In my opinion, coconut-crusted anything is really good! Chicken, shrimp, fish, I think it’s because you get the best of both worlds – sweet from the coconut and savory from the protein – in this case, chicken.
I used chicken thighs and made ‘bites’ (or nuggets) but you could easily slice a chicken breast into strips and make chicken tenders, but you may need to increase the cooking time.
These tasty bites would be great for the kiddos or a party appetizer. There are a few steps but overall the process is easy and all ingredients are readily available at any grocery store.
- 4 –6 chicken thighs – cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1”)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup sweetened coconut
- salt/ pepper to your taste
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 or 3 cups canola oil for frying
Thai Dipping Sauce
- 2 (heaping) tablespoons Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- Using kitchen shears cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika, be sure to coat all sides of the chicken with the seasonings.
- Make an assembly line to bread the chicken. Put the flour into a shallow dish (I use a paper plate to make for easy clean up), crack the eggs in a separate dish, in a third shallow dish mix together the coconut flakes and breadcrumbs. I add a little salt and pepper to the coconut flake mixture.
- Shallow pan fry the chicken – pour the oil into a deep skillet or pot. Heat over medium-high heat. NOTE – you will know the oil is hot if you insert a wooden spoon into the oil and it begins to bubble all around the edge. Working in batches fry the chicken. Using a spoon or thongs gently place the chicken into the oil (do not drop). Cook about 4 minutes on both sides or until the coconut breading is golden brown and chicken is cooked thru. I will cut one open to check for doneness.
- With a slotted spoon remove the chicken and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Note – after the chicken has cooled slightly.
- Make the dipping sauce – mix together the sweet Thai chili sauce and the soy sauce.
- Serve while hot with dipping sauce! If you’re not into Thai flavors a tangy honey mustard would be delicious too!
Be careful not to overcrowd the skillet. If you put too many pieces into the oil at the same time you could bring down the temp too low to prpoerly fry.
As with any time you are deep frying be careful and watch out for splatters.