Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chicken Palava (African Peanut Stew)

Are you ready to travel to Africa?  I decided to give this recipe a try because it seemed a bit different.  Surprisingly when you look at the ingredients list its not so the point where I'm not really sure what makes this African.  Either way, it was a pretty easy week night meal and a refreshing change of pace.  I added more peanut butter and hot sauce to the original recipe because I thought the flavor needed a little boost for personal preference.  I brought leftovers to work and the aroma was enough such that my administrator, who sits across from my cube wall, popped her head up and asked me what it was because she said it smelled delicious.

Look closely at the picture below.  You think I served this over rice, I bet.  Well, I'll let you in on a little secret.  That "rice" is really shredded steamed cauliflower!  "Caulirice" as its sometimes called, is a great substitute because it not only helps to cut down on your carb intake, but it also gets in some extra servings of veggies!  Genius!  All you do is to shred your raw cauliflower using a cheese grater or food processor and then steam it (I used the microwave and some veggie steaming bags).  We used half a head for the 2 of us so I guess if you grated the whole head you could serve 4 entree sized portions.  I have to say that I was skeptical (I mean, I LOVE carbs!) but it really was pretty darn good.  You can use it as you would use rice except for when you need it to really absorb.  But as a base for this dish or other Asian dishes (I've even seen it used in fried rice!), it works like a charm.

Give this stew and caulirice a shot today!

Chicken Palava (African Peanut Stew)
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  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, coarsely diced
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach, washed and dried
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil (used vegetable oil because that's all I had)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (omitted)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 6 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Extra brown sugar, salt, and pepper, to taste
  1. Cut chicken breast into 1" cubes.  In a gallon sized ziplock bag or bowl, combine chicken, peanut oil, sesame oil, chili powder, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, thyme, and some salt and pepper.  Put in refrigerator and marinate at least 15 minutes.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  After chicken has marinated, add chicken to hot pan and cook until the outside turns white and loses its rawness.  Add onion and red bell pepper, sauteeing for 5 more minutes.  Stir in peanut butter, chicken broth, and tomatoes.  Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes with the lid off.  Stir occasionally.  Adjust seasoning with additional brown sugar, salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
  4. Add spinach and when it has wilted, turn off the heat.  Serve over rice (or caulirice).
Source: Slightly modified from Kayotic Kitchen

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