Sunday, February 10, 2013

Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers with Coconut rice and Pineapple Cilantro salsa


Hey guys!

Yeah I know, two recipes within a few days. What can I tell ya...there's chilly weather, a bunch of snow, and many creative projects on the table. Combine all of these and I'm apt to do a whole bunch of cooking and baking. 

I promised some folks from Instagram and Facebook that I'd post this recipe today! Aaron and I couldn't stop talking about how delicious this meal was. We are huge cilantro fans. Whether it's infused in Mexican, Indian, or Thai...it can totally carry a recipe for us. As soon as we start chopping and the kitchen fills with it's distinctive scent we can't wait to eat! There's a brightness it brings to any meal. But we do understand that it's not for everyone...in fact there was this interesting discussion on NPR suggesting whether you go for Cilantro or not may actually be stamped on your DNA.   

And I've mentioned on many occasions that coconut is a big time favorite flavor of ours as well. From sweet to savory coconut is a friend in our kitchen.  

This meal was killer! The balance of flavors...the way the rice compliments the chicken and how the salsa compliments the rice etc...just fantastic! If you are already versed in flavoring like this then you'll love this recipe. If you have never tried a coconut rice/spicey yet fruity salsa combo I promise that your taste buds will dance! Forget boring white rice...this rice sings!  

This prep was quick, easy, and fun. Aaron and I worked side by side and were chowing down in no time! And what's great is that the chicken is baked not fried! And if you wanted you could always substitute for a lite coconut milk!

Ok...first things first...get your rice going:

Coconut Rice

2 cups jasmine rice (we used Carolina brand)
2 cups coconut milk (we used Thai kitchen brand)
1 3/4 cups water
2 heaping tablespoons of flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, or vegetable oil


Coat the bottom and sides of a deep pot with your oil.
Place your rice, coconut milk, water, coconut, and salt in the pot and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
Once it has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low. Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. 
Now turn off the heat, but leave the covered pot on the burner to steam, until you are ready to plate everything!

Now let's get the chicken going!

Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers

1 lb chicken tenders
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut 
1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs ( a crunchy Japanese breadcrumb, easy to find! )
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. 
Combine your coconut, breadcrumbs, flour, brown sugar, curry powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl.
 Sprinkle the tenders with the garlic salt. 
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Now, one at a time, dip your tenders into the eggs, coating both sides...and then right into your coconut mixture to dredge. Pressing to adhere as much of the deliciousness as possible!
Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the baking sheet. 
Spray both sides of the chicken with nonstick spray. 
Bake until lightly golden and crispy... about 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time. 

while they bake...

Pineapple Salsa 

2 (15-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons lime juice
4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons honey (optional)


In a large bowl, combine your pineapple, cilantro, lime juice, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and honey. Mix well.  It's that easy!
Serve over your rice and chicken.

serves 4-6

I hope you have fun making this easy and delicious meal!

xo, Jenny



19 comments:

  1. Thanks! I'm going to try and get the ingredients tomorrow.
    Mahala

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  2. just printed this off.. cant wait to try it. thanks so much for sharing your recipes!
    have a great week
    xoxo

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    1. Happy to share Viv!! :) Tossing some fresh cilantro into the rice before serving is fantastic too! :)
      xo

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    1. Thanks Megan!! We've made a few variations of this and love it every time! :)

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  4. Oh yummy! I'm now hungry again, Thanks! ^_^

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    1. Happy to share!! Thanks for visiting! :)
      xo

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  5. You're giving me an appetite. I just may have to make this one. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Melissa! We hope that you do give it a try! :)

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  6. This looks so yummy, I have to make it

    A little bit Unique

    x

    Oh and I'm running a giveaway, if you want to pop over and have a nosey! Giveaway here

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    1. Thanks bunches! We hope that you will! :)
      xo

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  7. That looks sooo good. I love cilantro!!

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    1. Hey Karin! Thanks! Us too!! We often mix in some fresh cilantro with the rice just before serving. xo

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  8. Ok, second recipe I made of yours, I think a day apart too! I was excited to try this recipe, it's so different and I had to know how it would all meld together. Well, it turned out just fantastic! I made it as a pre valentine's day dinner for my daughter and grandbaby and husband. Everyone was impressed, including myself! NOW you have me going to try your chocolate cake! Who doesn't love chocolate cake, right?! Thanks again! Susan

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    1. Hi Suzie! Apologies on replying so long after your comment. yikes! Thanks so very much! Glad you enjoyed it! Happy to share! We've been having so much fun sharing our recipes this past year and look forward to sharing lots more! It's always fun to see what our blog friends are cooking up isn't it? Almost like getting to eat over their houses! ha! :)

      Love from the Jersey Shore!
      xo J&A

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  9. Oh my goodness! We made this tonight for dinner and it was amazing! I loved everything about it. I am a total cilantro addict, so I have a feeling I will be making that easy & amazing pineapple salsa pretty much ALL THE TIME! BTW - I used crushed pineapple instead and it was kind of great because it is a little more like a super thick sauce...mmm! Thanks for the recipe!!

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    1. hi Sarah! Thanks so much for the kind words! We are so happy you enjoyed it! Yes! The salsa is incredible on it's own isn't it? We appreciate you taking the time to come back to let us know what you thought!

      Happy Cooking and Eating!
      xo Jenny & Aaron

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  10. Jenny, I just wanted to let you know that I made this tonight and I can't stop raving about it! The breading was DELISH (would be so good on jumbo shrimp too) and the rice was yummy! We adored it and it will definitely go into our regular rotation. Thanks so much for sharing it! (PS--the southwestern acorn squash is also on the menu this week...)

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Thanks so much for reading! We absolutely love to hear from you guys...so please leave a comment if the mood strikes you, or if you have any questions for us about a recipe, project, art supply , paint color, etc. Don't panic if your comment doesn't appear right away...we moderate all comments to avoid getting tons of spam. Thanks again!!
xo Jenny & Aaron