies left in the fridge). You can use all sorts of other veggies: broccoli, asparagus, carrots, peas, bamboo shoots, Chinese broccoli, bok choy…

Other cooking ingredients you’ll need:
– Creamy peanut butter – yes, the normal stuff like Jif or Peter Pan!
– Chopped onions
– Garlic
– Soy sauce
– Sugar
– Water or chicken broth
– Oil, like sesame oil
– Optional hot stuff, like hot red peppers or red pepper flakes

Heat up a large, heavy saucepan to high and throw the oil, onions, and garlic on it. We’re gonna do some sautee-ing. Make sure your saucepan is large enough for the meat AND the noodles later on. Once you see some sizzling, put the meat on. I usually put a little water in there too, to get some moisture going. You don’t want a pan that is too dry, especially with chicken (or pork). Also with chicken, I put the lid on and let it go for a bit, to cook the meat thoroughly. For meats like beef, you won’t have to cook it very long.

While the meat is cooking, boil some water in a pot. We’ll cook the noodles there. Put some salt in the water if you’re worried about the noodles sticking to the pot. When the noodles get a little soft, take them out and put them in a strainer. Don’t let the noodles get too soft; it’s better to err on the side of being a little too hard (“al dente” hehe).

Now we’ll prepare the peanut sauce. It’s pretty easy. Scoop out a few tablespoons of the peanut butter into a bowl. Then throw a few teaspoons of soy sauce in the bowl. Also put a little water (or chicken broth) in there. I don’t want to specify quantities since people make different proportions. Not to mention, we always make errors, so it’s best of adjust on-the-fly. The goal is to have enough sauce to cover all your noodles. Start stirring. We want the sauce to be much less thick than the peanut butter, but it still needs to be kind of heavy and sticky so it can stick to the noodles. To thin the sauce, use more water. To thicken the sauce, add more peanut butter. Put peppers in the sauce to your liking.

Once the meat is cooked and the noodles are ready, place the noodles and the sauce in the saucepan, on medium to low heat. Stir and stir. Once the peanut sauce is evenly spread, voila, we’re done! You can do this all in about 20 or 30 minutes. Yum! 🙂

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