What I really wanted for dinner was coconut shrimp, but my P.S. will not eat shrimp so I eat it when we dine out. But I had chicken breasts thawed for dinner and I thought surely I could make them into coconut chicken fingers. That might still satisfy my craving. I should call them chicken tenders but there’s just something hilarious about saying “chicken fingers”!
I had a small bag of coconut and put it all into the food processor to make the pieces smaller. You could also use a blender or just leave the pieces their usual size. I wanted them a little smaller so that they would maybe stick to the chicken a little better.
I beat two eggs with a fork in another bowl, and poured about a cup of cornstarch in a third bowl. These are gluten free, just to see how it worked. You could use flour as the first dip if you tolerate gluten.
I heated canola oil in my little fryer as I cut my chicken breasts into strips. Any shape would do, I chose strips that were about 2 1/2 – 3 inches long and about an inch thick. Best to have them all about the same size so they fry evenly.
I dipped each chicken strip into first the cornstarch then the egg mixture, and lastly the coconut. I placed them on a plate as they were done dipping until they were all coated.
I placed 3 or 4 pieces into the basket of my deep fryer at a time and cooked them until they were nicely browned. To make sure, I cut one in half to see if any pink remained and it was perfectly done.
I fried the tenders in several batches, putting them into a baking dish lined with paper toweling to keep warm in the oven as each batch was finished
I served the “fingers” with steamed cauliflower and rice and dinner was delicious! The crispy toasted coconut coating was exactly what I’d been craving. The chicken was moist and tender beneath its crispy coating and perfect for dipping. I tossed together a mayo and crushed pineapple sauce for dipping at the last minute. The sauce was ok, nothing special. I need to work on a good dipping sauce yet. Will post it when I have it tweaked and ready to use!
Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders
2# of chicken breast or as much as you need for your number of servings
small bag of coconut
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs; beaten
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Toss coconut into the food processor or blender and pulse several times to reduce it to smaller flakes. Be careful not to reduce it to dust! Place in a bowl for dipping.
Beat 2 eggs in another dipping bowl.
Add cornstarch to a third dipping bowl.
Heat oil in a deep fryer or kettle on the stove to 325 degrees F.
Cut chicken into strips about 2 1/2″ x 1″.
Dip chicken to coat in cornstarch, egg, then coconut. Place on platter until all pieces are coated.
Lower 3-4 pieces at a time (if using a small fryer) into the oil and fry until medium golden brown. Remove and cut one piece to test for timing. If no pink remains, timing is right.
Continue cooking chicken pieces until all are done, placing them in a baking dish lined with paper toweling in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining pieces.