Paleo Pra Ram (Thai Peanut Sauce)
Author: Keith Langill
Recipe type: Dinner
Paleo version of the famous Thai peanut sauce dish. I've been working on this version for quite a while, making a variety of tweaks to make it as Paleo as I possibly can. There are a number of substitutions that I will call out and you can make your own decisions about whether or not to go that route, but I can say this: the fully Paleo approach is a wonderful sauce that totally satisfies my yearning for Pra Ram while still coming in fully Paleo...
- 1 quart coconut water
- 1 bunch fresh lemon grass stalks
- 1 pound organic, skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup broccoli
- Cauliflower Rice (see separate recipe)
- ⅛ cup demarara sugar
- ½ cup organic sun butter (the blue label version from Trader Joes is best)
- 4 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1-2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon curry powder (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- First, the chicken: the best way to get good, tender chicken for this dish is to poach it. Pour the whole quart container of coconut water into a large pot, and then chop up the lemongrass into 1-inch chunks. (I also bash the lemongrass chunks with the heel of my knife, to bruise them and encourage them to give up their lovely juices.) Put the lemongrass into the pot with the coconut water and bring it to a boil. While the coconut water is coming up to heat, cut the chicken down to bite-sized chunks -- the important consideration here is that all of the chunks need to be roughly the same size and thickness.
- Once the coconut water is boiling, gently slide the chicken in and stir it so that the chicken is not sticking together. Bring the pot back to a boil, and then immediately remove the pot from the heat--DO NOT LET THE CHICKEN BOIL! Remove the pot from the heat as soon as it returns to a boiling temperature and set it on a cool burner. Cover, and continue with the rest of the preparation. (If you're feeling adventurous, instead of covering the pot, use your bamboo steamer to heat up the broccoli...otherwise, cook that as you normally would.)
- For the sauce, combine the sunbutter, demarara sugar, coconut aminos, water, coconut oil and garlic in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir well until bubbling, and then reduce the heat to low. When the sugar and sunbutter are completely dissolved, slowly stir in the coconut milk until it gets to the consistency you like (I prefer mine very thick, so I only use about 1 cup, but add more if you want yours thinner -- you can also thin the consistency by using light coconut milk with less milkfats in it). Add the curry powder and pepper flakes, stir, and simmer on low to thicken.
- BE CAREFUL! It burns very easily, and tastes nasty when burnt.
- By the time your sauce is done, your chicken should be ready -- strain the chicken out of the coconut water with a slotted spoon. Dish the chicken and broccoli over a bed of cauliflower rice, and ladle generously with the sauce.
Note that the sauce keeps well and tastes even better after being reheated!
- Demarara Sugar: this replaces sucanat (organic whole sugar), and is really only in the recipe to help the sauce get to a consistency that is appropriate for the dish. The sugar can be eliminated altogether (add more sun butter) to make the dish Nazi Paleo style, or you can add more sugar if you like it sweeter. I have a sweet tooth, but find that just an 1/8 cup is enough to give the dish the right flavor and mouthfeel.
- Sun Butter: this is non-negotiable. You can use peanut butter instead, but that takes it right off the Paleo reservation. Again, Trader Joes’ blue label organic sun butter tastes the most “peanut like” for this recipe; other brands can be more oily or salty.
- Coconut Aminos: this replaces soy sauce, the measures are the same.