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As a working mother with a sporadic work schedule, I can go from having plenty time on my hands to racing every moment to have everything done. “Being everything, at everywhere, all at once” is almost a prerequisite skill rather than a superpower. As much as I do not aspire to be a supermom, this superhero life finds me no matter how I try to avoid it. Labouring in exchange for more time spent with ourselves and our family has become something most of us do not have the luxury to question at times. On days like these, as in the past month, I remind myself more often to choose spending time to rest and play with my daughter over lengthy times in the kitchen. Still, no takeaways if we can help it.

I have a list of easy and quick dinner recipes for times like these, this peanut and ginger chicken recipe, total cooking time, no more than 30 minutes. Using plenty of pantry staples and the only prep is to cut and marinade the boneless chicken thighs. Marinade is a must, if you happen to have a busy week ahead, you could also use this marinade recipe for different meats to refrigerate, so it’s just a matter of straight to the skillet for sauté every day of the week.

Use chicken thigh, which is more tender in its texture; I prefer cutting it into small strips, more surface area for the marinade to seep through. A good tenderiser is a teaspoon of corn starch along with the marinade. Lastly, a good measure of zest and juice of limes. I prefer to grate the giner and add it to marinade, and add more while cooking, for its flavour to stand out. Peanuts must be roasted, keep a jar of roasted peanut in your pantry so they are ready for action on any given day.

For the aromatics, I like to use both spring onion and coriander, I grow them in my kitchen garden so they’re readily and freshly available. What to serve the chicken with? This is the best part, the dish is so versatile, can be served on a bed jasmine rice; a tip: add some warmed coconut milk to steamy rice, and you have a warming yet subtly sweet coconut rice. Which pairs well with the zesty note of the lime in chicken. For a mid-week lunch, I love to make Vietnamese rice rolls with them, or even in a tortilla wrap, easy peasy. If starch free, lightly blanch a head of romaine lettuce, lay out lettuce and top with ginger peanut chicken, a warm chicken lettuce salad of sorts. Or a “sang choy bao”, using raw lettuce to make lettuce wraps. The possibilities are endless.

RECIPE | Peanut and ginger chicken

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • 300g boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • ½ cup roasted and crushed peanuts
  • 1 stalk of sliced spring onion,
  • 1 tbsp of finely chopped garlic
  • Zest and juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Handful of coriander
  • Salt and pepper to season


  1. Add chicken, one tablespoon of oil, grated ginger, half of the spring onion, zest and juice of lime (save a quarter of lime for later), soy sauce, one teaspoon of salt, mix together, marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  2. I chose coconut rice to go with this recipe, as mentioned before, you can use Vietnamese rice paper, or tortilla or lettuce wrap. Cook two cups of rice, add a cup of warmed coconut milk to your cooked rice, mix well.
  3. Add oil to pan, sauté chicken strips till they appear caramelised, then add garlic and peanuts, till you can pick up the fragrance of the garlic and peanuts
  4. Add coriander and rest of spring onion to finish, turn heat off, lid on and let simmer for two more minutes, and serve on coconut rice. Enjoy!

NOTE: Add a cup or two of baby spinach if you’d like more greens.

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