Originally posted August 7, 2017: Updated with new photos and additional text.
I have been making coconut chicken off and on for years. It is one of those snacks (okay, sometimes I make extra and eat it as a meal) that I crave randomly. It might be because I loved chicken nuggets as a child or it might be because coconut is one of my favourite foods and flavours.
Pound the chicken until it has even thickness. I like 1/2 inch thickness. Then, slice the chicken into bite size pieces.
Prepare the dredge in three separate bowls. See the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and full instructions.
I like to pound the chicken breasts so that the chicken is uniform and bakes evenly using a kitchen mallet. If you don't have a mallet, you can use a heavy pan or the flat bottom of a large whisk or spoon. Technically, it is not a required step, but I find that the extra couple minutes spent tenderizing the chicken helps with the overall soft and juicy texture of the chicken.
For the breading, I prefer mixing shredded coconut with Panko breadcrumbs because Panko is flakier (it has a coarser texture) than regular breadcrumbs, which results in a bigger crunch. I also use these breadcrumbs in another baked snack: CRISPY OVEN-FRIED PICKLES WITH CHEDDAR CHEESE DIP.
These chicken bites are lightly spiced with paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper for additional tasty flavour. Feel free to change up the quantity or type of spices to suit your preferences.
In addition, I like baking the chicken because it’s healthier than frying and you don’t have to worry about getting the oil to the right temperature or risk hot oil splattering on you.
After the chicken is dredged, bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway, until cooked through.
Overall, you get wonderfully crispy, lightly spiced, coconut-flavoured tender chicken bites!
Serve it with a dipping sauce of your choice! I like to serve them with a spicy and sweet sauce. Usually, something sweet like chopped pineapple or honey mixed with Sriracha sauce (hot chilli sauce). My husband likes dipping these chicken bites in jalapeño mustard too.
What would you dip this chicken in?
I hope you enjoy this recipe!