Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers with Coconut rice and Pineapple Cilantro salsa
Yeah I know, two recipes within a few days. What can I tell ya...there's chilly weather, a bunch of snow, and many creative projects on the table. Combine all of these and I'm apt to do a whole bunch of cooking and baking.
I promised some folks from Instagram and Facebook that I'd post this recipe today! Aaron and I couldn't stop talking about how delicious this meal was. We are huge cilantro fans. Whether it's infused in Mexican, Indian, or Thai...it can totally carry a recipe for us. As soon as we start chopping and the kitchen fills with it's distinctive scent we can't wait to eat! There's a brightness it brings to any meal. But we do understand that it's not for everyone...in fact there was this interesting discussion on NPR suggesting whether you go for Cilantro or not may actually be stamped on your DNA.
And I've mentioned on many occasions that coconut is a big time favorite flavor of ours as well. From sweet to savory coconut is a friend in our kitchen.
This meal was killer! The balance of flavors...the way the rice compliments the chicken and how the salsa compliments the rice etc...just fantastic! If you are already versed in flavoring like this then you'll love this recipe. If you have never tried a coconut rice/spicey yet fruity salsa combo I promise that your taste buds will dance! Forget boring white rice...this rice sings!
This prep was quick, easy, and fun. Aaron and I worked side by side and were chowing down in no time! And what's great is that the chicken is baked not fried! And if you wanted you could always substitute for a lite coconut milk!
Ok...first things first...get your rice going:
2 cups jasmine rice (we used Carolina brand)
2 cups coconut milk (we used Thai kitchen brand)
1 3/4 cups water
2 heaping tablespoons of flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, or vegetable oil
Coat the bottom and sides of a deep pot with your oil.
Place your rice, coconut milk, water, coconut, and salt in the pot and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
Once it has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low. Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
Now turn off the heat, but leave the covered pot on the burner to steam, until you are ready to plate everything!
Now let's get the chicken going!
Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers
1 lb chicken tenders
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs ( a crunchy Japanese breadcrumb, easy to find! )
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Combine your coconut, breadcrumbs, flour, brown sugar, curry powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl.
Sprinkle the tenders with the garlic salt.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Now, one at a time, dip your tenders into the eggs, coating both sides...and then right into your coconut mixture to dredge. Pressing to adhere as much of the deliciousness as possible!
Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Spray both sides of the chicken with nonstick spray.
Bake until lightly golden and crispy... about 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time.
while they bake...
2 (15-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons lime juice
4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
In a large bowl, combine your pineapple, cilantro, lime juice, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and honey. Mix well. It's that easy!
Serve over your rice and chicken.
I hope you have fun making this easy and delicious meal!