african chicken in peanut sauce

Looking for something yummy to put in your belly? Look no further, my friend. When I started cooking this on the weekend, 2.0 came up the basement stairs, sniffing, almost immediately. It takes a fair amount to drag that man away from televised sporting events, so it’s to be considered a real stamp of approval.

This is the perfect dish for a cold, rainy day. I cannot vouch for it’s African authenticity, because I ain’t no African cuisine expert, but it sure is tasty. The chicken is slow-cooked and tender, and the spicy peanut sauce is comforting and warming. You’ll see that the recipe calls for you to reduce the liquid base for this sauce, but I didn’t really do that. Sure, I left it on the stove for 20 minutes, but I’m quite sure it wasn’t reduced by half. We ended up with a lot of sauce to pour over our rice. Perfection. You could serve a small village with this dish – four pounds of chicken goes a long way. I reduced the quantity of chicken (but didn’t reduce the quantities for the sauce), and have been eating it all week. I figure you could easily serve 6-8 people with this dish. And those people would be really happy that you did.

I love making a big pot of just about anything on Sundays. 2.0 and I are big fans of leftovers. We’ll happily eat the same meal for a few days in a row. Probably doesn’t say much about our capacity for spontaneity, but who the hell are you to judge? Also, I increased the quantities of some of the spicier ingredients for this recipe – I think a little extra heat is a good thing. It’s not overly spicy, just warm on the pallet. If you have lame friends/family, you could reduce the jalapeno and ginger by half, and it would make the dish a little milder. Or you could just get new friends. (The family you’re stuck with.)

. . .

African Chicken in Peanut Sauce – adapted (barely) from Norma Jean Darden – download and print

For the spice rub:

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, skin removed (I used 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut in half, which is less than the 4 lbs called for)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola or olive)

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely diced and seeded jalapeño chili
  • 4 cups sodium-reduced chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup well-mixed coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Mix the spice rub ingredients together with your fingers and rub onto chicken pieces.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add half the chicken and brown on all sides, taking care not to burn the spices. Transfer browned pieces to a platter and set aside. Brown remaining chicken and transfer to platter.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to a dutch oven or very large skillet. Add the onion, red and green bell pepper, carrot, garlic, and jalapeño chili. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer until reduced by about half (20 minutes). I don’t know that my liquid reduced by half, but I didn’t worry about that one single bit. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in the remaining sauce ingredients, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the browned chicken and collected drippings to the sauce mixture. Cook 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through, stirring frequently.

Serve over rice. Because that’s what we do here at the Cat Farm.



  1. LorrrielorrieB on July 14, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Can’t WAIT to try this one!!

  2. heatherjay on July 14, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    how do you know if the chicken is from Africa?

    • movita on July 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      If it’s speaking Swahili, the odds are good.

  3. Karista on February 18, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Looks delicious! I love anything with a peanut sauce. Delicious wishes!

  4. movita beaucoup on May 12, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in July 2011. Happy cooking!