A traditional Thai dish inspired this easy stir-fry perfect for dinnertime. Chicken Satay Stir-Fry, anyone?
Have you ever fallen into a cooking rut? When it seems like I am cooking the same dishes again and again, everything begins to feel so boring.
The challenge is to break out of that cooking rut. A few weeks ago, I unwittingly broke out of a rut simply by challenging myself to cook only from what I had in the house for a week. My kids and I were about to leave for vacation, and I didn’t want to leave a stocked kitchen while away. Suddenly, I found myself thinking creatively in the kitchen again — because I had to. Instead of the usual dishes on repeat, we dined on a new recipe for tuna pasta that was a huge hit, a turkey meatloaf that my kids devoured, eggless cookies and more.
Not only did I stamp that rut away, but I cleared a ton of space in the pantry, fridge and freezer so when we returned we could refill it with a new round of foods that also sparked more creativity.
At some point during that week, I started to think about chicken satay, a traditional Thai dish where marinated chicken is served on skewers with a salty-sweet peanut dipping sauce.
Though I’ve always grilled the dish in the past, I wondered if it could maybe be adapted to a stir-fry with lots of veggies and the essence of the meal I’ve loved since I was a teenager. After a little experimentation, it was a success. Tender chicken marinated in the traditional peanut-soy sauce marinade is cooked in a skillet to juicy perfection. Then fresh veggies are stir-fried to crisp-tenderness and it’s all mixed together.
Serve this with a drizzle of the peanut dipping sauce that usually accompanies satay, and a sprinkle of peanuts and cilantro. It’s perfect on a bed of rice, rice noodles or even grains like farro or freekeh.
What I love about this version is that it’s a little easier than the traditional dish since you don’t have to fuss with soaking skewers or threading chicken onto them. Plus, the addition of a load of veggies makes it a perfect one-recipe meal.
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- ⅓ cup soy sauce, plus 2 tbsp, divided
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter, plus 2 tbsp, divided
- ¼ tsp hot sauce
- 1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups cut vegetables, such as snow peas, red peppers and carrots
- 2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp chopped peanuts
- In a large bowl, whisk together the canola oil, ⅓ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup peanut butter and hot sauce until smooth. Be patient, this will take a few minutes but it will be fully combined when you are done. Add the pieces of chicken breast and stir to coat. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour (this can marinate all day, if desired).
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Once the pan is all warmed up, add the chicken, discarding any excess marinade. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pan and toss well. Let cook for an additional 1 minute, then remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining soy sauce, peanut butter, seasoned rice vinegar and ground ginger until smooth.
- To serve: arrange chicken and vegetables on a platter and drizzle with prepared sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts. This can be served over rice, rice noodles or other grains.