COCONUT CHICKEN TENDERS WITH SWEET AND SPICY MANGO DIPPING SAUCE
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
2 pounds chicken tenders
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tablespoons milk
Oil for frying
1 cup mango nectar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons honey
If baking instead of frying chicken tenders, the coconut need to be toasted. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place coconut in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes, stirring halfway. Keep a close eye on coconut after the halfway point as it goes from light to toasted within seconds. Remove and stir. Allow to cool. If frying, do not pre-toast coconut.
In a small vessel, combine salt, pepper, and garlic powder. This is the seasoning mixture. Set aside.
Add eggs, milk, and 1/3 of the seasoning mixture into a wide shallow bowl. Beat eggs. Set aside.
Add flour and the remaining seasoning mixture into second wide shallow bowl. Mix to combine.
In a third wide shallow bowl combine coconut and panko crumbs.
To coat chicken: Dip chicken into the flour mixture to coat. Shake off excess. Dip into egg mixture. Allow excess to drip off. Dip into the coconut/panko mixture, patting coconut onto chicken. Place onto a baking sheet. Continue coating the remaining chicken. Allow tenders to rest about 30 minutes to allow time for the coating to stick.
Make sauce: a small saucepan, off heat, whisk mango nectar and cornstarch until there are no lumps. Whisk in the remaining dipping sauce ingredients. Place on medium high heat, whisking frequently. When sauce begins to bubble, whisk constantly until thicken. Remove from heat. Garnish with red pepper flakes just before serving, optional.
If frying, preheat 1 1/2 to 2 inch oil to 360 degrees F in a skillet. Working in batches, add chicken. Fry for 5-8 minutes or until cooked through, turning over halfway. Cooking time varies with size of tenders and fluctuating heat.
If baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chicken on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
Serve with dipping sauce. Makes about 14 chicken tenders.
- To help breading stick, shake off excess flour and egg wash while coating tenders.
- To prevent coating from falling off during baking or frying, allow tenders to rest about 30 minutes after breading to give it time to stick prior to cooking.