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Poached Chicken and Vegetables with Thai Peanut Sauce

Scott Phillips

Servings: 4

A quick-to-make yet perfectly balanced sauce—rich, creamy, peanutty, a little hot, a little sweet, and brightened with lime juice—enrobes tender chicken and fresh-tasting vegetables in pure deliciousness.


  • 1 cup well-shaken canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, preferably natural
  • 4 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Thai red curry paste
  • 1 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice; more to taste
  • 5 oz. baby spinach leaves (about 5 cups)
  • 3/4 lb. broccoli crowns, cut into 1-inch florets (about 4 cups)
  • 2 large carrots, sliced diagonally 1/4 inch thick (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • Kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 490
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 280
  • Fat (g): 31
  • Saturated Fat (g): 15
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Cholesterol (mg): 65
  • Sodium (mg): 1140
  • Carbohydrates (g): 24
  • Fiber (g): 8
  • Protein (g): 36


  • Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot. Have ready a metal steamer basket or bamboo steamer that fits the pot.
  • Meanwhile, whisk the coconut milk, peanut butter, fish sauce, curry paste, brown sugar, and lime juice in a 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until bubbly. Season to taste with lime juice and keep warm on low heat.
  • Cook the spinach in the water until wilted, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a sieve and press on it to remove as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
  • Return the water to a boil. Fit the metal steamer basket or bamboo steamer into or over the pot. Arrange the broccoli and carrots in the steamer, cover, and steam until just tender, about 6 minutes. Remove the steamer from the pot.
  • Add the chicken and 1 tsp. salt to the water. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the chicken poach until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with the sauce.


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Reviews (6 reviews)

  • Cowgirl_Nikki | 01/18/2016

    I followed the recipe exactly and it was the perfect dinner after a heavy pizza lunch! I added an entire lime's juice to the sauce just before serving, and a partial white onion remnant cut in big chunks and steamed with the carrot and broccoli. My first time poaching chicken, too, and that was a neat trick.

  • Elke14 | 08/25/2014

    I really liked this recipe. Since my husband and I like spicy meals I doubled the amount of red curry paste. I also diluted the peanut butter sauce with a little bit of water and used more lime juice than suggested. I would agree with some of the comments below though. The spinach turned out to be clumpy and next time I will reduce the amount of peanut butter a little bit.

  • ihateketchup | 02/26/2014

    Everything was fine with the preparation of this meal until I got to the peanut sauce. I made it exactly like the recipe said (sans the lime juice) and it was decent...too much peanut butter in my opinion. I had no trouble finding all of the sauce ingredients at my grocery store. I should have left the sauce as it was and NOT added any of the lime juice. I can see how that would brighten the flavor of the sauce, but within seconds my sauce was an oily, congealed mess that was completely unedible. Has anyone else had that problem? After I realized I couldn't eat the sauce, I added soy sauce and stir fry sauce to the chicken and vegetables and it was OK. I wouldn't recommend using spinach, either. I couldn't quite get it to spread out through the dish, it was clumpy. I added a red pepper and onions and it was pretty good. I'll try this again since I have all the makings for the sauce, but I will eliminate the lime juice and lessen the peanut butter.

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