I’m borderline obsessed with coconut lately. Well, mostly with coconut water smoothies but still =). A few days ago, I was trying to come up with some dinner inspiration and decided to make baked coconut shrimp. There was only one problem though – I didn’t have any shrimp! Don’t you hate when that happens?? When you just can’t come up with anything to cook for dinner and then you finally decided on something only to realize you don’t have all the ingredients! I guess I could have gone to the store, but I generally try to avoid the grocery store at rush hour. I decided to improvise and use chicken instead. It was just as good if not better, and with only 5 ingredients it doesn’t get much easier! One problem I have with baked coconut crusted recipes (versus fried) is that the coconut doesn’t brown evenly, so you don’t end up with a nice golden brown crust. My solution was to toast the coconut before I coated the chicken. It worked like a charm – perfectly golden brown crust. I also decided to use panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs for a little extra crunch. And again, I toasted the bread crumbs first for a little extra color and flavor. I’m definitely going to try these tricks next time I make my baked coconut shrimp. Just like coconut shrimp, I dip my coconut chicken in thai sweet chili sauce but use any dipping sauce you like. This recipe is a winner for sure! Enjoy!
Coconut Crusted Baked Chicken Fingers
2 chicken breasts ( ~ 1 lb.), cut into strips (or chicken tenders)
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1/2 cup panko, lightly toasted
1/4 cup + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, divided
1/2 cup lite coconut milk (or milk, buttermilk)
dash of salt
thai sweet chili sauce for dipping
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. To set up your dredging station, you will need 3 bowls. In the first bowl, place 1/3 cup flour. In second bowl, add coconut milk. In third bowl, combine coconut, panko, remaining 1/4 cup flour, and dash of salt.
3. Dip each chicken strip in flour, then milk, then coconut mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Flip and bake 15 minutes more. Serve with thai sweet chili sauce.