What to use when you are restricted from all of the most common breading vices and you really want popcorn chicken??
Coconut Flakes. I use them for everything. Yesterday I posted in a recipe how to use them to make Strawberry Cream Cheese. I eat them as chips ( Curried Coconut Flake Chip recipe).. I also have found they make awesome Breakfast Porridge when combined with pureed squash. Coconut is the one ingredient that I seem to be able to eat and eat, without developing an intolerance. I'm thankful for that.
This recipe is a guide. I'm not providing exact measurements as you really don't need them. Use it as a tool to get you started- add your own flair by experimenting with different spices.
I'll be making a giant batch of these for the Super Bowl on sunday.
- 2-3 Cups Unsweetened Shredded Coconut Flakes (not- reduced fat)
- Several TBS of your favorite spice. (I love Garlic Powder + Smoked Paprika)
- 1 lb Chicken Thighs cut into small bite sized pieces.
- Dash of Salt.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the chicken. In a bowl combine the coconut flakes, spices and salt. A handful at a time add the raw chicken to the coconut flake breading. Toss until each piece is well covered.
- Place breaded chicken on a dry baking sheet. (Do not coat with oil). Place into oven and bake 45-55 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the breading is golden. (Toss popcorn chicken around with spatula on baking sheet a few times during the baking process)
Tip: Do not add any oil. This will prevent the popcorn chicken from gaining its crispy- slightly crunchy texture. Coconut Flakes contain some fat naturally. This is all you need. Using chicken thighs vs. Chicken Breast is important. Using breast will result in dry, hard nuggets.
Save the leftover toasted coconut flakes from the pan and use them as bread crumbs in other recipes
For those on a less restrictive diet some other great gluten free breading options include: Almond Flour, Finely Crushed Chex Cereal. (tastes similar to panko breading). Finely Chopped Nuts or Seeds or Crushed Potato Chips (try sweet potato chips too!) All of these options will taste best if a little oil is added to the pan before baking. Add spices to these different options just as I suggested above. For extra "stick" the chicken of course can be coated in an egg wash. Or- Chia gel, dairy free buttermilk etc. You can get away without this extra step in most cases. (Make sure not to coat the chicken with anything if using coconut flakes)