Dan Dan chicken is a brilliant meal that always goes down a storm with my family whenever I make it. This recipe has been developed from the traditional Chinese Sichuan recipe for Dan Dan noodles which is normally made with a spicy chilli and pepper sauce that’s filled with preserved vegetables surrounding minced pork and spring onions which is served over noodles. I’m not a big fan of minced pork in noodle or rice dishes though, so I just made mine with chunks of chicken breast instead.
Although I tend to prefer Indian food over Chinese food, I really enjoy katsu curry sauce on occasion. The only problem is that katsu curry sauce tends to traditionally be very heavily weighted with onion and garlic, a big no-no for those who follow the low FODMAP diet. However, there are tricks which can be utilised when it comes to using onion and garlic in low FODMAP cooking, the biggest one being that you can infuse the flavours of onion and garlic into oil without them leaching FODMAPs into the oil itself. So, as long as you remove the onion and garlic from the oil in question it won’t affect your tummy.
I had a bowl of chicken satay a long time ago in a restaurant and it was really delicious, but when I looked into making it myself I saw that the ingredient list was as long as my arm and was heavily based on fried onion and garlic. Not FODMAP friendly ingredients! However, I was sure that similar results could be attained by using fewer ingredients and after some tweaking I decided I was happy to write this version up for the website. I make this chicken satay all the time because it’s a great standby meal to have on-hand and requires so few ingredients. It also helps that most of the ingredients are long-lasting, so I always have them in my kitchen cupboards and fridge.
Traditionally, chicken satay is made with sweet chilli sauce, but every single one I’ve checked has contained garlic in one form or another, so that’s not going to work on a low FODMAP diet. However, a fellow fodmapper recommended Lingham’s Sweet Chilli Sauce to me because it doesn’t contain garlic and it works wonderfully. (It can be found in Tesco. Thanks, Jane!)
Chicken satay tends to be quite a sweet dish because the sauce is made with peanut butter, but the lime juice helps cut through the sweetness and adds a fresh dimension to the meal. It’s also nice to serve the chicken satay with a green vegetable on the side because it makes the sweetness less overpowering and adds variety and texture to the dish. I sometimes serve this chicken satay with either green beans or sesame broccoli (made by sauteing small florets of broccoli in 1 tbsp of hot sesame oil and adding 2 tbsps of sesame seeds before serving), but it’s delicious just as a substantial bowlful of chunky pieces of tender chicken that are encased in a rich, thick peanut satay sauce and served resting on a bed of fluffy white rice. Delicious!
600g of skinless & boneless chicken thighs (cut into small pieces)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsps sesame seeds
300g long grain rice
For the satay sauce:
170g crunchy peanut butter
100ml Lingham’s Sweet Chilli Sauce
4 tbsps lime juice (add more to taste)
Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the sesame oil, chicken pieces and sesame seeds. Cook until the chicken is done.
At the same time, cook your rice in salted water.
Add the sauce ingredients to the pan and stir until hot.
Drain your rice, portion into bowls, top with the chicken satay and serve.
When I was at work yesterday I found myself pondering over what I was going to make for dinner. I knew I had a pack of chicken breasts in the fridge, but I was a bit fed up of making the same chicken dishes over and over again. However, I remembered that I had a thick chunk of fresh root ginger in the fridge as well as a jar of minced lemongrass in the cupboard, so I found myself thinking about making a Thai curry.
I’ve never made a Thai green curry from scratch before because I’ve always thought that they require ridiculous amounts of individual ingredients and, let’s be honest here, sometimes after a long day at work you can’t be bothered with all of that faff-on, can you? However, after a brief mootch in the Thai cookbook section at work (one of the benefits of working in a bookshop!) I actually realised that it doesn’t really take that much to make a Thai green curry after all and that, with the exception of having to buy fish sauce and a packet of mangetout on my way home, I was all set.
Now, I’m going to offer a word of advice here and I really hope you take it. I’ve never cooked with fish sauce before so I added it after sweating off my spices, ginger and lemongrass, but this was a huge mistake. IT FREAKIN’ STINKS!!! I’m not kidding, this was an ‘open all of the doors and windows’ job. This was a ‘thank God the living room door was closed so the smell didn’t meander up into any of the bedrooms’ jobs. It was horrific. So my advice is: only add the fish sauce after you’ve already added the coconut milk so that it blends into the curry sauce without releasing its infernal pungent aroma into your kitchen.
After I’d added the coconut milk and allowed my nasal passages to dissipate the strong stench of the fish sauce I steeled myself and tasted the curry sauce and… it was delicious. You couldn’t taste any aspect of the fish sauce whatsoever, but it had definitely added a richness to the Thai green curry that it would have sorely lacked had I omitted it. Please trust me and use the fish sauce, just don’t smell it. Ever.
I loved this Thai green curry and so did my family. It’s rich, multi-flavoured and very satisfying and it makes a nice change from the usual Indian curries I tend to make a lot. Its coconut milk base carries the delicate notes of root ginger and lemongrass without overpowering the chicken and making it taste too sweet. I don’t think it’ll be long before I’m making this for dinner again, but you can be damn sure I’ll be adding the fish sauce AFTER I’ve added the coconut milk. I won’t make that mistake again!
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsps minced fresh root ginger
1 tbsp minced lemongrass (or 2 crushed lemongrass stalks)
1 mild red chilli (finely chopped)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp asafoetida
1/2 a bunch of fresh coriander (chopped)
1/2 a bunch of basil (chopped)
2 tbsps fish sauce
2 tbsps lime juice (or the juice of 2 limes)
400g of tinned coconut milk
80g desiccated coconut
6 chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized pieces)
60g mangetout (cut into bite-sized pieces)
In a large saucepan heat the sesame oil and once hot add the ginger, lemongrass, chopped chilli, cumin and asafoetida.
Add the chicken pieces, tin of coconut milk, lime juice and fish sauce and leave to simmer for 10-15 mins.
Start your rice cooking.
Add the mangetout, basil, coriander and coconut cream and cook for another couple of minutes.
Drain your rice.
If you used whole lemongrass stalks then just before serving remove them from the Thai green curry.
Serve on top of the rice with fresh basil (and a bit more chopped chilli if you like).