Crunchy Chicken Tenders with a Sweet and Salty Dip
Jim loves chicken fingers or chicken tenders. I do too. I guess that makes us big kids at heart 🙂
I was taken aback when I first saw the photo for this recipe in ‘What Katie Ate on the Weekend’. The chicken was coated in the strangest combination of quinoa puff, flakes, black and white sesame seeds. What an intriguing coating. The black seeds against the white flakes made for the most intriguing pattern of contrasts, texturally and visually. That was enough to get me to stay and explore the recipe. The fact that it was chicken fingers would score big on the Jim front. Add to that, it was accompanied by the most delicious sauce: a combo of mirin, tamari, and agave syrup. Add some heat with red pepper, and it sounded simple scrumptious.
So I made it. So so easy. Cut up thighs are marinated in a simple marinade of tamari and agave. I don’t really like agave, so I keep natural cane sugar syrup on hand. Just a personal preference. You could easily use honey as well. Then they are coated in the combo I described above and put in an oven to bake for 25 minutes. When I was preparing the recipe, I couldn’t find quinoa puffs anywhere. I’ve purchased them many times, so I know they’re available here in Canada, but just not where I was looking this time around. If you find them, let me know where you purchased them. So I just added extra flakes. During that time you can whip up the sauce, as well as a great Asian cole slaw (see my Ginger Miso Dressing blog in the archives)
This book is filled with so many recipes that I need to try. It is so challenging trying to get to a lot within a short period of time (read: month, for the CookBook club). I have so many recipes marked, and I really thought that I would be able to get to more recipes this month. But life just got in the way. It’s summer, so we’re out and about more than I planned. Jim was away in the evenings with clients, so there was no sense cooking big meals. And a lot of the recipes in the book suit more colder weather cooking. I know that I will still be returning to this book often. Cornish Pasties with Pork and pickled onions, Lamb Shank Pie, Spiced Cauliflower with Crunchy Cheese Topping (doesn’t this sound like a great alternative to mac ‘n cheese?) Upside Down Plum Chiffon Cake, and more will have to wait for another day. I can’t believe that we are almost at the end of the month!! Aaaggh!! Wow- since I started writing this blog post, the month drifted into August!! Summer is fading fast.
Anyway, the chicken fingers were a hit. Jim is not a sauce guy. But he dipped every finger into and emptied the dip bowl. So that’s a pretty good testimonial!
I hope that even these few recipes will wet your appetite to check out ‘What Katie Ate’ and ‘What Katie Ate on the Weekend’. They are wonderful books worth exploring.
- 8 skinless chicken thigh fillets, trimmed of excess fat
- 4 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 4 tbsp light agave nectar (I used cane sugar syrup. You could also use a good quality runny honey)
- 3/4 cup (20 g) puffed quinoa
- 3/4 cup (75g) rolled quinoa flakes
- 3/4 cup (105g) black or white sesame seeds (or a mixture of both)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tbsp light agave nectar
- 2 1/2 tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely sliced
- 2-3 scallions (spring onions), trimmed and finely sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- cilantro for garnish
- Slice the thighs into typical 'finger' sized portions.
- Place the tamari and agave nectar in a small shallow dish and whisk together. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line two sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the puffed quinoa, quinoa flake, sesame seeds and a good pinch of black pepper in a large bowl and combine. Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge. Working one by one, take a piece of chicken, draining excess marinade, and place it in the bowl and toss to coat with the quinoa mixture. Transfer to lined baking sheets.
- Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes or until golden, crispy and cooked through.
- Meanwhile for the dipping sauce, place the tamari, agave nectar, miring and 4 tsp of water in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour into a serving bowl and stir in the chile, scallion, garlic and cilantro.
- Serve the hot chicken strips with the dipping sauce alongside.