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!