Peanut flowers bloom just like any other flower. On a stem, above ground. But what happens next is curious: when that flower is ready to fruit it actually buries itself in the earth, where then it forms a peanut (what we eat).
This blew my mind when I first heard it. Sure, we've all heard that peanuts are beans. But no one talks about this incredible fact that their flowers actually dive into the dirt to fruit! I feel like we've all been underselling the humble peanut as "just a bean," when all along it's been performing this miraculous fruiting routine.
If you now want to get on wikipedia and read everything there is to know about peanuts, I totally get you. I recommend this podcast because it's where I first learned about peanuts' odd behavior. BUT! Before you head off to become a Peanut PhD, I recommend you prepare yourself with something delicious. And preferably, something peanutty.
This nouveau peanut chicken recipe has a little bit of everything: it's partly inspired by traditional Thai peanut satay sauce. It's a little bit east-Asian, and a lot a bit Western creativity. It's different and fun, and pairs well with a side of roasted eggplant.
To round out the Asian-inspired flavors, this peanut crusted chicken is served with a ginger and sesame dipping sauce. (That's what you see in that tiny blue tea cup--not tea!).
So go forth, prepare a nutty meal, and learn everything there is to know about peanuts. They are fascinating. Report back with your findings!
Ok. I KNOW this recipe has *quite* the ingredient list. But! I believe in you! You do not have to be a magician in the kitchen to make this recipe work. If you are very overwhelmed by this ingredient list, ignore the vegetables and the garnishes, all of those are just for fun.
Serves: 4 | Total Time: 45 minutes
For the chicken:
- 1 pound chicken cutlets
- 1 egg
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil For the vegetables:
- 4 baby bok choy, washed and halved
- 2 cups sliced eggplant (1/2 inch thick sliced)
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
- Salt to taste
- 2 cloves garlic Dipping sauce:
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- Dash of red chile flakes To Serve:
- 1 serrano chile, sliced thin
- Daikon radish, sliced
- Cilantro leaves
- Rice or cauliflower rice to serve
- Make the chicken: Pre-heat oven to 450°F. Grease a baking pan with the 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Whisk egg until it is a solid yellow color. Then, prepare the peanuts: place peanuts in a food processor and pulse until they are the texture of breadcrumbs (do not over pulse the nuts, as you’ll just make peanut butter). Place chopped nuts on a plate, and mix with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Working with one piece at a time, coat chicken in egg mixture, and then coat with peanuts. Place each piece of chicken on the baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken is coated. Then, place baking sheet in oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until peanuts are golden and chicken is cooked through (test a piece with a knife).
- While the chicken cooks, prepare the vegetables: heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Once the oil sizzles, add eggplant. Cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, until it it tender and golden on each side. Add garlic, and cook for 3 more minutes. Move eggplant to a plate. If pan is dry, add 1 additional tablespoon of coconut oil to pan. Turn burner to low, add the bok choy, and place lid on pan. Cook bok choy for 5 minutes, or until green part are bright in color and white parts are tender. Turn off heat.
- Make the sauce: Combine ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl.
- Serve chicken and veggies on plate over rice or cauliflower rice (optional). Top with daikon radish, serrano chile slices, and cilantro. Serve with dipping sauce, and Sriracha if desired.