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Friday, January 22, 2010

Coconut-crusted Chicken Tenders

A few months ago Bob and I were walking by The Goddess and Grocer and realized that, although we've driven by it a million times, we've never actually been inside! So we strolled in and found an awesome selection of pre-made items (like Chicken Marbella!), sandwiches, and specialty foods and drinks. One of the items in the case was Coconut-crusted Chicken. What a great idea! I've never heard of it before but immediately decided I would make a version at home. I though crusting in coconut alone might be a bit much, so I did a 50/50 mix of toasted Panko and toasted coconut. Instead of using the traditional egg dip for breaded chicken, I used light coconut milk. We really, really liked this chicken!!! The chicken stayed moist, the crust was crispy and slightly sweet from the coconut. Took us right back to Hawaii!

For my birthday back in October I bought myself an instant read digital thermometer at Williams-Sonoma. It has been SOOO nice not having to cut into chicken multiple times to see if it's done! Especially with strips like these, it can really ruin the presentation of the dish to have big cuts throughout the chicken tender. This thermometer leaves the most inconspicuous hole that practically closes itself!

With a pina colada dipping sauce. I found the sauce recipe online, but it wasn't that great so I'm not posting it.

Coconut-crusted Chicken Tenders

1 package boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1/2 Tablespoon vegetable/Canola oil
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.
1. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. Add panko and cook until golden. Remove to a shallow dish to cool.

2. Using the same skillet, add coconut and brown slightly - do not overdo or the coconut will burn in the oven when the chicken is baked. Toss coconut with panko in the shallow dish.

3. Pour coconut milk into a second shallow dish. In a third dish, combine 1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper.

4. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Wash chicken and dry with paper towels. Dredge in flour, then dip in coconut milk, followed by coconut/panko mixture. Place on baking sheet.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through (I used my instant read thermometer to cook to 165 - 170F and it worked PERFECTLY!) Make sure to keep on eye on them because the coconut can burn if you don't watch it.

6. Serve with dipping sauce(s) of choice, if desired!


  1. These look excellent! So crispy and crunchy. I love the flavor of coconut with chicken. Great idea to use coconut milk too.

  2. Meghan, this chicken looks scrumptious with that lovely crispy coating! I definitely need to try this as my hubby and I ate loads of coconut shrimp in Maui and order it when we go out sometimes. I think the chicken just might be even better!

  3. Ha ha! I always hate cutting into chicken to see if it's done. Now I have a thermometer, and I guess I don't trust it because I still feel the need to cut the chicken. I bet this would be good dipped in honey or with a mnago salsa on the side!

  4. I love everything about this recipe! I'm putting this on my "to-make" list. :)
    ~Your panko/coconut mixture...what a great idea!
    ~The coconut milk dip in lieu of eggs for extra coconut flavor. My son is allergic to eggs so this is a great alternative!
    ~Baked vs fried, a healthy choice.
    I'm making this SOON! Thanks for sharing your yummy recipe!

  5. Those look wicked good, I love coconut and chicken together.

  6. These look heavenly! I have some extra coconut from a recipe I recently made and would love to use it for this chicken. Have a great weekend!

  7. yum. i like anything with coconut. i'm in.

  8. Hi, glad you loved my store. I created that recipe and I do use a mix of panko and coconut otherwise it would be a bit too sweet. Love the idea of baking them, just will have to check out how they hold up for crispiness once the are in the case. I like the chicken with Thai sweet chili sauce with a bit of sriracha added to make it a little hotter. Thanks for the compliments!!!!

  9. I've made something similar to this and I remember we liked it, a lot! Thanks for the reminder. Another dish to put on the menu!

  10. Mmm, the strips look so crispy and delicious! I love your idea to use coconut milk for the dipping too! Sounds like such a fun store.

  11. These look awesome!! I do love anything with coconut! Yum!

    Your monkey cookies are just too adorable too!

  12. I found this recipe during a search and am making them now. I didnt have any coconut milk so i actually used the liquid from a can of lite peaches. Cross your fingers!!

  13. I love marmalade mixed with horseradish for dipping. Easy, inexpensive and delicious. I've even used the low sugar marmelade. I do prefer to use a strong spicy horseradish, but this 2 ingredient sauce can be made to taste.

  14. This was so yummy! We loved it! I didn't have coconut milk and used Sirachi Hot Sauce, milk, and an egg instead and it was fabulous. Thank you!


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