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Chicken thigh lollipop with peanut sauce



  • 1 pound (454 g) whole chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) roasted peanuts, ground
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) sambal oelek
  • Salt

Peanut sauce

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) red curry paste
  • 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roots and stems
  • 1 cup (240 ml) smooth peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Salt

Bamboo salad

  • 2 whole bamboo shoots, canned
  • Vegetable oil, to sauté
  • 2-3 red Thai long chilies, thin bias
  • 2-3 scallions, thin bias
  • Salt



1. To prepare the chicken; clean the meat from the bone starting at the narrow end of the thigh and leaving it attached at the base (wide) end. Use the sharp tip of a paring or boning knife to pierce the meat and skin through the middle to allow shaping and movement. Push the meat down to base exposing the clean bone end, then wrap the loosened skin completely around the meat. When finished, the thigh should look like a chicken golf ball with a bone handle.

2. Repeat for all the thighs. Refrigerate until ready to roast.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).

4. Combine the peanuts and sambal and press into the meat and skin. Push inside the folds of the meat and under the skin to ensure best flavour. Season with salt.

5. Transfer the seasoned thighs to a baking dish, and roast for 25 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C). Rest, loosely covered for 5-7 minutes, before serving.

Peanut sauce

1. Dissolve the curry paste into the coconut milk, add to a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the kaffir lime leaves and cilantro stems/roots, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until flavours are infused. 

2. Strain the coconut milk and discard the solids. Return the strained coconut milk to the heat and whisk into peanut butter, stirring constantly until thickened. Add the lime juice and fish sauce and remove from heat. Season with salt.

Bamboo salad

1. Slice bamboo shoots in half, then into long strips.

2. Heat vegetable oil in a small pan or wok over high heat until shimmering.  Add the bamboo shoots, red chilies and scallions and season with salt.  Sauté one minute, until just starting to colour.

To serve

Spoon hot peanut sauce to the center of a large white plate, add a roasted chicken thigh on top and a small pinch of the stir-fried bamboo/scallion/chili to one side.


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