My Peanut Butter Chicken Curry is simple to make. A fusion of Indian and Thai flavours it is meaty and delicious and has a warming kick from a little ginger and chilli. Perfect served with a side of rice, it is naturally gluten free and dairy free.
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First published 3rd November 2016… Updated 3rd January 2023
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Perfect Peanut Butter Chicken Curry… It’s naturally gluten free and dairy free
If you’ve never tried Peanut Butter Chicken Curry, then you’re going to love this! Not only is it easy to make, but (win win!) it’s naturally gluten free and dairy free too… So you don’t need to worry about ‘special ingredients’. It’s already safe for Coeliacs (Celiacs) and super-inclusive (unless of course, you have an allergy to peanuts). Plus, it’s packed with flavour, deliciously nutty, wonderfully meaty and has a warming kick from a little ginger and chilli.
At GFHQ we’ve been loving it for years… Actually, it first appeared on the blog way back in 2016. It’s so easy to make, that my (11 year old) daughter made it. But as we recently enjoyed it again, I took the opportunity to update the photos and give the post a bit of a facelift. It now has a printable recipe card to make it as convenient as possible for you guys to enjoy too… Speedy enough for mid-week, delicious enough to share with friends and perfect for using leftovers too!
Peanut Butter Chicken… One of many variations
If you search the internet for ‘Peanut Butter Chicken’ you will find a lot of recipes… The irresistible combination of peanuts with chicken has a foothold in almost every part of the world… There are curries from India, Thailand and Malaysia… Chicken-peanut stews from Africa… Chicken in Peanut Sauce from Mexico… and more. Then there’s chicken which has been roasted whole with peanut butter… cooked as legs, thighs and breasts… or cut into chunks and cubes. There are ‘wet’ dishes, ‘dry’ dishes and everything in between.
So what type of Peanut Butter Chicken is this recipe?
To be honest… It’s a bit of an Indian-Thai fusion. The addition of the spices garam masala and turmeric are definitely in the Indian camp. But with creamy, gently sweet coconut milk in the mix, there’s a hint of Southeast Asia too. And yes… It’s a Peanut Butter Chicken Curry. Of course… how much of a curry kick you get will depend on the amount of chilli you throw in the pot with the rest. Increase or decrease as you wish.
Crunchy or smooth peanut butter… Which is best?
I always use crunchy peanut butter when I make Peanut Chicken Curry. I did try it once with smooth peanut butter, but thought it lacked texture. It was the peanutty crunch that was missing. In fact… I missed it so much, that I added an extra handful of crushed peanuts to the pan as well.
However… As to whether crunchy or smooth peanut butter is best for the recipe, again it’s for you to decide. If you prefer peanut butter of the smooth variety, then feel free to use that instead. Equally, the extra crushed peanuts are a matter of choice. It’s fine to leave them out as you wish. The curry will taste incredible either way.
What’s the best chicken to make Peanut Butter Chicken Curry?
I have listed skinless chicken breasts in the ingredients on the card. I personally find that they are easier to cut into chunks and are more neutral in flavour, which allows the peanut and spices to shine in their own right. However, as with peanut butter, there are no right or wrong cuts to use. If you prefer thighs or legs or even wings, then all will work fine… Cut them up or leave them whole.
And the skin? Personally, I prefer taking it off for this curry… But if you’re a skin lover, then leave it on… The only proviso is that I recommend cooking it until crispy in the pan and before adding it to the pot for the best flavour and texture.
Can I use leftover cooked chicken to make Chicken Peanut Butter Curry?
Yes! Because the chicken is cooked at the start of the process and then added back to the pan at the end, it’s a great recipe to use up leftover meat. Chop up any remaining chicken from the Sunday roast (or turkey from the Christmas dinner) and add it to the pan to heat through at the last stage of cooking. Leftovers done!
How to grate ginger
Although (in theory) you could use ground ginger for this recipe, I would absolutely recommend using fresh ginger root to make the best Peanut Butter Chicken Curry. It’s honestly so much better than the dried stuff. It brings freshness and a gingery zing to the dish and makes it sing.
If you are new to using fresh ginger, no worries. It will need peeling and grating before adding to the pan. How you peel may depend on how knobbly the ginger root is. But it can be peeled using a vegetable peeler, by scraping with the edge of a teaspoon… or you can use a sharp vegetable knife to carefully cut off the skin. This article on peeling ginger may help.
Then… grate it using a fine grater or better, a Microplane. Alternatively (and better still), try a ceramic Garlic Grater, which does a fantastic job with ginger too. If you buy a larger piece of ginger, it’s worth grating all of it and then storing in a clean jar in the fridge for when you need it. It lasts for weeks! Or… freeze it in a portioned ice cube tray.
How to make my Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
Making Peanut Butter Chicken Curry is easy…
- Gently fry the chicken pieces until golden.
- Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Fry the onion until soft.
- Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and spices and fry for a further couple of minutes.
- Stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Return the chicken to the pan with the fresh coriander and crushed peanuts (if using) and stir through.
- Season to taste and simmer for about half an hour until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through.
- Enjoy with a side of steaming rice.
How long will Peanut Butter Chicken Curry keep?
This recipe should be enough to serve about 5 people as a main dish. If served as part of an Indian banquet, it will go further.
If there are any leftovers, they will keep for a further 2 to 3 days, stored in the fridge. When ready to eat, simply heat the Peanut Butter Chicken using either a saucepan or microwave until the curry is piping hot right through.
Can you freeze this curry?
Yes. Once cold, transfer the curry to either a freezer-safe airtight container or a sealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
How to serve Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
My Peanut Butter Chicken is perfectly served as a meal in its own right with a side of rice. However, it is also good with a simple baked potato, some Gluten Free Roti (Soft Flatbread) or even a side of Buckwheat, Quinoa or on top of noodles.
Alternatively… Treat yourselves to an Indian Feast and include a variety of sharing dishes. My Vegan Keema Matar (which can also be made with meat) and Saag Paneer would definitely be great additions.
Made my Peanut Butter Chicken Curry?
If you make my Peanut Butter Chicken Curry, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment to let me know how you found it… Or message me on social media. If you have any questions that aren’t answered in the post, feel free to contact me by email or direct message. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
For lots more recipe inspiration, we also have a huge Gluten Free Recipe Index to inspire you. Even better… All the recipes are shared for free with my love. Think of it as one huge gluten free recipe book… A gift to the gluten free community.
Other fabulous chicken dishes you’ll love
Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
- can opener
- chopping board
- sharp knife
- large skillet/saucepan
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil (or alternative oil to fry)
- 5 skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 to 3 large cloves garlic crushed
- 1 to 2 fresh red chillies deseeded and finely sliced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 2 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 100 g crunchy peanut butter (or smooth if preferred)
- 400 ml coconut milk 1 standard can
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes 1 standard can
- small bunch fresh coriander half chopped/half leaves picked whole
- 100 g roasted salted peanuts lightly crushed (approx weight) – optional
- fine sea salt to season
- Basmati rice to serve
- Heat a little oil in a large skillet/saucepan over a medium heat and gently brown the chicken chunks in batches until golden. Set aside.
- Next, fry the chopped onion for a couple of minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic, chilli, ginger, garam masala and turmeric and continue to fry for a further couple of minutes.
- Stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Return the chicken to the pan with the chopped coriander and crushed peanuts (if using), reserving a sprinkling for serving. Stir through.
- Add a little salt to taste.
- Cook for about half an hour until the sauce thickens and the chicken is thoroughly cooked and heated through.
- Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining crushed peanuts and coriander leaves.
- Serve with freshly-cooked basmati rice.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist