Sweet and savory, these Baked Coconut Chicken Strips have a great flavor, and make for a speedy weeknight dinner.
Quick and Easy
Ready in 5 minutes
This post was updated May 2016.
My husband has a “thing” for sweet foods. He rarely dislikes food I make, but on those rare occasions, his complaint is almost always, “it isn’t sweet enough.” I don’t care if we are talking about cookies or chicken, it all needs to have an element of sweetness to satisfy his tastebuds.
Now contrast that with me. Almost every recipe that crosses my countertop gets it’s sugar content cut dramatically. I definitely have a sweet tooth, but I’d rather my sweet tooth be satisfied in controlled and well-balanced doses. And I also have one heck of a “spicy tooth” that loves foods that are sharp, spicy and savory, without much sugar content at all.
Needless to say, it took quite a few years to perfect dishes that happily satisfied both of us. As with anything in a good marriage, we’ve met in the middle. I’ve toned down my use of hot peppers. And he no longer requests that I add more sugar to the pizza dough recipe.
Of all of our culinary compromises, this coconut chicken may be the pièce de résistance. For my husband, it is breaded in naturally sweet coconut flakes. For me, it is seasoned with pepper and dipped in a slighty-spicy sweet chili sauce.
These chicken strips are kinda like us a couple—contrasting, yet totally complementary.
Also, to satisfy both of us, they are baked, not fried. Finishing off the strips with a spray of olive oil helps them crisp up in the oven just like they would in the frying pan.
You might be tempted to skip the sweet chili sauce, but I promise you, it is worth it! You can find sweet chili sauce at most major grocery stores in the international food section.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Place baking racks in a baking sheet, and spray liberally with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place chicken breasts in a large zip-top bag, then pound until about ½" thick. Then slice breasts into ¾" strips.
- In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and black pepper. In another bowl, add the egg. In a third bowl, combine the coconut and breadcrumbs.
- Dredge one chicken strip in the flour mixture, then knock off excess. Dredge in egg, and let excess drip off. Then finally, press the strip into the coconut mixture, making sure all sides are well-coated. Place on prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining strips. Spray tops liberally with cooking spray.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the strips are golden brown and cooked through.