If you conduct a “chicken search” on Curious Nut, you’ll find out two things.
1. As how Derek puts it, I’m passionately playing my role in depopulating the chicken world.
2. I use dark meat….. a lot! You’ll see a bunch of wings here, drumsticks there and thighs everywhere. Breasts? Not so much.
If you’ve read enough of my chicken stories, you’ll know that I love dark meat while Mr. V loves white meat. Since I am the one who cooks….. I sorta have the upper hand on deciding what to cook.
It may seem like chicken meat abuse when you see how often I put dark meat on the table alongside a white meat lover. I promise you he is fed white meat….. once every three months.
Ok fine I’m guilty of white meat deprivation.
Before all you white meat lovers do an all out protest, I’m going to make things right.
I wasn’t ready to go full on breasts yet. But I was willing to take a small step forward.
So I bought some chicken tenderloins. I’m assuming it’s going to be tender seeing the word ‘tender’ is part of the name. It better be.
But wait, marriage is all about give and take. So, the cut of meat is to his liking. The taste, however, should be to my liking. And I like things spicy. A little sweet. And tangy. Everything a true Malaysian would hope for. Tasty, please.
Listening to Marie often saying chipotle lime on her vlog totally washed my brains and is the number 1 reason why it was decided that the tenders would be cooked that way.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to what I’d like to call a – Mr. V enjoyed the meat thoroughly but failed to love the sauce because it was way too spicy for his liking which he ended up scraping out the coating along with the sauce and ate the tenders instead – dish.
See what I have to live with?
In a more mature and sensible way of looking at this dish, it was crispy on the outside, juicy & tender inside tossed in a sweet, spicy and tangy sauce.
If it makes any difference, I loved it. Not just the sauce. The meat too. YES. WHITE MEAT.
Miracle alongside hell do happen sometimes at our household.
There are three ways to cook ’em tenders:
1. Shallow fry – Yields crispy tenders and coating sticks 100%. Some people prefer it fried (ME!), while others don’t like the mess and the added fat that comes with it. Don’t sweat it. You have two other options below.
2. Baked but toast the panko crumbs first – This ingenious idea comes from Nagi @ Recipetineats. Panko crumbs (and a lil oil) are toasted in a pan on the stove before coating the chicken. You don’t even have to spray the coating with oil before baking and they still come out beautiful in color and crispy. The only setback to this is the coating doesn’t necessarily stick 100% (since there’s tossing in sauce involved). For fried food lovers, the taste just ain’t the same but if you’re a stickler for less oil in cooking, this is definitely the way to go.
And if you’re one of the ‘I can’t even be bothered with toasting the crumbs’ people, then move on to option 3.
3. Baked but don’t have to toast the panko crumbs – These come out crispy (although not as crispy as the first two). Even though they’ve been sprayed with oil, the color is still pale but who cares since it’s going to be tossed in the sauce anyway.
Choose one. Choose wisely.
If you love crispy chicken toss in delicious sauce, then you’re definitely going to love these Asian Zing Chicken Wings. Sticky, sweet, spicy & tangy. Full of tropical Asian fusion flavor in your mouth. A sure crowd-pleaser.
Also, if you haven’t already, check out my last post Carrot Cake Crumble Muffin. Super moist, soft and fluffy carrot cake muffin topped with delicious sweet buttery crumble.
Sweet Fire Chipotle Lime Tenders Makes 10 tenders
what you need:
1lb chicken tenders (about 10 pieces)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (helps tenderize the meat)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs molasses
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo from can + 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
2 tbsp oil
4 tsp soy sauce
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tbs cornstarch mixed with 1 tbs water (cornstarch slurry)
1 1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large egg and 1 1/2 tsp oil, beaten
Garnish : Cilantro
1. Marinate the chicken tenders: Combine the yogurt, salt, sugar and black pepper. Pour over chicken tenders and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. This is to tenderize the chicken.
2. Sauce: In a food processor or blender, place all the ingredients for the sauce (except the cornstarch and water) and blend until peppers are processed. Add the sauce to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until sauce thickened slightly. Set aside.
3. Three ways to prepare and cook the chicken:
Shallow fry in a pan
a. Place the panko crumbs, flour and egg in three separate shallow bowls.
b. Dredge both sides of chicken in flour. Shake off excess flour. Dip both sides of chicken in the egg mixture and then into the panko. Gently press to get the panko crumbs to stick.
c. Add 1/4″ oil into a pan and heat the oil on medium high heat to 350 F.
d. Once the oil is ready, fry the chicken (in batches) for 2-3 minutes or until brown to your liking. Flip and fry on the second side for 2-3 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted reads at least 165 F.
e. Place fried tenders on a wire rack while you fry the rest. To keep the chicken warm, you can place them in the oven set to 200 F.
Bake in the oven (toasting panko crumbs first)
a. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
b. Place panko crumbs in a pan and add 1 1/2 tsp oil to it. Over medium high heat, toast the crumbs. It will take between 3-4 minutes to brown. Keep the crumbs moving for even browning. Turn heat to medium if browning too fast. Once browned to your liking, remove from pan and place in a shallow bowl.
c. Dredge both sides of chicken in flour. Shake off excess flour. Dip both sides of chicken in the egg mixture and then into the toasted panko. Gently press to get the panko crumbs to stick. Place them on a wire rack set on a baking sheet.
d. Bake the tenders for 10-12 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted reads at least 165 F.
Bake in the oven (without toasting panko crumbs first)
a. Preheat the oven to 500 F.
b. Dredge both sides of chicken in flour. Shake off excess flour. Dip both sides of chicken in the egg mixture and then into the panko. Gently press to get the panko crumbs to stick. Place them on a wire rack set on a baking sheet.
c. Spray both sides of chicken tenders with oil. Bake the tenders for 7-8 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted reads at least 165 F.
4. Toss sauce with chicken: Warm the sauce a little if it has cooled too much. Gently roll the chicken tenders in the sauce to coat it. Serve immediately.
1. Spiciness- Increase or decrease amount of peppers or adobo sauce according to taste.
2. If you like the sauce thicker, add more cornstarch slurry. You may have to adjust seasoning if doing do.
3. I use minimal seasoning for the chicken because the sauce is the star. But if you want the chicken to also be heavily seasoned, feel free to increase or add other spices to the marinade.
4. If you’re wondering why I used such high temperatures for baking, it is because I want to shorten the cooking time for the tenders to avoid it becoming dry. Short time + high heat = crispy coating, tender and juicy chicken.