Spend a little time in our Facebook group, the Milk Street Community, and you’ll quickly see how thoughtful and engaged our members are. All of us here at Milk Street are constantly inspired by the impressive flow of recipes, suggestions, feedback and questions. Case in point, an experiment by member Patrick Owen Chadd that caught our eye because it entailed cooking not one but two West African Peanut Chicken recipes to determine which one was best. Read about Chadd’s experiment, then try it yourself!


By Milk Street Community Member Patrick Owen Chadd

My good friend Joanie called and asked me to help with a fundraiser for her sorority. She wanted me to do a virtual cooking class, and wondered if I knew of any easy, delicious and economical recipes that anyone could make regardless of cooking skill. I immediately thought of Milk Street’s book, COOKish, and a recipe that was on my ‘to-cook’ list: West African Peanut Chicken. The recipe is described as a “bright, bold dish inspired by Senegalese mafe,” and involves seasoning boneless, skinless chicken thighs with bold flavors associated with West African peanut stew: tomatoes, fish sauce and chilies.

I ran it by Joanie and she was thrilled. The next day though, she threw me a curve ball: make two versions of the dish; one from Milk Street and one from The New York Times. She wanted options.

Both recipes list chicken thighs, natural peanut butter and fish sauce. Milk Street’s version calls for canned tomatoes, lemon juice, lemon zest and one halved scotch bonnet chili; The New York Times’s favors root vegetables and more liquid. With everything prepped, I soon had two pots simmering away on the stove.

Later that night, after hand-delivering both dishes to Joanie’s door so that she, her husband, and their three college-aged children could cast their votes, we had a verdict: Milk Street’s was the winner!

Joanie raved about the recipe – it was, “so delicious,” she said. “A creamy sauce, great flavor and just the perfect hint of fruity heat from the halved scotch bonnet chili.” She was amazed that the finishing touches of lemon juice and zest could add such a nice, citrusy layer to the rich, flavorful dish.

The virtual cooking demo was a great success, and the chicken a big hit with the 50-person audience. Though there were many comments made that night, one that stood out was that the the recipe has accessible ingredients, tastes fantastic, is fast and easy to make, and dinner-party worthy; not to mention very economical and a celebration of the flavors of West Africa.

Thank you, Milk Street, for yet another wonderful recipe.

Text has been edited for clarity.

Milk Street Recipe
West African Peanut Chicken

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40 minutes

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