If you like chicken satay with peanut butter sauce, you’re going to enjoy this. No need to skewer and grill. Whole chicken thighs, with bones for maximum flavor, are lightly browned and then braised in spices, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. When the chicken is tender, peanut butter is added and the dish is boiled gently until the sauce is rich and thick.
Place the chicken thighs, skin side down, in a hot frying pan. Cook over high heat until the skins render fat and turn brown. Flip to brown the other side. Pour off the fat, if you prefer. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, and sambal olek (or chilis). Pour in the soy sauce, fish sauce, and rice wine vinegar.
Stir the chicken with the sauces and spices. Bring to a boil then lower the heat. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken thighs. Add the peanut butter. Stir to dissolve the peanut butter in the hot liquid. Boil, uncovered, until the sauce is rich and thick. Add black pepper. Season with more fish sauce, if needed. Sprinkle with finely chopped onion leaves and serve with rice or unleavened bread.
Braised Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower
Braising is a cooking method that means cooking slowly over low heat with a small amount of liquid. It is sometimes used interchangeably with pot roasting although purists like to make a distinction. In braising, it is usual to brown and sear the meat before adding any liquid. But the fact that there are braised vegetable dishes makes it obvious that searing is not an integral part of braising.
Why am I talking about braising? Because it is my favorite alternative to frying marinated meat. I don’t like frying because of the mess it makes and I don’t often have enough space in the fridge for marinating meat. With braised dishes, I get the best of both worlds “ highly flavorful meat that is not swimming in watery sauce.
Cook the chicken in a non-stick frying pan until it renders fat and the skins start to brown (if a non-stick pan is unavailable, brown the chicken with about two tablespoonfuls of vegetable cooking oil). Pour in the rice wine. Cover then pan and braise for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is done and the sauce has been reduced to about two tablespoonfuls. While the chicken cooks, cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Blanch in boiling salted water for five minutes, drain then plunge in iced water. To serve, place the chicken on a platter and surround it with the vegetables. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Serve at once.