Thai Popcorn & Peanut Crusted Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Time for July's Imprvo Cooking Challenge! 

The theme for this month is popcorn and peanuts. I loved the idea of this theme because of the tie to baseball and for the versatility to be creative with the ingredients.  I was really torn on if I wanted to try a baseball type treat like crackerjack, or go for a Thai inspired dish.  I ultimately decided to create a Thai inspired main dish for this challenge. I knew that I wanted to make a peanut sauce and thought that I could create a crispy crust for chicken to go with it.  I used my food processor to get a fine breading using popcorn and peanuts to dredge my chicken. I also used coconut milk  and ginger to dip prior to dredging to keep the chicken juice and flavorful, but allow the breading to stay in place.  The peanut sauce was Thai inspired using peanut butter, coconut milk, curry paste and fresh basil. 

The verdict in our house was two thumbs up. The chicken did not get as crispy as I envisioned, but neither of us minded. The breading stayed on nicely and it was very flavorful. I could taste all of the different components, but they blended together really well.  I think adding a bit of regular bread crumbs to the popcorn and peanut would make it a touch crispier.  The sauce was absolutely delicious and makes the dish.  I found myself going back for more to make sure there was sauce with each bite. Warming of the sauce is key because it thins the peanut butter. I served this along side a Asian style vegetable blend and saute zucchini.  We will definitely be making this meal again! 

If you want to join the fun of the Improv Cooking Challenge visit Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for details! 

Next month's theme is beans and bacon....a favorite combo of mine. 


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut milk (I use full fat)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup roasted lightly salted peanuts
2 cups plain popcorn

for sauce:
1/8 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut milk (I use full fat)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 heaping Tbl chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cooked Brown Rice


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. 

For breading: combine peanuts and popcorn in a food processor and pulse till evenly ground. 

For egg wash: whisk together egg, 1/2 cup coconut milk (I put the contents into a bowl prior to adding it to the egg and whisk because it will be separate in the can), ginger, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Dip the chicken into the egg wash and then into the peanut mixture. Flip the chicken and press breading into the chicken so it is evenly coated. Place chicken into the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remainder of the chicken.  Place chicken in the oven and bake for 35 minutes (or until completely cooked). 

While the chicken is baking make the peanut sauce.  Place chicken stock, peanut butter, remaining coconut milk, curry paste and basil into a food processor and pulse till smooth. Place the sauce into a sauce pan during the last 10 minutes of the chicken's cooking time to warm. Season with salt and pepper is desired. 

Remove chicken from oven and serve over brown rice. Top with warm sauce and enjoy!

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