Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips (or nuggets) for SRC, and Part 9April 9, 2012 at 11:58 am | Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Poultry, SRC | 66 Comments
Tags: Chicken Breasts, Chicken Fingers, Chile Garlic Sauce, Cilantro, coconut, cooking, Dessicated Coconut, garlic, Ginger, Greek Yogurt, Lime, Panko, Soy Sauce
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Edesia’s Notebook (love the name) authored and photographed by Lesa. For the first time since I joined, I didn’t have the urge to grab some gorgeous dessert, which Lesa has plenty of, and play with it. Instead, the same thought kept going through my head.
You don’t often see posts where I just make dinner, nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, nothing you would only make for a special occasion. It’s not that I don’t have a decent amount of simple recipes, but I just felt the need to cook dinner and blog it. I chose her Crunchy Lemon Chicken.
Of course, I ended up futzing with it, because I truly believe it’s nearly impossible for me not to futz with recipes. I cut each breast into strips, used limes instead of lemons, and added soy sauce and garlic to the marinade. I also added dessicated coconut to the panko bread crumbs and beat the eggs with coconut water for the breading station. Add to that a few other minor alterations, like the baking time and temperature, and there you have it.
Otherwise, it’s just dinner, and it was delicious. I think these are the crunchiest, most delicious baked chicken fingers I’ve ever had, and kids would go absolutely berserk over these. Just my completely unbiased opinion..I swear.
Even though they were flavorful enough as is, I decided to made a dip to go with them – what I call a garbage dip, where you rummage through your fridge and cabinets and just throw something together. It was interesting and tasty, (it looks kind of gross in the photos..like Thousand Island dressing that sat out too long, doesn’t it?), but, again, the chicken fingers had so much flavor, it really wasn’t needed.
Now to Bad Boy First Love Part 9. If you’re reading this for the first time, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, and Part 8 is HERE.
Between the kissing, hugging, talking and staring into each other’s eyes (I didn’t laugh or look away once, for the first time in my life. His eyes were so blue and clear in the dark, I can still picture it perfectly to this day), for hours, it was absolutely, unequivocally, the best.night.of.my.life.
Soon the sky started to lighten a bit, and I was exhausted. So much raw emotion had been dumped in less than 24 hours, so many instant highs and sudden lows…the wine and beer certainly playing a small part too. I couldn’t prevent the constant yawning, no matter how hard I tried . BUT, I wanted this night to last forever. I wanted to fall asleep in his arms, right there..even if we were to wake up to harsh sunlight, screaming kids, the smell of suntan lotion, and beach balls landing on us. He held me for a while as I started to fade, then gently kissed me awake, stroking my hair.
“I think we better get you home, sweetheart – you’re starting to crash” he said sweetly.
“Huh? No..I’m awake.. just resting my eyes!” I lied.
The above is my usual line when someone wakes me up, whether in person or by phone. No idea why I always say that, and still do to this day, as if it’s a bad thing to admit I’m falling asleep or that they woke me up from a deep sleep. I’m strange that way.
On our drive back to the luxurious penthouse, he suddenly pulled over. I was so busy staring at his beautiful profile, that I hadn’t even noticed the scuffle going on between 4 guys, one of them apparently being ganged up on by the other three in a somewhat dark, out-of-the-way area near the beach.
One of the three was holding what looked to be a baseball bat, but he was leaning on it. Maybe they were fighting over a late night-early morning baseball game that just ended? Of course I said that to him, feeling like a total idiot once the words left my lips.
He looked at me calmly and said, “I’ll be right back”, in a tone that suggested more that he was going to get me a soda or a candy bar..not play vigilante. The feeling of unease that came over me was too much to ignore. I just got this guy back! I couldn’t lose him again! I reached over and touched his arm..
“No, don’t..please, let’s just go.” I pleaded, suddenly terrified.
He smiled and kissed my cheek, “I’ll be right back.” He said, again, calmly.
OK, he meant business.
Nothing rattled this boy.
I heard the trunk open and close, then watched in the rear view mirror as he pulled something out. Upon further inspection, it looked like a tire iron. He walked toward this scuffle like it was no big deal – such confidence, completely void of fear, I thought. Now I was really scared, but in a strange way, it turned me on. West Side Story with tire irons and baseball bats was about to come to life, and I was slightly turned on..what the hell was wrong with me?
Oh, I remember, I liked bad boys, and this was most certainly bad boy behavior, but he was a good bad boy, he was going to protect someone. Then the thought of him getting really hurt brought back the fear. I opened the window and called out to him meekly. He didn’t hear me, but I couldn’t hear me either since my voice box suddenly ceased to exist.
I watched intently as he walked up to them and stood in front of the victim, protecting him from their irate tones and most importantly, the baseball bat. He still looked calm, but so damn tough.
I was excited again.
I couldn’t hear what they were saying outside of my now even sexier guy commanding them to “‘Keep walking” when the bullies started to back off after trying to get tough with him and apparently not succeeding. Tire iron > baseball bat.
Then they came forward again and I couldn’t take it anymore…he was going to get hurt! I do have to admit I liked how he didn’t back up, not even one inch, when they came toward him.
Just as I was about to open the car door so I could run over and fling myself in front of him in the most dramatic fashion ever, he pushed one of them in the chest. I was shocked to see the guy stumble back quite a ways and fall when it seemed like such a light push, with one hand, no less. Then they took off and that was it. Wow, that was too easy. How did he do that? I thought, although insanely grateful that it was over.
I guess they realized that if he could push that lightly and send the guy back that far and on his ass, one swing of the tire iron could be pretty fierce. Then again, I didn’t hear what was said, so that probably played a part too. It didn’t matter, there was no way he was going to let three guys beat up on one, and that made me want him even more. I actually trembled, in a good way, at that thought, knowing that he would always protect me, and maybe, if I was lucky, fall in love with me.
He walked back to the car with the victim. Turns out, after an introduction, the kid, who couldn’t have been more than 16 (well..a little younger than me) worked in one of the booths on the pier and he knew him well. The kid got into the car and couldn’t stop thanking Dreamboat. I was in awe of how cool, calm and collected Dreamboat remained, as if he simply bought the kid a slice of pizza and there was no need to make anything of it.
Apparently, this kid owed a some long overdue money to one of the guys, and that guy brought along his two friends, and a bat, to collect, when this kid couldn’t have weighed more than 120 lbs soaking wet.
“No problem. I don’t care what you owe him, if he can’t collect on his own, he’s weak. Let me know if they ever give you a hard time again, okay?” Dreamboat said, again, calmly. How did he continue to remain so cool after that? I thought, as I stared at him adoringly.
The guy was an ‘effin chickenshit according to Dreamboat. Damn, he grew sexier by the minute! If I didn’t marry this guy one day, they may as well move me in with a horde of cats, because no one would ever compare to him - no one.
Once wee dropped the kid off, and we were alone again, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him..I hugged and kissed him as he drove, almost to the point where he almost drove off the road. I was even more crazy about him than before, and frankly, I didn’t think that was possible. I thought I had already reached the apex of love, longing, lust – or whatever you want to call it, with him, but, apparently, that wasn’t the case and it was only going to get better.
When he pulled up to my mini ‘party central’ apartment complex (there were parties still going on and the place was hopping..at 5:30 am), after about a 20 minute goodbye (our goodbyes would become legendary, to us, that is) I reached to pick up a little purse I had brought with me and left on the passenger seat floor.
Cut to 6 months prior..during my sad junior year of high school. My friend bought me one of those white button pins with an I HEART Dreamboat on it – aka I LOVE plus his real name, when we were at the mall one night. I always kept it in my purse, for no reason other than I did HEART him and being a little superstitious, felt that maybe it might bring us back together again (like the cup holder!).
I bet you can guess what happened next.
I forgot that I had opened the purse before getting out of the car to walk, well, trip over my own feet, to the beach, to grab a few orange and cinnamon tic-tacs. The button came flying out of my open purse and landed right on his lap.
I wanted to die.
He picked it up and looked at it, not saying anything for about a minute. Why, why, why? Now he would think I was some obsessive, stalker child! Why would a supposed 18-year old be carrying something like that around?
Maybe there was a slight chance he was illiterate? I had never wished someone to be illiterate that desperately, at that moment. I could teach him to read, kissing him every time he read a word correctly!
I braced myself, my face burning like a marshmallow ready to be s’mored. I desperately wished I could to turn back the clock two minutes and do it over again, gently picking up the purse. Maybe I could say it was another Dreamboat! Yeah..I could hear myself now..trying to act all cool..
“Well, during our time apart, I just so happened to meet a guy named Dreamboat, what a coincidence, huh? I thought I was never going to see you again, so I thought I loved him, but I didn’t, and I forgot it was still in this purse .I rarely use this purse!” *confident flick of my hair*.
He interrupted my momentary lapse of logical thought….
“You shouldn’t have one of these unless you mean it” He said with a serious look in his eyes.
I DO MEAN IT! I’m madly in love with you!
Instead…I told him the truth, without confessing my love for him.
“I know, D bought it for me, and I kept it in my purse hoping it would bring me luck and I’d see you again.” I whispered weakly, hoping I didn’t sound too stalky.
He smiled. I relaxed.
Whoa, that was easy, why was I so freaked out about it?
He pulled me to him and hugged me tight, then whispered in my ear..
“I guess it worked then, like the cup holder.” Hellooo, goosebumps.
I smiled, a wave of relief washing over me. I decided I’d drop the age bomb the next night.
Part 10 coming soon. I’m sorry I left you all with the same cliffhanger as last time, but I started this post before everything happened, and couldn’t finish it, which would have included that story, due to the current circumstances. I didn’t want to give you all something half-assed. I promise Part 10 soon!
Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips or Bites
Adapted from and Inspired by Lesa from Edesia’s Notebook
Yields about 4 servings
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped finely
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breasts (About 1 lb) cut into 1-inch wide strips. Cut each strip in half to make ‘nuggets’.
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup dessicated coconut shreds
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to season flour
2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons of coconut water (you can use coconut milk if you can’t find coconut water)
Oil spray, doesn’t matter what kind
1. In a bowl, stir together lime juice, zest, light olive oil, ginger, light soy sauce, garlic and salt. Add the chicken strips and stir until they’re completely coated with the marinade. You can also pour the marinade with the chicken strips, into a ziplock bag, which is what I did. Marinate for 4 to 5 hours at the most..stirring the strips in the bowl of marinade or squeezing around the bag every hour to an hour and a half to insure even marinating.
2. Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with oil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs and coconut water in a second bowl, and the panko and dessicated coconut in a third bowl. Remove the chicken strips from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
3. Lift up each chicken strip and shake off some of the marinade so it isn’t overly-saturated (I just ran two impeccably clean fingers down each strip, sliding off the extra marinade). Coat each chicken strip in flour, knocking off the excess, then dip and coat well in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the panko - dessicated coconut mixture, pressing it onto each strip. Place each chicken strip on the oiled baking sheet and continue until all chicken has been coated.
4. Lightly spray some oil on the breaded chicken strips, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. IMPORTANT – Do not let them sit on the baking sheet once out of the oven. Transfer them to a rack if not eating within a few minutes, or the bottoms will get soggy.
Spicy Yogurt Dip
1 cup greek yogurt
2 to 3 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce
1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix all the ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend.
If you get a chance, please click on the blue frog below to see all the amazing dishes recreated by Group A of The Secret Recipe Club. Also, click on over to Edesia’s Notebook for some fantastic sweet and savory recipes!