Indonesian Chicken

The other day, when it came time to preparing dinner, I asked Larry what he was in the mood for, and he just simply said something with chicken and something Asian. OK! That’s is a pretty broad request, but no problem. I decided on some Indonesian chicken over lo mein noodles.

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia that is nestled between the Pacific and Indian oceans. It is a country that is comprised of over 17,000 islands. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic state and the 14th-largest country by area, at 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles). With over 275 million people, Indonesia is the world’s fourth-most populous country and the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world’s most populous island, is home to more than half of the country’s population.

Indonesia is a mixed country that has many different cultural and religious influences. These influences are found in the Indonesian cooking as well. There are many different influences from China, the Middle East and from Europe, though for cooking, China has the most influence. Chinese ingredients like noodles and tofu are now an integral part of Indonesian cooking, and the Dutch left an abiding love for breads and cakes. Rice, coconut, banana, peanut and soya bean are the five pillars of Indonesian cuisine, and it is almost impossible to find a meal that does not include at least one of these items. Rice is the staple food on most of the islands, particularly the more fertile Sumatra, Java and Bali. Most Indonesian dishes use fresh herbs such as onion and garlic, spring onion, ginger roots, turmeric, galangal, candlenuts, lemon basil, lemon grass, and not to mention chilies. In addition to these fresh herbs, the inclusion of spices is at the heart of almost every Indonesian dish.

My Indonesian chicken was inspired by the restaurant Pei Wei, but of course, I made it into my own recipe. I substituted spinach for Swiss chard or bok choy. I thought I had peanuts, but didn’t, so I topped my dish with cashews instead. I like cashews better than peanuts anyway though. 🙂 The meal was yet again a success. In fact in Larry’s own words, “this is a definite do-over”. Good to know.

Indonesian Chicken

I made the sauce first and set it aside until I was ready to use it. You can also use shrimp or pork or tofu for this dish as well.

The Sauce

6 TBSP peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 TBSP rice vinegar

1 TBSP packed brown sugar

1 TBSP siracha sauce

2 tsp ginger

2-3 tsp garlic

2 tsp sesame oil

Whisk everything together and set aside.

The Chicken Stir-Fry

1 package chow mein noodles, cooked according to package directions

1- 1 1/2 lbs chicken, cubed

1/2 cup cornstarch

3 TBSP oil

1 carrot, cut at an angle or Asian style

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks

1/2 onion, sliced very thin

2-3 cups Spinach, chopped rough

Peanuts or cashews for topping

fresh cilantro for topping

Coat the chicken in the cornstarch. Get a large skillet or wok very hot. Add most of the oil, and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes, or until it is cooked through and is golden brown. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the heat and set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining oil and cook all the vegetables, except for the spinach, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions and peppers are softened and the onions are translucent.

Add the spinach and continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Re-add the chicken and mix thoroughly. Add a dash of water to the sauce and add the sauce as well.

Add the cooked noodles and toss together well, then serve. Top with chopped peanuts or cashews and cilantro.

Because of the spiciness of the dish, a chilled white wine, and even a sweeter wine like a Riesling or a Gewurztraminer, will pair very nicely with this dish.

This is a restaurant meal that you can prepare in the comfort of your own kitchen at about 1/2 the cost of going to the restaurant. As always, make it your own, and add or delete what you want. There are NO set rules when it comes to cooking. You get to reinvent the meal every time you cook it. 🙂

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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