Thursday, October 6, 2011

Panko and Coconut Chicken

This is a dish my sons ask for once a week. And I don't mind because it's easy to make and the leftover chicken is just as good the next day. It took me a few tries to get the coating right. Coconut isn't easy to work with—it doesn't readily stick to the chicken and burns easily when frying. Needless to say I've had some miss-fires on this one, but now I think I have it down to a science. If you're a coconut lover, you'll love this recipe because you get to eat the coconut as you're cooking. Well, at least I do!—Diana

You'll need:
1-2 lbs chicken
2 eggs
All-purpose flour
Olive oil for frying
Peach mango salsa (optional)

My family likes the chicken cut into strips, but you can do cutlets as well. Coat the chicken in flour. (With strips, I find the easiest—and neatest—way to do this is to put the flour in a quart-size storage bag (I add some pepper) and add a few pieces of chicken at a time to coat.)

Make an egg wash in one bowl, put the coconut in another bowl, and the panko in a third bowl. (Next week I'll show you my favorite kitchen accessory that makes this process so easy). My favorite brand of panko is Roland all-natural whole wheat panko that you can find at Trader Joe's (see picture below). Take the flour-coated chicken, dip into the egg wash, then the coconut, and then the panko. (I've tried this several different ways—a mixture of the panko and coconut together; coating the chicken in the panko first and then the coconut; and with and without the flour. Trust me...flour, egg wash, coconut, panko in that order is the way to go.)

Fry the chicken in the oil on medium heat (too high will burn the coconut) until golden brown on both sides. Depending on the thickness of the chicken, after frying I may put the chicken on a baking sheet covered with tin foil in the oven on 350 degrees for 15 minutes just to make sure it is cooked thoroughly.

Top with peach-mango salsa for added sweetness and it's a chicken dish that tastes more like dessert!

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