Asian Paella

Classic dishes, new flavors.

A big pot of Asian Paella ready to be enjoyed!

That’s what I’m going for today with this super-duper tasty Asian Paella. I took the classic Spanish dish that I have for some reason been so intimidated to make and gave it my own Asian spin, and I am in LOVE with the result. I make a pretty darn good paella for an amateur, if I do say so myself 😉


Let’s talk for a second about that intimidation factor. I know I’ve said it before, but have you ever come across a dish that you’d die to be able to make on your own, yet that fear of the unknown holds you back? What if said dish takes an insanely long time to make? Or has some crazy involved technique that you have no idea how to do? Well, after forcing myself to tackle things like this Homemade Matcha Pasta and this Whisky Gravlax, I’m very happy to report that this is rarely (if ever) the case. I’m always amazed at how easy something ends up being after I’ve been so afraid to tackle it for so long!

So if there’s one lesson I want you to walk away with by reading this post (besides how to make an insanely delicious Asian Paella,) it’s that the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the kitchen are hardly ever so at all, so get in there and give a new dish or technique a shot. You’ll not only broaden your “foodie” horizons, but you’ll also both impress anyone you’re cooking for and help them feel more empowered to get in the kitchen on their own and make something out of the norm.

Up-close photo of the most delicious Asian Paella you've ever tasted!

Okay, enough preaching! Let’s talk about this Asian Paella. I first came up with this idea after the hubs and I had a date night at a fairly new Spanish restaurant here in Santa Barbara called Loquita. They have a huge selection of authentic tapas and main courses, and everything is served family-style so you pretty much have no choice but to share. Did I mention they also make amazing cocktails?

When the hubs and I went there, we decided to keep it fairly simple with just a couple of tapas and one order of paella, which really is enough to serve at least four people (but whoever complained about a few leftovers?) As I started tasting all of the different flavors in the dish – chorizo, chicken, fresh mushrooms and veggies – I realized that I could easily swap in some of my favorite Asian ingredients to give this classic dish a new twist.

I used the popular Chinese sausage lap cheong in lieu of the chorizo, and decided to go with easy-to-cook shrimp instead of the chicken. I also made sure to grab shiitake mushrooms and fresh snow peas along with the usual tomatoes and bell peppers.

All of the ingredients for delicious Asian Paella thrown into one big paella pan over the grill.

Because I was already using so many strong Asian flavors (namely the lap cheong and the shiitake mushrooms) I decided to keep the seasonings of the paella traditional, using smoked paprika and saffron. Be sure to use SMOKED paprika (which you can easily find at any grocery store, including Trader Joe’s) as it will help impart the delicious smoky flavor that will make your paella taste like you’ve been cooking it over open coals all day, rather than the gas grill I recommend using here. Also, if you’re hesitant to make the minor investment in very-expensive saffron, don’t be! As you can see from this recipe, a little bit really goes a long way so it will last you a while.

As far as the cooking process, I used my trusty Gourmet Today cookbook as my guide and followed their suggested technique of cooking the paella in an oven-proof paella pan (or wok, in my case) over a gas grill. Aside from the appliance that you cook the dishes on, from there the process is much like that of making risotto, if you’ve ever ventured into that territory.

You cook the proteins first (here, that means the shrimp and the lap cheong) and then add most of the vegetables. After those ingredients have gotten a good head start on cooking, you add the rice and then the chicken broth, stirring occasionally until the rice has soaked up nearly all of the broth and other delicious seasonings.

The protein, vegetables and broth for Asian Paella set to simmering before adding in the rice.

Asian Paella simmers over the grill, waiting for all of the delicious broth to be absorbed by the rice.

One other quick note RE: the rice. I did not use the traditional Bomba rice that most paella recipes call for, simply because I was too lazy to track some down and already had some sushi rice on hand, which still worked wonderfully! The only thing I did notice was that it got mushier the longer the paella sat, because it continued to soak up any sort of liquid that was left in the pan. This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re serving your Asian Paella hot off the grill (which is THE best way, I might add) but perhaps stop the cooking process a little bit earlier (before all of the liquid is completely absorbed) if you’re planning on reheating the dish to serve later.

The recipe technique I followed in Gourmet said the entire cooking process would take about two hours, and they were spot on. If you ask me, that’s not too intimidating and means that this recipe is still totally doable for any night of the week when you need to serve a crowd.

Asian Paella for humpday dinner, anyone?

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

A big pot of Asian Paella ready to be enjoyed!
Print
Asian Paella
Prep Time
50 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time
2 hr
 

The classic Spanish dish gets an oriental flair with the use of lap cheong, shiitake mushrooms, fresh snow peas and so much more!

Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning shrimp plus 1 teaspoon salt for paella
  • 1/2 pound lap cheong, sliced
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, cut in half diagonally
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 3 cups sushi rice
Instructions
  1. In a large, oven-proof paella pan or wok, heat the olive oil over a gas grill set to medium-high heat. 

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shrimp and juice of ½ a lemon and season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to heated paella pan and cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until shrimp begins to turn pink and opaque. Add the lap cheong and continue to cook until shrimp looks mostly cooked through.

  3. Move shrimp and lap cheong to the edge of the pan and add mushrooms, snap peas and bell peppers to the center. Cook these vegetables, stirring every so often, for about 4 minutes.

  4. Add tomatoes, garlic and one teaspoon salt to mixture in center of pan and stir until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and cook, without stirring, for one minute before stirring the proteins on the edges of the pan back into the mixture. Stir in stock and saffron.

  5. Turn grill heat to high, cover the grill with a lid, and bring the mixture to a boil. This may take up to 20 minutes depending on your grill. Once mixture is boiling, turn heat back to medium-high and sprinkle rice evenly into the pan. Stir until all rice grains are submerged.

  6. Cook for 10 minutes, stir, and then stir. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes more, stirring at 5-minute intervals, until liquid is absorbed and rice is al dente.

  7. Using potholders, carefully remove pan from the grill and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

(Affiliate) links for special ingredients:

Asian Paella | CaliGirlCooking.com

Greek Nachos

Figures I would come back from Italy just to share a Greek recipe with you…

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

I guess you could actually call these absolutely to-die-for Greek Nachos a Greek-Mexican hybrid recipe though, since we’re taking one of my favorite Mexican food dishes and giving it a Mediterranean twist. I’m really not sure why the Greek Nacho path hasn’t been traveled down more often, because when you basically sub in Greek-inspired ingredients for your typical nacho fixin’s, the result is show stopping. You may never want to eat regular nachos ever again.


Aside from these nachos, I don’t have too much other stuff to share with you today. More due to the fact that I’m a bit jetlagged (read: brain dead) from our trip and we’re driving back to Santa Barbara from the Bay Area today. Tomorrow, back to reality but at least we only have a few more days until the weekend! I fully intend on writing at least one (if not multiple) Travel Diary posts about my trip once I’ve had time to recover and soak it all in, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, let me tell you a little bit about these Greek Nachos. Because, yes, you want to know allllll about them.

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

We start in the most obvious of places: with the chips! We’re kicking off the Greek theme by replacing the typical tortilla chips with crispy plain pita chips, which in fact almost work better than tortilla because they tend to be thicker and sturdier – which means they can easily hold up to all of the tasty toppings we’re going to add!

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

The first matter of business in getting together said toppings is whipping up some healthy and tangy tzatziki sauce. I used a base of nonfat plain Greek yogurt and added lots of garlic, dill and cucumber. Make this the day before if you want, the flavors just get better as they sit.

We’ll also want to saute some eggplant as well as ground lamb with more garlic, olive oil, and some fresh lemon juice. And I’m going to take this moment right here to let you know that if you have never cooked with ground lamb before, you’ve REALLY been missing out. I love how it tastes so different than beef..It seems to give a whole new dimension to a dish (I’m also a huge fan of lamb burgers if you’re looking for more suggestions.)

Aside from putting together the tzatziki and cooking the eggplant and lamb, there’s very little involved in the preparation of our Greek Nachos. You’re going to need the requisite Greek ingredients (like tomatoes, garbanzo beans, red onion and fresh oregano) and you’re also going to track down some legit Greek cheese. I used a mix of feta and shredded Kasseri, which could also be replaced by halloumi or any other Greek cheese you’re able to find (I had the best luck at Whole Foods.)

To prep the actual nacho dish, you’re going to want to bring out your best cast iron skillet. Load up the bottom of the skillet with the pita chips, then pile on all of the prepared toppings that can stand up to a little more heat. We’re talking the lamb, beans, onions, tomatoes, and of course, cheese!

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pop all of that into the oven for about 15 minutes, top with the rest of the ingredients (like more fresh oregano and the tzatziki) and your Greek Nachos will be on the table in no time! Now how’s that for an easy Wednesday night dinner?

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Greek Nachos
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

All of your favorite Mediterranean ingredients are piled high atop crispy pita chips. The perfect quick and easy dinner for any night of the week!

Course: Main Course
Servings: 5 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the tzatziki:
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Persian cucumber, grated
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
For the eggplant:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or more as needed if dry)
  • 1/2 of a medium eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
For the lamb:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
All other ingredients:
  • 4-5 cups plain pita chips
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces shredded Kasseri cheese
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • Additional fresh oregano for garnish
Instructions
  1. First, make the tzatziki. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until well-incorporated. If you have time, cover and chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

  2. To make the eggplant, heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and garlic and stir to combine. Cook until eggplant is tender, adding more olive oil as needed, then season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Remove from pan and set aside.

  3. To make the lamb, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat (using the same saute pan.) Add the lamb, garlic and fresh oregano and cook until lamb is browned. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Turn off heat and set aside.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the pita chips evenly over the bottom of a medium cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the eggplant, lamb, garbanzo beans, cheese, cherry tomatoes and red onion evenly over the top. Place in the oven for approximately 12 minutes, and then turn the broiler on high for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese on top is starting to brown. 

  5. Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven, being careful to use potholders, and drizzle on tzatziki (you don’t have to use it all, just use however much you want.) Sprinkle with more fresh oregano before serving straight out of the pan!

Greek Nachos | CaliGirlCooking.com

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding

Of course I had to go and bastardize a perfect Italian dish.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

But how else would I celebrate the fact that at the very moment you’re reading this I’ll be arriving in Florence and heading up to the beautiful villa that we’ll be calling our home for the next five days? To me, there’s no better way to kick off our Italian vacation.


And let me tell you, this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding is so delicious that you won’t even mind that it strays quite a bit from the traditional dish. In fact, there really aren’t any similar techniques between the two, I simply took all of the ingredients you’d use for Eggplant Parmesan and, instead of drenching the eggplant in breadcrumbs, I decided to nestle it in huge chunks of crusty bread along with the other typical ingredients you use like tomatoes, basil and, of course, mozzarella cheese!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

But can we talk a minute about where I am right now and where I’ll be going over the next week and a half? Because I’m desperately looking for the best places to eat, shop and sightsee during our trip.

We’re spending our first five days in Tuscany, hopping around quite a bit to places like Florence, Montepulciano and Greve in Chianti. After that, we’ll take the train out to Venice and spend another few days there before flying home. I’ve been to all of these places before and have found a few hidden gems, but I’m always looking for more, so please, please, please send any suggestions my way if you have them. It’s my in-laws’ and hubby’s first time to Italy so naturally I want to show them THE most amazing time.

Oh yea, that’s right. This trip isn’t just the hubs and I. We’re dragging along BOTH of our parents and my aunt. My aunt and I took a similar trip (staying at the same villa in Tuscany) a few years ago, and I’ve wanted to take the parents back ever since. Fun fact: Chris and I even talked about eloping and getting married at this very villa! In the end, we couldn’t bring ourselves to exclude some of our nearest and dearest (which we would inevitably have to do with an international wedding) so you can imagine how excited I am to bring everyone that’s so special to me to this very special place.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Anywho, let’s get back to this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding because I clearly have more exciting things to be doing (ahem, packing) then slaving over the computer all day.

I love this recipe because there are only about 20 minutes of hands-on prep, and then you just throw it in the oven and 30-ish minutes later you have a well-rounded meal (we’re talking veggies, cheese and bread) ready to just plop down on the table and serve with a huge side salad. I’m definitely speaking from experience and let me tell you, the salad is a must. It’s the perfect complement to such a filling yet tasty dish and, hey, balance!

So the only prep you have to do is toast the breadcrumbs (which BTW you can also do up to a day in advance), give the eggplant and garlic a little saute and mix all of the “pudding” ingredients together in a big bowl before dumping it into your baking dish. That’s seriously it. Let me tell ya, it can’t get much easier!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Towards the end of our Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding’s baking time, we’ll want to pop on the broiler for a few minutes, just long enough to get that cheese on top a little golden brown (is anyone else as obsessed with slightly burnt cheese as I am?)

Straight out of the oven -> Onto the table -> Into the mouth. That’s my ideal dinner if I’ve ever heard of one.

Now excuse me while I undoubtedly go gorge myself on all of the delicious Italian food and drink I can find for dinner. You know you want to make this Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding tonight and eat along with me in spirit!

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

The classic Italian dish revamped in bread pudding form. Sauteed eggplant, fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella tucked into loads of crusty bread.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 5 cups cubed crusty bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups cubed eggplant (about 1/2 of a medium eggplant)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 4 ounces cubed mozzarella
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup basil, plus additional for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add the bread and toss to evenly coat. Let bread toast in the butter until golden brown, tossing occasionally to make sure it browns evenly, about 8 or so minutes. Place finished toasted bread cubes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

  3. In the same saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium. Once oil is heated, add the eggplant and then the garlic, tossing to combine and evenly coat. Saute until eggplant has softened slightly, again about another 8 minutes or so. 

  4. Add eggplant mixture and remaining ingredients (except for additional basil to garnish) to the large bowl containing the bread cubes and toss to combine. 

  5. Pour mixture into a medium sized casserole dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, keep an eye on the bread pudding to make sure the top is not getting too brown. Somewhere between 25 and 30 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is, turn the broiler on high. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese on the top of the dish is golden and bubbly. Remove and let cool just slightly before serving. Best served with a large green salad.

Eggplant Parmesan Bread Pudding | CaliGirlCooking.com

Herbed Carrot Galette

My Easter cooking is in full swing!

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m getting in all of the Easter-y dishes I can now since we’ll be on an airplane to Italy on Easter Sunday, and I just can’t pass up all of the delicious dishes I’ve been dying to make for the holiday, like this Herbed Carrot Galette!


Seriously, if we were having any sort of Easter brunch, this galette would be the star of the menu. It starts with a buttery, flaky crust that is graced with a creamy herb-studded mascarpone, all topped with shallots, garlic, thinly-shaved carrots and even more herbs. I mean, can we really go wrong? I think not.

I’ve been itching to make my own take on a galette ever since I was inspired by my gal Becky at Baking the Goods. She made a delicious Ricotta, Potato and Spring Pea Galette for our Spring Fling Brunch last month, and it was seriously the perfect addition to the menu. So when I found myself with a whole bag of leftover carrots after some recipe testing one day, I decided this would be the best way to put them to use.

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com

People often ask me how I keep coming up with recipe ideas and, truthfully, it’s never been a problem for me. I keep a running list of ideas on Google drive and Evernote, and just add ideas as I come up with them. Travel often provides a ton of inspiration for me, as do foodie magazines like Bon Appetit and Food & Wine. Also, family! I still have a ton of recipes I’m working on transcribing from the old family archives, and now I have my husband’s family recipes to work on as well.

Other times, I’m simply inspired to make something by what I have in my refrigerator that might otherwise go to waste, like those carrots. I had actually bought them as a prop for some food photography, but I’m certainly not one for wasting any sort of food. Now I have this Herbed Carrot Galette to thank for that!

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com

Seriously, though, this thing is pretty much to die for. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart (or the incredibly health-conscious) but, hey, it’s the holidays! We deserve to let loose every now and then.

The incredible richness of the dish starts with a basic pate brisee dough for the crust. You can really use whatever pie or quiche dough recipe you prefer, just be sure not to use one that is heavily sweetened as we are making a completely savory dish. I turned to my good ol’ Bouchon Bakery cookbook for my recipe because, let’s face it, Thomas Keller can do no wrong when it comes to tasty, buttery baked goods. I’m sometimes a bit intimidated to dive into the complexity of Keller’s baking world, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that his pate brisee recipe comes together much more quickly and painlessly than other pie dough I’ve whipped up in the past.

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com

After the dough comes the toppings, and what better way to start us off than a creamy, chive-laden mascarpone spread. Again, incredibly easy. We’re talking dumping a healthy serving of freshly snipped chives, salt and pepper into a container’s worth of mascarpone, and stirring it up so you get all of that magnificent flavor in every single bite. But I couldn’t stop there with the cheese. Nope! I also sprinkled on some shredded fontina to add a sharp, salty kick to the mix. Not regretting it one bit.

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com

After we’re done loading the galette with cheese, we can move on to the veggies.

I wanted this Herbed Carrot Galette to really pop with flavor, so I added sliced garlic and shallots to the mix with the thinly shaved carrots. Keeping everything thinly sliced ensures that it will all cook properly (and even get some lovely golden-brown color) in the amount of time it takes to bake off the crust.

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m happy to report that it only takes about five minutes in the oven for the smell of this Herbed Carrot Galette to start wafting through the entire house. And it only takes another 40 or so minutes until the crust is golden-delicious enough for you to remove from the oven, sprinkle on some more fresh herbs, and enjoy to your heart’s content.

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com

Now, I have one simple question to ask of you: Will all of you pleeeeease make this Herbed Carrot Galette in honor of me as part of your Easter menu?

Be sure to take photos and tag @caligirlcooking in any of your creations! Xo

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Herbed Carrot Galette
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 5 mins
 

This savory galette showcases the best flavors of spring - crunchy carrots and fresh herbs complimented by two creamy, delicious cheeses.

Course: Main Course
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe pate brisee (I used the Bouchon Bakery cookbook recipe)
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, shaved with a vegetable peeler or mandolin
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Chopped fresh oregano for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Place pate brisee dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll into a circle about 16-inches in diameter and ¼-inch thick. 

  3. In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone, 1 tablespoon chives, ¼ teaspoon salt and dash of pepper. Remove the top piece of parchment paper from the pate brisee and generously spread on the mascarpone, leaving about a 1 ½- to 2-inch border to fold the dough up and over the toppings.

  4. Next, sprinkle on the fontina cheese, then top with the garlic, shallots and finally, the carrots. Drizzle olive oil over top of the carrots and season lightly with salt and pepper. 

  5. Working your way around the perimeter of the galette, fold up the edges of the dough, allowing them to naturally pleat as you go around in a circle. If any pieces crack, simply pinch them back together.

  6. Keeping the galette on the bottom layer of parchment paper you originally rolled it out on, transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg over the exposed edges of the galette.

  7. Place the galette in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the crust has turned a lovely golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly. Sprinkle with additional chives and fresh oregano before serving.

Recipe Notes

You can purchase the Bouchon Bakery cookbook here.

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Herbed Carrot Galette | CaliGirlCooking.com

Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken

Looks can be deceiving…

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

I know, I know, this photo doesn’t necessarily jump out at you as the PRETTIEST dish around, but boy oh boy does it make up for its looks in flavor. There’s a reason Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken has been a favorite family recipe of ours for longer than I can remember!


Let me just paint a little picture of the cooking situation in my family for you: My dad is the one who never relies on a recipe, simply using them for “inspiration” and successfully pulling dishes together relying on his taste memory and previous cooking knowledge. When I was younger, whenever there was a dish at a restaurant that we absolutely loved, my dad would be able to taste it and recreate it back at home without even asking the waiter or chef what all was in the recipe.

My mom, on the other hand, is more of a by-the-book gal. This may be partly due to the fact that she’s the primary baker in the family, and we all know that bakers must adhere to much stricter measurements and instructions to come out with the perfect treat. Mom’s always skimming magazines and cookbooks and dog-earing different recipes she wants to try. Some of these recipes end up being massive fails, but others take us by surprise and end up appearing in regular rotation on the dinner table.

I can’t remember exactly where my mom found this recipe, but it’s since become her own, hence why I’m dubbing it Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken. It’s an incredibly homey meal, the ultimate comfort food, which is why I feel the need to share it now before our weather gets too warm for us to want to make anything that requires time both on the stove AND in the oven!

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I am a HUGE peanut butta lova.  Yep yep! I’m pretty much addicted to it it and have been for as long as I can remember, which is why there should be no question as to why I love this hearty, tummy-warming dinner so much.  Seriously, take any dish and add peanut butter to it and you’ve pretty much sold me.

I also love that Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken is loaded with spinach and tomatoes, yet all of those veggies are covered up in the most delicious peanut butter flavor. Served over a bed of brown rice, this is a healthy, protein-packed meal that I’m pretty sure even the pickiest of eaters will love (yes, if they can get past the looks 😉

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

This dish is also incredibly easy to make, and even the most novice of chefs will have no problem whipping it up on any night of the week. The key to bringing it all together is a trusty Dutch oven, and if you’re looking for an affordable option, I highly recommend my go-to Lodge 6-quart cast-iron one, which you can grab on Amazon for less than $60. Seriously, you’ll never regret this purchase.

The Dutch oven and your stove/oven are ALL you’ll need to bring Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken recipe together in just about an hour and a half. We start with a quick sear of the chicken, and then throw all of the veggies and sauce ingredients into the same Dutch oven before literally setting it and forgetting it. That’s right, after you get all of the ingredients combined, you just pop this big pot of deliciousness in the oven and let it cook away for about an hour.

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

I do want to note that this recipe makes a HUGE amount of food. It’s great if you’re serving a large group (growing up, we were a family of five) or if you want to have days and days of leftovers 😛

While Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken is cooking, steam up some brown rice because you’re definitely want some extra carbs to soak up all of that delicious peanut butter-y sauce. Now how’s that for a complete meal?

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 15 mins
 

Chicken is topped with a creamy, vegetable-filled peanut sauce to make a healthy, protein-packed comfort food meal for any night of the week.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 one-pound can Italian tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved
  • Reserved tomato liquid, chicken broth or tomato juice
  • 1 pound frozen spinach
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus additional for seasoning chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper plus additional for seasoning chicken
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1/2 cup ground peanuts, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Heat butter and olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add them, in batches, to the pan, browning on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside to add back in later. 

  3. Add the onion to the warm pan and cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and spinach, stirring to combine. Add the chicken back to the pan.

  4. Place reserved tomato liquid in a measuring cup and add chicken broth or tomato juice until combination measures 1 ½ cups. Add liquids to a medium mixing bowl with peanut butter and whisk until mixture is smooth. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cumin (if using) and whisk to combine. Pour sauce over chicken mixture in Dutch oven.

  5. Place Dutch oven in 350 degree oven and cook for one hour, or until chicken is tender. When serving, garnish with ground peanuts.

Mom's Peanut Butter Chicken | CaliGirlCooking.com