Peanut Butter Chicken Curry (Easy 30 Minute Recipe)

4 servings
30 min

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Satay fans, meet your new favourite weeknight curry recipe! You're sure to love this peanut butter chicken curry made with tender chicken pieces in a rich, sweet, spicy and tangy peanut sauce. If you're concerned that all this homemade deliciousness equates to a time-consuming recipe, rest assured that we're keeping things simple. This recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients and requires just 30 minutes of cooking time.

The post contains additional information and helpful tips to ensure the recipe turns out great the first time. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you are in a hurry!

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Enjoy this recipe with this best dark soy sauce and coconut milk that Amazon reviewers swear by!

✅ 5 reasons why you'll love this recipe:

  • A tasty chicken curry packed with delicious satay flavour that's guaranteed to leave you wanting more.
  • 30 minute meal - this quick and easy recipe is weeknight-friendly.
  • No Asian grocery store required - made with easy-to-find ingredients that are available in your local store.
  • Versatile - swap out the chicken for pork or shrimp/prawns or add tofu or more veggies for a vegetarian/vegan option. It's a great way to use up leftover veggies that are lingering in your fridge.
  • Make-ahead and freezer friendly - store the cooked curry in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

🛒 Ingredients and variations:

This tasty curry is made with everyday ingredients that should all be available at your local store.

  • Chicken - I always use thighs because they are more tender and flavourful than chicken breast, but you can use breast if you are looking for a leaner option. You can also use pork or shrimp instead or make a meat-free version of this curry with tofu and or veggies.
  • Red peppers - other veggies that would work well include green beans, zucchini/courgette or broccoli.
  • Chillies - I always opt for bird's eye chillies. They add a fruity freshness as well as heat, but you can also use standard long-red chillies that are more commonly found in supermarkets. Consider reducing the chillies or omitting them altogether if you are very sensitive to spice.
  • Dark soy sauce - this has a richer flavour than light soy sauce and will also deepen the colour of the sauce. The recipe has not been tested with light soy sauce, but you can use it if you need to. Light soy sauce is lower in sodium and is not as sweet as dark soy sauce so you may want to add a little more and add a small amount of extra sugar to compensate.
  • Coconut milk - full fat and light/low fat versions both work well.
  • Peanut butter - opt for smooth instead of crunchy and try to choose one that has no added salt.

🧑‍🍳 Peanut Butter Chicken Curry in 5 easy steps

1. Season the chicken

Mix bite-size chicken thigh pieces with curry powder, chilli powder and salt.

2. Cook the chicken

Place a wok or medium to large frying pan over a medium to high heat and add oil. Add the seasoned chicken when the oil is hot and cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly to ensure all sides are browned. Remove from the pan and set aside when done.

3. Aromatics

Fry the garlic and chilli for a minute until fragrant, adding a little more oil if you need to.

4. Curry sauce

Reduce the heat to medium/low and add the dark soy sauce, peanut butter and a small amount of coconut milk. Stir to form a paste. Add the rest of the coconut milk gradually while stirring continuously to get the lumps out. Add the red pepper, kaffir lime leaves, and sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Chicken

Add the cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes more over a medium heat. Stir in the lime zest and juice and serve over rice and fresh cilantro/coriander.

👍 Top tips for perfect Peanut Butter Chicken Curry

  1. Brown the chicken pieces first - this seals them and makes them more flavourful and also enhances the flavour of the seasoning. Note that the chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point. It will be simmered in the curry sauce too.
  2. Add the coconut milk gradually and stir continuously - to get rid of any lumps of peanut butter.
  3. Check the doneness of the chicken - simmering the chicken in the curry sauce for 5 minutes should give it enough time to cook through if it wasn't fully cooked in the browning process. I highly recommend taking out one of the larger pieces and cutting it in half to ensure it is no longer pink, to be on the safe side.
  4. Add the lime juice at the end - to bring bright, fresh and zesty flavour that cuts through the richness of the peanut sauce. Adding lime juice and zest too early will mellow its flavour as the sauce simmers.

🙋 FAQs

Do you need to fry chicken before putting it in a curry?While it isn't strictly necessary to fry chicken before adding it to a curry it does enhance the flavour and the texture if you brown it over a medium to high heat first.

Is peanut sauce and satay the same?Satay sauce is a spicy peanut sauce that commonly contains lime juice, ginger and chilli. It originated from Indonesia, although many people associate it with Thai cuisine.

Why is my chicken chewy in my curry?Overcooked chicken has a tough and chewy texture. If you are browning your chicken first, place the pan on a medium to high heat and ensure the chicken is removed from the pan as soon as it is brown. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked and remove the pan from the heat as soon as it is done to ensure your chicken stays succulent.

📦 Storage

The cooked curry can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated on the stove or in the microwave. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Just portion it into containers or freezer bags and place in the freezer once cool. Remove from the freezer 24 hours before you plan to eat it and defrost it slowly in the fridge before reheating.

😋 Check out my other curry recipes

Curries are warming, delicious and nutritious. They also create tasty leftovers and freeze well. If you enjoyed this recipe, you'll love these other easy curry recipes too.

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry (Easy 30 Minute Recipe)
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 30 min
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  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (Note 1)
  • 750g (or 26oz)  boneless chicken thighs - cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 birds eye chillies - finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves - crushed
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 400g (or 14oz) coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 large red bell peppers - chopped into bite-sized pieces (note 2)
  • 1 lime - zest
  • 2 limes - juice
  • A large handful of chopped fresh cilantro/coriander to serve

Mix the chicken pieces with curry powder, chilli powder and salt.
Place a wok or medium/large pan on a medium to high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken pieces when the oil is hot and fry for a few minutes until they are brown on all sides and set aside. (Note 3)
Fry the chilli and garlic for a few minutes until fragrant, adding a little more oil if necessary.
Add the peanut butter and dark soy sauce then stir in a little of the coconut milk until a smooth paste is formed.
Gradually pour in the rest of the coconut milk while stirring continuously to remove any lumps. Then add the sugar, kaffir lime leaves and red pepper and simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the cooked chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes. (Note 4)
Stir in the lime zest and juice and serve immediately with chopped fresh cilantro/coriander.
  • Use an oil with a high burn point like groundnut or canola oil. Olive oil is not suitable.
  • Cut peppers into 2cm /1 inch pieces
  • The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point just browned.
  • If the chicken was not fully cooked during the browning process, simmering it in the curry sauce should finish it off. Remove one of the larger pieces and cut it in half to check it is no longer pink to make sure.
Helen | Knife & Soul
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  • SS SS on Apr 15, 2022

    Not sure where you shop but our normal grocery stores do not carry Kaffir Lime leaves.

    • Helen | Knife & Soul Helen | Knife & Soul on Apr 15, 2022

      I find I can always get the dried kaffir lime leaves. However, fresh are harder to come by. You can make the curry without them and add extra lime juice and zest at the end to taste. It will still taste really good.