Coconut Chicken Tenders
We love fried food. Can’t help it. Do we eat fried food everyday? No way. But when we do, we enjoy it. My husband and the girls especially.
If you have kids, you are probably very familiar with the Dino chicken nuggets, or Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets or whatever organic chicken nuggets they sell at Whole Foods. . Hell, I’ll admit it. We still go to McD’s when we’re in a rush or need to pick up something quick. Now, do we go as often as we used to or as often as my hubby would like? Hells no. I love it how McDonald’s now always puts apples in the Happy Meals. Whereas before, you had to select them over the french fries. It’s not much but it helps.
So, if you’re ever sick of the Dino nuggets or want to have a dredging party with your kid/s (we did this!), give this recipe a try! I’m not saying these are healthier but at least you know what’s in them and you can use organic chicken breast. If you do enlist the help of your child, I highly recommend having your child, well, the both of you actually, wear these nifty disposable plastic kitchen gloves. I never handle chicken without these. My mom got me hooked.
One thing: The recipe I was using called for shredded sweetened coconut and I unknowingly purchased unsweetened shredded coconut. These chicken tenders still tasted mighty good to me especially with the semi-sweet dipping sauce we had. . but I will definitely try the shredded sweetened coconut next time! And heck, we’ll probably try baking these suckers next time too.
I hope you enjoy!
** For more information on Peanut oil vs. Canola oil, see the link below.
- Peanut or Canola Oil for frying
- 2 lbs of chicken breast, cut into strips
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1-2 cups all purpose flour for dredging
- 1½ cups of panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut (or unsweetened)
- 1-2 eggs, beaten
- ⅓ cup milk
- ½ cup of orange juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Fresh or dried parsley to sprinkle on top
- DIPPING SAUCE VARIATIONS:
- BBQ sauce with some of the shredded coconut mixed in
- Honey Dijon Mustard
- Ranch dressing with a little parsley (my kid's fave)
- Honey Marmalade Dipping Sauce Recipe, you'll need:
- ½ cup of honey
- ½ of marmalade
- On a cookie sheet, season your chicken strips with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside. In a medium bowl, pour in the flour. In a second medium bowl, mix the orange juice, milk, and beaten egg/s until your “wet” mixture is well incorporated. In your third bowl, mix the coconut and panko crumbs.
- Heat the oil in a medium pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Fill the pan to about ½″ of oil. Dip and fully coat each chicken strip in the flour first, then the egg mixture next and then the panko/coconut mix last to coat.
- Fry each tender for about 6-8 minutes (or 3 minutes on each side) or until golden brown. Transfer chicken to a paper towel lined plate in order to soak up any excess oil. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and parsley.
- If trying the HONEY MARMALADE DIPPING SAUCE RECIPE:
- In a small bowl, add honey and marmalade. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir everything until well mixed and serve with coconut chicken tenders.
Recipe adapted from Savory Sweet Life.
** Smoking Point: Though canola oil, with its lower levels of saturated fat and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, appears to be superior to peanut oil, peanut oil may have the advantage when it comes to high-temperature cooking. The smoking point of oil is the temperature at which the oil starts to smoke. The omega-3 fatty acids in canola oil burn easily, giving canola oil a lower smoking point. Read more here.