Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Happy Ending Peanut Stir Fry

Here's an embarrassing confession: I am not the best cook in the house. My husband is. And that annoys me to no end. That guy is skinnier than me, cuter than me and better in the kitchen. How is that at all fair?

That being said, there's something seriously hot about a guy who knows his way around the kitchen. And this dish is my favourite thing he makes. In fact, it's my favouritest, bestest meal ever, hands down. The writer in me named it Mark's Happy Ending Peanut Stir Fry. The "happy ending" is when the food reaches my belly.

What? Is there another meaning to "happy ending" that I don't know? Quit trying to corrupt me.

By batting my eye lashes a few times, I was able to hover around the kitchen recently and disturb the creation process in order to help bring this fine recipe to your own table. That's what great journalists do, you know: bother people doing their jobs so they can write about it. Or, in this case, so they can give other people happy endings.

.. What?!

Now, let's get a few things out of the way. First of all, this is not a low-cal, low-carb, low-sodium, low-fat kind of dish. And it has peanut butter in it, so you can't eat it if you're allergic to peanuts unless you have some sick ER fetish. It's a somewhat time-consuming dish; all told, you might spend an hour in the kitchen making it. Some days I have to beg pretty hard to get him to make this for me.

What I can tell you is that it's delicious, it's gluten-free and easily modified to suit your dietary needs and/or what happens to be in your fridge that night. We make this stir fry with chicken, but you can make it with any kind of meat or no meat at all. You can choose rice instead of rice noodles, or leave out the starch altogether and up the veggie content/add tofu. You can add jalapeno pepper to the peanut sauce to spice it up (delish!). You can top it with peanuts or sesame seeds. Like I said, whatever floats your boat.

Here is a complete list of the ingredients you're going to need on hand to make 2 big servings or 4 smaller servings:

1 wok
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups of fresh vegetables of your choice (some of my favourites for this stir fry are broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, shredded carrot, and green or yellow beans)
1 package of Asian style rice noodles, such as vermicelli. (You won't need the entire package. Maybe 1/3 or 1/2)
2 limes or some lime juice
Peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, both are fine)
Black pepper
Soy sauce (gluten-free folk, make sure you have a safe brand on hand. We also use low-sodium)
Ground ginger
Garlic powder

Have all your ducks in a row? Okay, here we go:

Step 1. Make the sauce.

Insanely. Freaking. Good. Sauce.

This sauce is amazing. Like, seriously amazing. It was hard to get hubby to give me exact measurements because he usually eyeballs it, but we managed.

In a bowl, add 1 cup peanut butter. Mix it quickly with a spoon for about 30 seconds until it takes on a creamier, whipped consistency.

Now stir in 3 teaspoons of ground ginger and 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic powder.

Finally, add 5-6 tablespoons of soy sauce and 5-6 tablespoons of lime juice or the juice from 1 1/2 squeezed limes. Mix until thoroughly blended. Set this bad boy aside and let's proceed to step 2.

Step 2. Givin' the Chicken a good lickin'*: 

(*Disclaimer: Like, as in "cooking the chicken well", not actually licking it. Please don't lick it. First of all, Salmonella is not your friend. Secondly, lawsuits are not my friend.)

Place 2 chicken breasts in the wok. Basically, you have to cook the chicken. How you do this is up to you. Husband of mine puts in a cup or two of water and boils the chicken on high for a few minutes to make it tender. Once the water is mostly gone, he reduces the heat to medium, cuts up the chicken breast into bite-size pieces, and adds the following:

1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of lime juice (or 1/2 a lime)
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Stir and fry for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the flavours have taken hold.

While the chicken is cooking, cut up your veggies. On to step 3!

Step 3: Mama Says Eat Your Vegetables.

We were a little low on veggie variety that day. Oops.

Add a bit more oil to the wok and toss in the veggies. You can do them all at once or add in the harder ones first so they can cook longer. Your choice. Once all the veggies are in, stir fry 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

Remember that sauce you made in step 1? Time to add about 2/3 of that sauce in. Mix thoroughly and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, careful to stir regularly so it doesn't burn. You now have your stir fry topping. Congratulations! That was the hard part.

Looking at this picture makes me salivate.

 Place the veggies and chicken mixture in a covered bowl and set aside. On to the final step: noodles.

Step 4: For the best Happy Ending, Use your Noodle.

I like these. Not too big, not too small.

Put enough water in the wok to boil the amount of noodles you'll be adding. Set the burner to "high" and place noodles in before the water starts boiling to cook them slowly. Different noodles have different cook rates - some take as little as a minute, some take much longer. Keep an eye on them and taste test regularly. (Mmmmm, taste testing...) You don't want a soggy noodle.

... What?!!

Drain the noodles when done. Put them back in the wok on low heat and add in the remaining 1/3 of the peanut sauce. Stir until thoroughly blended.

Hot damn. That's some carb porn right there.

Place in bowls and add stir fried veggie and chicken mixture on top. It might look a little like this:

Hubby placed these on the mat. Who's the food blogger now?

Happy eats!


  1. I make this at home about once every 2 weeks and make enough to make 2 meals out of it- its great as leftovers too!! And I always add celery- because celery is perfect with peanut butter :)

    1. Celery! The missing ingredient. I completely blanked on how well this goes in the stir fry. Thanks, Dr. Clift! ;)

  2. This looks SOOOO good. Do you really use 3 tablespoons of ground ginger? That seems like a lot. I put 3 tablespoons of ground ginger in a cake once and yow! it was super spicy. Not that I'm doubting your culinary supremacy, just checking. Don't hit me.

    1. Shit. You're right. I think I meant teaspoon. Haha! I'm going to go fix it right now. But yes, it does require a fair amount of ginger. It balances out nicely in the end, though. Believe me!

    2. By garlic powder, do you mean the salted kind? Or the straight up dried garlic kind?

    3. We use the straight up garlic variety. But I think it would be fine with whatever you have on hand.


Get hot in my kitchen and say something naughty. Go on, I know you want to.