Chef John's Peanut Curry Chicken


My peanut chicken curry recipe doesn't follow a specific recipe from any particular country or culture; instead, it's a simple composite of every peanut curry I've ever come across. I didn't use coconut milk, as I feel that's a little too sweet and rich for the peanut butter. I love how this came out, and I can't imagine it being any richer.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins


Spice Blend:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 2 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

  • 3 ½ cups chicken broth, or to taste

  • ¾ cup unsweetened natural peanut butter

  • ½ cup ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

  • 1 pound zucchini, cut into chunks

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into chunks

  • 1 medium green poblano pepper, diced

  • ½ cup roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish

  • 2 cups hot cooked rice

  • 1 medium lime, cut into wedges

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. Make the spice blend: Mix salt, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.

  2. Make the curry: Place chicken in a large bowl. Add 1/2 of the spice blend and mix until chicken is thoroughly coated.

  3. Heat oil in a heavy pot over high heat. Add 1/2 of the chicken and cook until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat to brown remaining chicken.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium, add onion to the chicken drippings, and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add remaining spice blend; cook and stir for 1 minute. Pour in chicken broth; add browned chicken plus accumulated juices. Stir in peanut butter, ketchup, and brown sugar; bring to a simmer.

  5. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle, steady simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Stir in zucchini, bell pepper, poblano pepper, and 1/2 cup peanuts; continue to simmer until chicken juices run clear and vegetables are fork-tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  6. Serve curry over rice with a squeeze of lime. Garnish with cilantro and more peanuts as desired.

    close up view of Peanut Curry Chicken in a black bowl with white rice and fresh herbs garnished with sesame seeds

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

648 Calories
43g Fat
32g Carbs
36g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 648
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 122mg 41%
Sodium 1653mg 72%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 44mg 221%
Calcium 73mg 6%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 847mg 18%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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