Jeanette - Off The Cuff

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Blogger at: and -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thai Swimming Rama (or Showering Rama)-- Chicken, steamed spinach and peanut sauce

While I’m not entirely sure of the first time I had Rama (or whether it was referred to as Showering or Swimming) it is one of my very favorite types of Thai food.  Basically, it’s steamed spinach, sauteed chicken, and a peanut sauce that is TO DIE FOR.  I seriously have to stop myself from eating half the sauce out of the pot with a spoon while I’m “tasting it” … Yeah, it’s so good. It’s almost like a dessert.  I think I love it as much as I love David Lebovitz's salted butter caramel ice cream.  And that does speak volumes.

Anyway, I don’t have a clue where I got the original sauce recipe from, and it’s probably been modified somewhat.  In fact, I’m far too lazy right now to walk over to my actual cook book of recipes, so I’ll basically just tell you the jist of it.  It’s a sauce, so there’s a little bit of grace in there for the quantities of ingredients.

So if Thai is something you’re craving, you might even have the basic ingredients in your pantry and freezer.  Enjoy!


1 tbsp sesame oil
1.5 lbs of chicken  tenders (although you could slice chicken breast into long 1” wide strips also)
4-6 cups of loosely packed fresh spinach
(Optional: 3-4 green onions, sliced diagonally into rounds, and one red bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips)
1.5 cups of uncooked rice (basmati, sticky rice, jasmine… it matters not!)

Peanut sauce:

1-2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2  small yellow onion, finely diced
2-3 cloves minced garlic (I usually leave it around 2)
1 cup coconut milk (One can contains nearly 2 cups, so you will have enough left to thin the sauce if needed, or else save the left over coconut milk for smoothies or coconut rice with fresh fruit for dessert.)
1/2 -- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
2-3 tbsp Thai fish sauce (Oh putrid smelling liquid—how do you make things taste SO good?)
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lime juice (approximately 1/2 lime juiced)
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red peppers

Prep rice according to package directions, and set that aside while it’s cooking.  Meanwhile, sauté chicken in sesame oil – leave one side down until a good browned “sear” has happened and then flip it.  Toss in a pinch of crushed red peppers and a splash of fish sauce towards the end.  (If you’re using the optional bell peppers, and green onions, add those about 2 minutes before the chicken is done.)

Meanwhile, work on the peanut sauce.  Use a small sauce pan to sauté the onions over medium heat in sesame oil, and add minced garlic near the end when the onion is translucent.   Pour in coconut milk, and let simmer over lower heat.  When the coconut milk is heated up, stir in peanut butter over low to medium heat.  Keep stirring until peanut butter is melted in, and then add seasonings.  Avoid adding lime juice until the very end, right before serving and stir it in, or it will curdle your peanut sauce.

When the sauce, rice and chicken are done, I pile it all up on a plate of steamed spinach (which I steam in the microwave, for about 45 seconds.)  And yeah, did I mention how delicious this sauce is? You’ll have to stop yourself from eating it, just like I do!

(Edited on 12/05/2012 to add a photo, and brown sugar, to the sauce, which I had inadvertently forgotten about when I typed up this recipe last year.)


  1. I made this peanut sauce last night and my whole family loved it. Thanks!

    1. I edited this recipe in December because I had omitted the brown sugar-- so if you see this, make sure you adjust it next time you make it, Tanya!

  2. Glad you liked it!!! It's easy and tasty...

  3. This is the recipe posted closest to my birthday that is my favorite!!! :-) Yuuuummmmm!!! I made this for Bryan a few months back with a store-bought peanut sauce and we LOOOOVED it --- I am absolutely STOKED to try it with your recipe for homemade peanut sauce!! :-) Mmm...

    1. OH yes...I think it's quite good. It should probably also have some tamarind in it, but it stands on its own quite well, as it is. I make it often. Let me know what you think after you make it.

  4. Why did my sauce turn out so lumpy?

    1. The diced onion adds some "lumpiness" -- if you don't want the onions to remain in the sauce, you could strain it through a mesh sieve, and stir it again, but I don't personally mind that. It could also be that you needed to add more coconut milk-- it depends a lot on the brand / type of peanut butter you use, as well. Lastly, just make sure to NOT add the lime juice until the very end, and whisk it in very well to emulsify it through and through, otherwise, it might curdle a bit. Hope that helps!

  5. I've recently fallen in love with this dish at our local Thai restaurant, I definitely am going to try it. You mentioned it should have Tamarind paste but stands alone without it, but does Tamarind make it taste any better? Also I've had problems before adding garlic as it gives a burnt taste because I cook it too long, how long should you cook it before adding the coconut milk, 20-30 sec?

    1. Hi Andrew- Thanks for your questions! Tamarind will add a little bit of pungency to the flavor profile, but it's not necessary to add it. This is a good knock-off version which doesn't require as many specialty ingredients. Once your onions are translucent, (over medium heat) just add the minced garlic and keep stirring it so it doesn't stick or burn. I'd add the coconut milk within less than a minute of adding the garlic, as long as you keep stirring it. You just basically want the garlic to warm up in the chopped onion-- you don't want it to make much contact with the surface of the skillet if that makes sense.

      And as I recommended to another commenter above, you can also strain the garlic and onion back out from the sauce with a mesh sieve if desired. It will make your sauce more smooth, and adjust the coconut milk quantity as desired to keep the consistency of your sauce the way you like it. Good luck, and let me know if you have other questions. Please tell me how it turns out!

    2. Will do, thank you for the reply. The reason I ask about the tamarind is because I still have concentrate from the last time I tried (hint tried) making Pad Thai. - This Pad Thai recipe was based off a food network recipe that got raving reviews but I made it taste like dog food (I consider myself a good cook but this just made me look real bad, now I want to try the one you've done.

      I'll let you know how this goes, I can make a mean panang curry so I know I can at least do one Thai dish right.

    3. Sorry about my 6 month delayed answer, Andrew Kinsman, but I just wanted to share that I have a pretty decent Pad Thai recipe on the blog too:

  6. This was really good, and not difficult to make. I did make it with the red pepper and green onions, which added a lot. Ended up using nearly the whole can of coconut milk, and a little water besides to get the consistency I wanted. Maybe it was my peanut butter, but was too thick without. My sweetheart and I both enjoyed it. Thank you! By the way, great tip about "steaming" the spinach in the microwave. Worked perfectly.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Paula! Glad you liked it! It's my favorite Thai dish. Sad to say, I've recently been diagnosed w/ peanut and almond allergies, so I'm going to have to figure out a substitute option for this. I might try cashew butter! I have several other Thai inspired recipes on the blog if you click on my tags.

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