Coconut Shrimp is on every menu in warm vacation destinations and for good reason, too – they are delicious. So I used that dish as an inspiration to make this recipe. I decided to bake these in the oven because let’s face it, deep frying is not all that healthy and I wanted to make an option that was more healthy than the processed, deep fried nuggets you get at virtually every restaurant everywhere.
That being said, these Coconut Chicken tenders can fry up very nicely, especially if you want a nice crisp to the breading. I will occasionally use the deep fryer for these, but that’s only when I’m feeling naughty.
However, staying with the Coconut Shrimp inspiration, I kept most of the spices, except for the hot chili peppers, which typically give the dish a kick. Instead, I chose paprika, it has an excellent flavor, it’s similar to peppers in that it has a nice full flavor, but used it in moderation to avoid the hotness.
Also, most recipes for Coconut Shrimp use sweetened coconut flakes, which does provide a great deal of sweetness, however, I wanted the dish to be a bit more savory and not have the kids bouncing off the walls after dinner, so I used unsweetened coconut flakes. You can use either, but unsweetened is my preference.
This can be served with many different sauces, in the picture below I simply threw two mangos, half a banana, and 1/4 cup of orange juice into the food processor then squeezed half a lime into the mix until it was a smooth consistency. The sauce brings a flavorful and fresh taste to the chicken.
So I hope you enjoy this recipe, it can be your weeknight “vacation in your mind” meal!