Cooking my way to happiness with Rachael Ray

Make Your Own Take out: Spicy Peanut Chicken

I will have to say that when I read the title of this recipe I was hesitant.  I have never been a peanut sauce kind of girl.  Then I watched  Rachael Ray prepare it on her show and she said ” if you like General Tso chicken than you will love this”.  She had me at General Tso, so I got  excited to try it.

Shopping for the ingredients could not have been easier.  The best thing about this recipe, other than it is completely fabulous, is that the majority of the ingredients are things you can keep on hand; run through the express lane at the store for some boneless skinless chicken thighs and water chestnuts and you can have in about 20 minutes a “better than Chinese take out”  dinner that you made yourself.

I did buy tamari, which when I first started this cooking experience I had to Google to find out what tamari even was.  Tamari is very close to soy sauce.  I did Google today to actually find out what the difference between soy and tamari is.  While they are both made from fermented soybeans, Japanese tamari is thicker, darker, and richer than soy sauce.  Think of it as the kinder, gentler (and less salty) soy sauce.  It has a more complex, smooth flavor compared to the sometimes harsh, overwhelming bite of a soy sauce.  Add that to my ongoing list: Life is too short for soy….just buy the tamari.

I also bought fresh ginger root.  It’s in the produce section and I can’t even begin to explain how incredible the smell of fresh ginger is.  It’s like when it finally rains after 10 days of 100 degree heat, or like a 50 degree day after a solid week of snow and single digits.  Even better yet, it’s like your first kiss ever.  Now the world knows what I think about how fresh ginger smells.

As I cooked I was of course listening to my iPod and one of the songs that comes preloaded when you set up your iTunes for the first time (that you think you will get around to deleting but never do) came on. I actually realized I have come to like this song.  It is Muita Bobeira by Luciana Souza.  She is a Brazilian jazz singer and composer.  So I am listening to Brazilian jazz as I make Chinese food.  I feel so worldly.

I think the key to getting this to taste like Chinese take out is the one ingredient of chili paste.  It adds the perfect amount of heat and should be a staple in everyone’s pantry. It’s found in the part of the store where they also sell the water chestnuts.

This recipe is really high up on the list of my favorite Rachael Ray recipes.  I served it over brown rice.  It wasn’t a hit with the twins, they ended up having Rachael Ray leftovers.  I think it was too spicy for them.  Tyler the teenager loved it and so did I.  Next I will add more chili sauce for even more heat.

Awesome dinner.


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  1. * Melissa says:

    Another food for thought about Tamari…it is usually gluten free…unlike most soy sauces…This sounds yummy and is something Sami would eat…she LOVES spicy!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 5 months ago

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