Well, the holiday season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than by making some tropical chicken!
Okay, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but bear with me…this stuff is good.
I made a version of coconut “fried” chicken over the summer and Justin and I loved it, but I wanted to tweak the recipe a little bit to see if I could make it a little bit lighter. I had pan fried the chicken in coconut oil, so it was a little lighter than your usual pub fare, but it was still a little bit heavy for my liking.
We had some chicken that needed to be used up and some leftover coconut from a batch of granola, so I decided to give the coconut chicken another go. I went with a combination of pan frying/baking and it was exactly what it needed. The few minutes in the frying pan meant that the tenders were crispy and flavorful and the remainder of the time in the oven meant that they weren’t too heavy or oily.
Justin gave these such an enthusiastic thumbs up that I don’t even think that the Seal of Approval is appropriate.
I mean, I’ll post it because it makes me laugh, but just try to picture the seal even more excited.
For the record, I made it the same night that we decorated our Christmas tree. I know we probably should have had figgy pudding or chestnuts roasted over an open fire or something, but it is what it is.
I started off with 2 good sized chicken breasts. I pounded them a little bit to even them out and then sliced them into smaller pieces to make them easier to work with, and then seasoned them with salt and pepper. While I was preparing the chicken, I toasted some Panko bread crumbs in some coconut oil for a few minutes, and then I tossed in the coconut until everything started to turn a golden brown.
From there, I added some more coconut oil to the pan and heated it up over medium heat, and set up an assembly line with flour, eggs, and the bread crumb mixture.
Once the oil was heated, I dredged the chicken in the flour, then the egg, and then coated it in the bread crumbs. I (carefully!) placed the coated chicken in the oil and cooked it for a few minutes on each side.
It was at this point that Justin came in to check on me, and no sooner had he uttered the words “How’s it goin’?” than the oil popped and hit me in the eye. That’ll teach me to cook without my goggles on.
They’re fashionable and functional.
I had a pan at the ready that was lined with tinfoil and topped with a baking rack that I had sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray, and once the chicken was browned on both sides, I put it on the rack for safekeeping.
It might help if the rack that you’re using actually fits on the pan, but if you’re unprepared like me, feel free to angle the rack across the pan to make it work.
I put the chicken in a preheated 375 degree oven and they were ready to go after about 7 minutes.
We made a meal of it by pairing the chicken with some Jasmine rice and sauteed broccoli, but you can also serve them solo with some dipping sauce, which is what Justin did for round 2. Our sauce of choice was a lovely honey mustard number.
makes: 2-3 servings / Prep time: 20 minutes / Cook time: 15 minutes
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
- 1/2-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
- 2 eggs, beaten
- salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray a baking rack with non-stick cooking spray and place it on top of the baking sheet. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil over low-medium heat and toast the bread crumbs until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the coconut during the last few minutes and stir often to prevent burning. Heat up some more coconut oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/4 of an inch) over medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken through the flour, then through the eggs, and then through the bread crumb mixture, coating completely each time. Carefully place the chicken in the frying pan and cook on each side for 2-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Place the chicken on the rack and bake it all in the oven for 5-7 minutes.