Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Coconut Chicken Crispers

Heartwarming festivities and residual Valentine's glow aside, things have been positively wintry around these parts. The skies are gray and lowering, everyone is wrapped up like the 24th of December, and just the other day I spied a few brave flurries of snow - in Tennessee.


Naturally, they didn't last long, but the general outlook these days is a little cheerless, nonetheless - which makes me think that now is the perfect time to share a recipe that's decidedly unseasonal. In fact, it's even a little unusual, but no less delicious for that fact. Yes, it combines chicken and coconut. Yes, it blends the flavors of the tropics with a classic bar food. And yes, it's a match made in heaven.


I discovered this recipe at Can You Stay For Dinner (my latest blog crush) and just knew I had to try it out. I love recipes that add an unexpected twist (coconut) to an otherwise unremarkable dish (chicken tenders), and was doubly thrilled that I could have the crispy-on-the-outside-juicy-on-the-inside chicken tenders I craved, without a deep fat fryer. A combination of pan-searing and baking makes these tenders crisp and juicy, without all the mess and stench of frying - not to mention the added fat!


The toasted coconut lends a slightly nutty, slightly tropical flavor without being overpowering, and the panko bread crumbs create a thin crust of golden deliciousness. Matt and I ate these plain, but I imagine they'd be great with a honey-mustard dipping sauce or a mango-lime salsa. Either way, they'll satisfy any sweet-and-salty craving and maybe, just maybe, chase your winter blues away.


Coconut Chicken Crispers
adapted from this recipe at Can You Stay For Dinner


1 lb chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts, sliced into 1-inch thick strips
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons canola (or coconut oil, for extra tropical flavor)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover a baking sheet with lightly greased foil. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg until well beaten. Add the chicken strips and toss to coat with egg. Add flour and toss chicken so that each piece is covered in egg and flour mixture. In another shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, coconut, salt, and pepper. Take one chicken strip and, after allowing excess egg and flour mixture to drip off, toss the chicken strip in the bread crumb mixture. Press to coat each side. Place on a plate or baking pan until you have coated all of the remaining chicken strips.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken strips, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until chicken appears mostly cooked and crumb coating is browned and golden. Remove to the prepared baking sheet and cook the remaining chicken strips in the same way. Remove remaining chicken strips to the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve hot.

A few notes: You may notice that my recipe is scaled down from the original; that was largely due to a lack of ingredients, but I liked the way it turned out so I've reproduced the recipe as I made it. I also made a few changes to the method - primarily because I'm lazy and will do whatever I can to reduce the number of dirty dishes a recipe creates. The original recipe calls for the chicken breasts to be dredged in flour before the egg bath; I've combined these two steps before with success, so I've done it here also. Whether you chose my (lazy) method or Andie's (classic) version, you should still end up with a delicious dinner.

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19 comments:

  1. This looks so yummy! I would love for you to come by and link up to my Recipe Party at The Sweet Spot!

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  2. Yum, these look really good! I'm definitely going to try them out.

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  3. Yummmm coconut would be so yummy with chicken. I've got to try this one, too, Rachel! :) Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

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  4. Great recipe!! So glad that you linked this to Things I've Done Thursday~

    www.bearrabbitbear.com

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  5. These look amazing yet light! I would love to have you link up at my party as well- my favorite recipe of the week gets one month of free advertising on my sidebar. :)
    http://www.eatprayreadlove.com/2012/02/italian-sausage-and-mozzarella.html

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  6. Love this! We just posted our 2nd Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday Link Party and would love for you to share this! http://kitchenfunwithmy3sons.blogspot.com/2012/02/kitchen-fun-and-crafty-friday-link_16.html

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  7. Mmmm - always looking to change up my chicken dishes, and this recipe looks really good. Great photo! Btw, I was in TN a couple weeks ago (we'll be moving there soon). Have a great weekend.

    :)
    ButterYum

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    1. Whereabouts in Tennessee? We're north of Nashville and liking it so far. I'm a northern girl at heart, so it's been fun to get to experience life as a southerner for a little while!

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  8. This looks so delicious! I live in China and one of our favorite restaurants has great coconut chicken that I have recently fallen in love with. The pictures of yours looks quite similar so I'm looking forward to giving it a try! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Oooh, that's exciting. I've never been to China or had 'real' Chinese food, but I've always wanted to. It's nice to know that this dish might not be far off :) So what's life in China like? I'm gonna have to visit your blog to read your story!

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  9. I stopped by earlier and I already made this tonight for dinner, they were so good! At first hubby was like, "Coconut?" I said yep, but he agreed it was really good. This one is definitely going to have some repeats in this house!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it...and your husband, too. I'm usually pretty easy to please, so my husband is my litmus test - if we both like it, it's a keeper!

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  10. These sound incredible! Can't wait to make them!
    -Melissa
    PS- I'm hosting a linky party if you'd like to come by and link up: http://serendipityandspice.blogspot.com/2012/02/manic-monday-6.html

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  11. I love coconut!!!I can't wait to try these! I hope I have all the ingredients so we can have it tonight Thanks for sharing with us at Link It Up Thursday.

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  12. Yum! I saw a similar recipe from Our Best Bites. It was so tasty, but my husband said he doesn't really like coconut on meats, etc. Too bad for me!

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  13. We love this recipe!! Looks so yummy! Thanks for coming to our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." We loved having you and hope you'll be back next Saturday! -The Sisters

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