There are certain flavors that remind me of the Caribbean. Coconut, cilantro, lime, and pineapple are a few that immediately come to mind.
As you may know, thanks to my friends at Carnival, last year I had the opportunity to sail the Caribbean with my mom. Stopping at various ports of call was a wonderful way to see a lot of places in the Caribbean. Taking advantage of the various shore excursions allowed us to experience many local activities and flavors.
One of my favorite excursions was “Salsa & Salsa and Margaritas” in Cozumel, Mexico. My mom and I made three different kinds of salsa, drank margaritas, and then learned how to salsa. It was some of the best aspects of that Caribbean island packed into one fun package.
While I’m not teaching you how to make salsa (or dance the salsa), I thought you might enjoy whipping up a dish inspired by the Caribbean – Baked Coconut Chicken Strips.
I’m a huge fan of coconut, whether sweet or savory, and these chicken strips are out-of-this-world-delicious. Baked in the oven, they are much healthier than the traditional fried chicken strips. However, they don’t lack in crunch. A mixture of coconut and panko crumbs give them a nice crunchy exterior.
Paired with homemade creamy honey-pineapple dipping sauce, these strips make a perfect appetizer or a main course for dinner. And, since I love dipping things, I decided to also pair these guys with a store-bought sweet chili sauce. The chicken goes deliciously with either.
Let me walk you through the recipe.
Baked Coconut Chicken Strips
Here’s what you will need:
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Sweet chili sauce, optional
Creamy Honey-Pineapple Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
- 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Begin by preheating your oven 350 degrees F. Brush a non-stick baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil. Set aside.
Gather three bowls. In one bowl, combine flour, salt, seasoned salt, and black pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In the third bowl, combine the coconut and panko.
Dip a chicken tenderloin into the flour, shaking off any excess, then into the egg mixture, and finally into the coconut and panko mixture. Place the chicken on the baking sheet. Repeat with all of the chicken.
Bake on the middle of the rack for 15-18 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. To prevent the coconut from getting too dark while baking, if necessary, lightly cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
For the creamy honey-pineapple dipping sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients and serve in a small bowl. An additional store-bought sweet chili sauce can also be served alongside the chicken.
And that’s it. Transport yourself to the Caribbean in less than 30 minutes. Mentally at least. It’s that simple. Enjoy!
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.