I was intrigued by a recipe on Once A Month Mom because, according to the directions, you can freeze it ahead of time but then reheat it without defrosting first. This ended up being a moot point because it was so tasty that everything got eaten the night I made it. The original recipe uses panko bread crumbs. Since panko is basically grated bread, I thought that I would try running macadamia nuts through the shredding disk of my food processor to get a similar texture. It worked GREAT and was visually almost indistinguishable from panko! It didn't have quite the same degree of crispness but it was a great substitute and didn't clump the way that almond flour does when you use it as a breading.
I served it with a dip made from pureed mango, Dijon mustard, and curry powder. You could probably substitute any pureed fruit for the mango; if you don't have a food processor, you could use canned crushed pineapple and finely chop the macadamia nuts with a knife. Strict low-carbers can use a little sugar-free marmalade instead of the mango. As it is, the dip isn't super sweet. If you want it to be very sweet either add a bit of honey or reduce the amount of mustard.
These do not get quite as crunchy as fried chicken tenders. The original recipe poured half a cup of melted butter over the whole thing, which perhaps helps, but that is a bit much for me. If you want them to get really crunchy I would just fry them in coconut oil. As it is though, they still get a nice crispy coating.
COCONUT-MACADAMIA CHICKEN TENDERS WITH MANGO DIJON DIP
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used Let's Do Organic)
- 2 oz (weight; about 1/2 cup) macadamia nuts (I used unroasted unsalted ones, from the baking section, though roasted and/or salted should work)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 beaten egg or 1/4 cup egg whites (I actually prefer using just egg whites for breading, I think it gets crispier)
- Oil spray or about 1 Tbs melted coconut oil
- 1 ripe mango
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp sambal oelek, Sriracha, or red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Sandwich the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound to an even thickness. Cut into uniform strips (I got 12 strips from 2 lbs of chicken).
- Set the shredding disk in your food processor. Load the macadamia nuts into the feeding tube while the machine is off and set the pusher sleeve inside. This will prevent the nuts from flying out when you turn the machine on. Turn on the food processor and feed the macadamia nuts through. Combine on a large plate with the coconut, salt, and garlic.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (if you use foil instead, the chicken strips may stick). Pour the egg or egg white into a shallow bowl. Dip each chicken strip in the egg, then the coconut mixture, shaking off the excess. Set them on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray with oil or use a pastry brush to dab a bit of coconut oil on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes, turn them over, spray or dab with more coconut oil, then continue baking for another 20 minutes. Serve.
- Meanwhile, make the dip. Peel and cut the mango into large chunks. Put it in the food processor and blend until smooth. Add the mustard, curry, sambal (or substitute), and cinnamon. Blend until well-combined. Chill until ready to serve.
Cool chicken and divide among freezer bags until ready to serve. Mustard sauce should keep in the refrigerator for about a week, or alternately, freeze it in ice cube trays. TO SERVE: Do not thaw. Bake chicken from frozen at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.