Friday, July 15, 2016

Coconut Chicken Fingers

Last Year's Post:Ravioli with Fresh Corn
Two Years Ago:  33 Recipes for Hot Summer Days

If you've ever enjoyed coconut shrimp, you'll like this recipe.  It's very easy to make - just cut up boneless skinless chicken breasts, bread them, brown them until golden, then bake until cooked through.  If you want to save calories and fat you could skip the browning step and just bake them for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, but the pan browning step gives you a browner and crunchier coating.  Your choice.

Coconut shrimp (and chicken) are traditionally served with a dipping sauce that's both sweet and spicy.  The two most common versions are a spicy orange sauce (recipe below) and sweet chili sauce, which is a bottled sauce found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores.  The sweet chili sauce is actually pretty mild right out of the bottle, but here's a secret that a chef once told me - if you warm it on the stove, it gets progressively hotter in terms of spice level so you can adjust it to your preference.  We chose the sweet chili sauce this time around because we already had a bottle open (and didn't want to open another jar of marmalade since The Lawyer already had three open in the refrigerator, which is another story entirely).  He like the chicken so much that at one point he asked "just where did you get this recipe?" which was pretty funny at least to me.  By the way, sweet chili sauce also makes an excellent dipping sauce for spring rolls or eggs rolls if you're wondering what to do with the rest of the bottle.

You could use unsweetened coconut if you prefer, but we liked the subtle sweetness from using sweetened coconut and felt it went well with the sweet and spicy sauce.  Again, it's your choice.  Isn't cooking great?

print recipe
Coconut Chicken Fingers
Serves 4

1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts or cutlets
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup sweet chili sauce (found in the Asian section of grocery stores)
-  or Spicy Honey Orange Sauce (below)

If using chicken breasts, pound to an even thickness.  Cut chicken breasts or cutlets lengthwise into several long strips.

Preheat oven to 400d and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

Pulse the shredded coconut in a food processor to make smaller pieces.  Combine with Panko in a shallow bowl.  In a second shallow bowl, whisk the flour, salt and pepper together.  In a third shallow bowl, whisk the eggs.  Line the bowls up in order:  flour, then egg, then coconut/Panko mixture.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Coat each chicken strip in flour, shaking off excess.  Then, dip in egg and let excess drip off.  Finally, generously roll in the coconut mixture and place on a clean plate or baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces prior to putting any in the pan.

When all chicken pieces are ready, place them in the pan (may be done in batches if the pan isn’t large enough).  Fry until the first side is golden brown, about two minutes, then turn and fry until the second side is golden.  One each piece is done, place on the prepared baking sheet.

When all pieces are done, place the baking sheet in the oven for 6-10 minutes until chicken is completely baked through.  Serve with sweet chili sauce or Spice Honey Orange Sauce for dipping.

Note:  baked coconut chicken freezes well for 2-3 months.  Bake frozen chicken in a 350d oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through.

Spicy Honey Orange Sauce
½ cup orange preserves/marmalade
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
 Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients and add salt to taste.

No comments: