Ever since we posted our fried chicken recipe, I’ve been wanting to do it again but with some sort of coconut breading. It just seemed like it would be an excellent combination. So the other day I set out to give it a shot, only to realize I was running too low on coconut oil to fry it. Making a few quick adjustments, I switched gears and turned this into a baked dish, adding a unique tangy sauce for serving that turned out incredible. Best of all, in the process I discovered a method for making the juiciest baked chicken I’ve ever had.
The trick is in using arrowroot powder before the egg and coconut “breading.” It gives the egg something to stick to, helping bind the coconut to the outside of the meat (things didn’t crumble nearly like they did with the fried chicken). It also forms a complete seal around the meat, locking in all the remaining moisture. I’m going to have to go back and try this with the fried variation now as well and see how it comes out. It is certainly a technique I’ll be using for my chicken cordon bleu the next time.
- 4 boneless, skinless breast halves
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice (look in the Asian section of the grocery store)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 can coconut milk (not LITE!)
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
- 1/2 ~ 3/4 tsp fish sauce (careful – this stuff is potent!)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
Start out preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the shredded coconut with the five spice and sea salt in a wide shallow bowl. Crack the two eggs into a second wide shallow bowl and beat with a fork until the yokes are fully blended. Place the arrowroot into a third wide shallow bowl.
Arrange the three bowls “assembly-line” style starting with the arrowroot, then the egg, and then the coconut. Dredge the chicken breasts through the arrowroot, completely covering every little nook and cranny (don’t skimp here). Next, dip them into the eggs to cover completely, then roll in the coconut mixture until coated with coconut. Arrange on a baking pan (I like to use stoneware). Put in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.
Once the chicken is in the oven, turn your attention to the sauce (and making any other side dishes for the meal). Combine everything except the parsley in a small sauce pan. Whisk to combine, then bring to a simmer on low heat. Allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring/whisking every so often to keep things mixed and scraped off the sides of the pan.
When the sauce has simmered enough to thicken up a bit, remove from heat and add in the chopped parsley. Mix well, then transfer to a serving bowl and keep warm (which is why I get the other side dishes done first – so the sauce is done just in time).
Check the chicken at 30 minutes. It should be a nice golden color (the photo does no justice) and just cooked through. A narrow-probe instant-read thermometer is perfect for this (if I had one, I’d have used it), or slice into the top of the thickest breast down to the middle and see if it’s cooked all the way. The shortcoming of the latter option is that it opens up your meat for all the juices to run out if it’s not quite done cooking. In my case, 30 minutes was perfect anyway.
Plate things up by slicing the breast across in about 1/4″ thick slices. Cover with a tablespoon or two of the sauce, and accompany with some mashed cauliflower and a salad. Enjoy!