Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips for SRC, and Part 9

April 9, 2012 at 11:58 am | Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Poultry, Secret Recipe Club | 65 Comments
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This SRC post was completed almost 3 weeks ago.  Once I realized the reveal date was going to fall during Passover, I decided I was going to make something else from my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment, and save these chicken fingers for another time. However, a sudden passing and my father’s hospitalization, changed that. 

With that said, I was going to post Bad Boy Love Part 9 with a unique and fun Passover treat, last week, but I wasn’t here to create that Passover treat, so I copied and pasted what I’d already written into this post.  I didn’t want those of you who have enjoyed it to have to wait any longer.  I didn’t get to finish it, again due to the current circumstances, but I promise Part 10 will be up asap.

Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Edesia’s Notebook  (love the name) authored and photographed by Lesa.  For the first time since I joined, I didn’t have the urge to grab some gorgeous dessert, which Lesa has plenty of, and play with it.  Instead, the same thought kept going through my head.


You don’t often see posts where I just make dinner, nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, nothing you would only make for a special occasion.  It’s not that I don’t have a decent amount of simple recipes, but I just felt the need to cook dinner and blog it.  I chose her Crunchy Lemon Chicken.

Of course, I ended up futzing with it, because I truly believe it’s nearly impossible for me not to futz with recipes.  I cut each breast into strips, used limes instead of lemons, added soy sauce and garlic to the marinade, threw in dessicated coconut with the panko bread crumbs and whole eggs plus coconut water in the breading station, plus a few other minor alterations, like the baking time and temperature.

Otherwise, it’s just dinner, and it was delicious.  I think these are the crunchiest, most delicious chicken fingers I’ve ever had.  Kids would go nuts over these.  Just my completely unbiased opinion.

I also made a dip to go with them – what I call a garbage dip, where you rummage through your fridge and cabinets and just throw something together.  It was interesting and tasty,  (Looks kind of gross in the Thousand Island dressing that sat out too long, doesn’t it?), but the chicken fingers had so much flavor, it really wasn’t needed.

Now to Bad Boy First Love Part 9.  If you’re reading this for the first time, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, and Part 8 is HERE.

Between the kissing, hugging, talking and staring into each other’s eyes ( I didn’t laugh or look away once, for the first time in my life.  His eyes were so blue and clear in the dark, I can still picture it perfectly to this day), for hours, it was absolutely, unequivocally, the

Soon the sky started to lighten a bit, and I was exhausted.  So much raw emotion had been released in less than 24 hours, so many highs and lows.. the wine and beer certainly playing a part too.  I couldn’t prevent the constant yawning, no matter how hard I tried – BUT, I wanted this night to last forever.  In a way, I wanted to fall asleep in his arms, right there..even if we were awakened to harsh sunlight, screaming kids, the smell of suntan lotion and beach balls landing on us.  He held me for a while as I started to enter dream land, then gently kissed me awake, stroking my hair.

“I think we better get you home, sweetheart – you’re starting to crash”

“Huh? No..I’m awake.. just resting my eyes”

The above is my usual line when someone wakes me up, whether in person or by phone.  No idea why I always say that, and still do to this day, as if it’s a bad thing to admit I’m falling asleep or that they woke me up from a deep sleep.  I’m so weird.

On our drive back to my luxurious penthouse, he suddenly pulled over.  I was so busy staring at his beautiful profile that I hadn’t even noticed the scuffle going on between 4 guys, one of them apparently being ganged up on by the other three, in a somewhat dark, out-of-the-way area near the beach.  One of the three was holding what looked to be a baseball bat, but he was leaning on it.  Maybe they were fighting over a late night to early morning baseball game that just ended?  Of course I said that to him, feeling like a total idiot once the words left my lips.

He looked at me calmly, and said, “I’ll be right back”, like he was going to get me a soda or something..not like he was about to play vigilante.  I was terrified..I touched his arm..

“No, don’t..please, let’s just go”

He smiled and kissed my cheek, “I’ll be right back”

OK, he meant business.

Nothing rattled this guy.  I heard the trunk open and close.  I watched in the rearview mirror as he pulled something out of his trunk – it looked like a tire iron.  He walked toward this scuffle like it was no big deal – such confidence, no fear at all.  Now I was really scared, but in a strange way, it turned me on.  West Side Story was about to come to life, minus the singing and dancing, and I was slightly turned on..what the hell was wrong with me?

Oh, I remember, I liked bad boys, and this was most certainly bad boy behavior, but he was a good bad boy, he was going to protect someone.  Then the thought of him getting really hurt scared me again.  I opened the window and called out to him meekly.  He didn’t hear me, but I couldn’t hear me voice was shaking a little, and I think I squeaked.

I watched as he walked up to them and stood in front of the victim, blocking him, looking calm, but so damn tough.

I was excited again.

I couldn’t hear what they were saying outside of my now even sexier guy commanding them to “‘Keep walking” when the bullies started to back off after trying to get tough with him and apparently not succeeding.  Tire iron > baseball bat.

Then they came forward again and I couldn’t take it anymore…he was going to get hurt!  I do have to admit I liked how he didn’t back up, not even one inch, when they came toward him.

Just as I was about to open the car door so I could run over and fling myself in front of Dreamboat, he pushed one of them in the chest.  I was shocked to see the guy stumble back quite a ways and fall when it seemed like such a light push, with one hand, no less.  They took off.  Wow, that was too easy. I guess they realized that if he could push that lightly and send the guy back that far and on his ass, one swing of the tire iron could be pretty fierce.  Then again, I didn’t hear what was said, so that probably played a part too.  It didn’t matter, he was so damn awesome, he wasn’t going to let three guys beat up on one.

He came walking back to the car with the victim.  Turns out, after an introduction, the kid, who couldn’t have been more than 16 (well..a little younger than me..shhhh) worked in one of the booths on the pier and he knew him.  The kid got into the car and couldn’t stop thanking Dreamboat.  I was in awe of how cool, calm and collected Dreamboat remained, as if he simply bought the kid a soda, and there was no need for a thank you.

Apparently, this kid owed a little money to one of the guys, and that guy brought along his three friends and a bat to collect, when this kid couldn’t have weighed more than 120 lbs soaking wet.

“No problem. I don’t care what you owe him, if he can’t collect on his own, he’s weak. Let me know if they ever give you a hard time again, ok?”

The guy was an ‘effin chickensh*t according to Dreamboat..and I couldn’t have agreed more.

We dropped the kid off.  Now that we were alone again, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him..I hugged and kissed him as he drove.  I was even more crazy about him than before, and frankly, I didn’t think that was possible because I thought I had already reached the apex of love, longing, lust – whatever you want to call it – with him.

When he pulled up to my mini ‘party central’ apartment complex (there were parties still going on and the place was 5:30 am), after about a 20 minute goodbye (our goodbyes would become legendary, to us, that is) I reached to pick up a little purse I had brought with me and left on the passenger seat floor.

Cut to 6 months prior..during my sad Junior year of High School.  My friend bought me one of those white button pins with an I HEART Dreamboat on it – aka I LOVE plus his real name, when we were at the mall one night.  I always kept it in my purse, for no reason other than I did HEART him, and being a little superstitious, felt that maybe it might bring us back together again (like the cup holder!).

I bet you can guess what happened.

I’d forgotten that I had opened the purse before getting out of the car to walk, well, trip over my own feet, to the beach, to grab a few orange tic-tacs.  The button came flying out of my open purse and landed right on his lap.

I wanted to die.

He picked it up and looked at it, not saying anything for about a minute.  Why, why, why?  Now he would think I was some obsessive, stalker child!  Why would a supposed 18-year old be carrying something like that around? 

Maybe there was a slight chance he was illiterate?  I had never wished someone to be illiterate, that desperately, at that moment.  I could teach him to read, kissing him every time he read a word correctly!

I braced myself, my face was burning, I wanted to turn back the clock two minutes and do it over again, GENTLY picking up the purse.  Maybe I could say it was another Dreamboat!  Yeah..I could hear myself now..trying to act all cool..

“Well, during our time apart I just so happened to meet a guy named Dreamboat, what a coincidence, huh?  I thought I was never going to see you again, so I thought I loved him, but I didn’t, and I forgot it was still in this purse..I rarely use this purse” *confident flick of my hair*

He interrupted my momentary lapse of reasonable thinking..

“You shouldn’t have one of these unless you mean it”

I DO MEAN IT!  I’m madly in love with you!

Instead…I told him the truth, without confessing my love for him.

“I know, D bought it for me, and I kept it in my purse, hoping it would bring me luck and I’d see you again.”

Woah, that was easy, why was I so freaked out about it?

He hugged me tight to him and whispered in my ear..

“I guess it worked then, like the cup holder”

I smiled, a wave of relief washing over me.  I decided I’d drop the age bomb the next night.

Part 10 coming soon.  I’m sorry I left you all with the same cliffhanger as last time, but I started this post before everything happened, and couldn’t finish it, which would have included that story, due to the current circumstances.  I didn’t want to give you all something half-assed.  I promise Part 10 soon, and the whole thing will be wrapped up in Part 11.

Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips
Adapted from and Inspired by Lesa from Edesia’s Notebook
Yields about 4 servings

2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped finely
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breasts (About 1 lb) cut into 1-inch wide strips
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup dessicated coconut shreds
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to season flour
2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons of coconut water (you can use coconut milk if you can’t find coconut water)
Oil spray, doesn’t matter what kind

1.  In a bowl, stir together lime juice, zest, light olive oil, ginger, light soy sauce, garlic and salt.  Add the chicken strips and stir until they’re completely coated with the marinade.  You can also pour the marinade  with the chicken strips, into a ziplock bag, which is what I did.  Marinate for 4 to 5 hours at the most..stirring the strips in the bowl of marinade or squeezing around the bag every hour to an hour and a half to insure even marinating.

2. Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with oil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs and coconut water in a second bowl, and the panko and dessicated coconut in a third bowl. Remove the chicken strips from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

3. Lift up each chicken strip and shake off some of the marinade so it isn’t overly-saturated  (I just ran two impeccably clean fingers down each strip, sliding off the extra marinade). Coat each chicken strip in flour, knocking off the excess, then dip and coat well in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the panko – dessicated coconut mixture, pressing it onto each strip. Place each chicken strip on the oiled baking sheet and continue until all chicken has been coated.

4.  Lightly spray some oil on the breaded chicken strips, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  IMPORTANT – Do not let them sit on the baking sheet once out of the oven.  Transfer them to a rack if not eating within a few minutes, or the bottoms will get soggy.

Spicy Yogurt Dip
1 cup greek yogurt
2  to 3 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce
1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Mix all the ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend.

If you get a chance, please click on the blue frog below to see all the amazing dishes recreated by Group A of The Secret Recipe Club.  Also, click on over to Edesia’s Notebook for some fantastic sweet and savory recipes!

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  1. Wow, that’s so flavorful, fresh and beautiful! Great pick for SRC :-). I am pinning it to try later and to share the yum! Happy Easter and have a great week!

  2. ohmygoodness, I am a chicken strips kinda girl and these sound amazing!

  3. Mmm, this chicken looks fantastic – love adding coconut to the breading, sounds super delicious!

  4. A gorgeous recipe! Those chicken strips must be so crunchy and flavorful.

    What a story… Can’t wait for part 10!



  5. yummy choice!

  6. Sounds like a great chicken strip recipe-great pick!

    • Thanks, Susie. Couldn’t find a comment section on your SRC post (???)

  7. I love this….I get sucked in reading this delicious story, and then here comes a photo of some great looking chicken and garbage dip!!!! Hahaha you are amazing. I hope things settle down for you….

  8. Delicious. Sorry to hear that you had a hard time at the beginning.

  9. Sorry to hear about someone passing and your father being ill. I hope he gets better soon. I love what you did with the chicken. The coconut and lime sound like an amazing combo!

  10. Hope your dad is doing better. Even though you futzed with the recipe, I think you did it justice. I love the idea of lime and coconut chicken strips!

  11. Hey Lisa, I hope everything is going okay and your dad is getting well. I’m still very hooked on this story and am looking forward to the rest whenever you have a chance to write them.

  12. I am absolutely going to try those chicken strips. And that is SO something that would have happened to me, with the pin!! LOL. Still sending love and hugs your way.

  13. Wow, those chicken fingers looks SO good!

    • Thank you, Cathy 🙂

  14. Beautiful recipe, Lisa! I love the flavors…

    Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss… And while the story is just thrilling, I don’t think you need to worry too much about leaving us hanging… just take your time and write the rest when your dad is better and you are feeling up to it!

  15. I am sorry to hear about your father. Your adaptions to these chicken fingers sound perfect. Love the idea of the coconut!

  16. Hope things get better for you Lisa, sorry to hear of loosing someone and about your dad. I like this recipe and the flavors too, the pictures are really good. Of course the story is great and takes me out of reality for a few minutes which is nice.
    love to you xoxoxo

  17. wishing you a belated Chag Sameach, and a long life. Blessings to you and your family – Tandy

  18. I like the chicken fingers they look crunchalicious. If you can create a great dip out of “garbage” I want to taste the dips you create from fresh ingredients. This guy was a very calm person… don’t think I’d be getting something from the trunk in that situation. Crack me up about hoping he was “illiterate” funny stuff :).

  19. I want to know the ending!! In the meantime, those strips look absolutely delicious – I love the crunchy coconut coating and zing of lime…nom nom!

  20. Can’t decide which I like better, the chicken or the story. I *LOVE* the chicken, so that should tell you how much I love your story. I don’t want it to end. Fix it. 🙂

  21. Hi Lisa,
    I hope all is better in your world! These chicken strips sound delicious and just the kind of thing my boys love – will have to try them when the oldest comes home (in exactly 4 weeks… but I’m not counting or anything!:-)

  22. I am soooo making these! Maybe even for dinner tonight!! Plus, we should have a tutoring session on how to photography chicken because you did an awesome job!!

  23. So sorry to hear about your dad Lisa. I hope it’s going better now but I can imagine you had other things on your mind. Still I totally enjoyed part 9 of the series and can’t wait for the sequel. You should seriously write a novel!

  24. I love the addition of coconut in the chicken strips, and that dip sounds fantastic!!! Hugs, Terra

  25. I can’t edit my comment…I wanted to let you know I am sending you light and love during this tough time. oxox, Terra

  26. Looks like restaurant quality to me.

  27. Hope your dad is doing well. And hope you are taking care of yourself so you can help him get better. xoxo

  28. Lisa, I hope your father is on the mend! I’m sorry to hear about the “sudden passing”. Life sure is difficult at times:( Hang in there, my friend. XO.
    Your chicken strips look amazing; I can almost hear the CRUNCH! They remind me of the coconut shrimp I had in Hawaii:)

  29. So sorry to hear all that has been happening in your life. My best wishes and prayers to your family! I loved this part of the story…action filled! Looking forward, as usual, to the next part. I’m making these chicken fingers this weekend, they do look super crunchy and I lkove the coconut lime flavor!

  30. Hope your dad is doing better Lisa and that you were able to enjoy passover. I was in Yellowstone National Park over the weekend and picked up some matzo ball soup (my favorite).

  31. It’s not just kids, but I would probably go nuts over this too!! And yeah, I’m the same way such that I can never leave a recipe untouched! Some way or another they’d get modified when they’re in my hands! haha.. Anyway, hope your dad is doing better!! Take care dear Lisa!

  32. Lisa these look so good! I love anything coconut!

  33. What a great way to make dinner. Chicken strips are always a hit here. And these would be no exception.

  34. I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the rest of the story. However also hoping that your family is doing okay, keeping you in my prayers and maybe the writing will help settle you. On a side not the chicken dish looks fabulous, but your writing rocks. Take care, BAM

  35. Hope your doing well, a delish dinner and a story… you spoil use, your a talented writer…keep them coming!!

  36. Teasing us again with another cliffhanger on this fun story. This chicken is what I need to make tonight. I love coconut and lime and that sauce…just for me b/c it’s spicy the way I like it:)Your photos are so pretty. I’m sending you tons of hugs and love. xx

  37. Coconut just went on my grocery list…this sounds fabulous. I would probably want a sauce too but I’m thinking honey mustard. But then I could probably eat honey mustard sauce with a spoon so it’s my go to for fried anything and this is fried Heaven!

  38. Best looking chicken strips EVER. Oh no, the age bomb! Very sorry again for your sudden loss.

  39. Sorry to hear things have been rough Lisa, I hope your dad feels better real soon.
    My kids love chicken strips but I have never made them with coconut. This sounds like an amazing new twist

  40. Lots of hugs from me. I know how hard it has been. I hope things start looking up soon so you can get back to writing and cooking/baking. 🙂

  41. hi!,your love story is awesome! I love your writing so much! Romantic, but Many laughs! Please don’t end it in part 11!

    • Thank you, Tina, I’ll do my best 😉

  42. Your chicken looks wonderful…of course. Hugs to you and hope that your Dad is doing better. Talk soon.

  43. These chicken fingers look so delicious, but your story is twice as delicious…you’re such a character!!

  44. You’ve got a major gift in the way you write, so honest and real. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to let it all out, bumps and all. Always follow your heart. Love the chicken fingers!

    • Thank you, Leo, I’m very flattered. I always do follow my heart, but sometimes that’s my ‘problem’ lol

  45. this recipe looks lovely and delicious! if you have a minute, I would love for you to come link up on my blog!

  46. Just wanted to let you know I made these last night and they were crazy good! We had a few people over and they begged me to make another batch because the first batch was gone in about 5 minutes! Thank you so much for this recipe, I’ll be making it for life!

    • So glad you loved them, Ellie. They’re certainly a keeper!

  47. You have a natural expertise in writing. Love your passion and details. Memories are eventually meant to be shared, and you’ve done a fantastic job of that.

    • Wow, thank you, Steve 🙂

  48. Mmmmmm…delicious SRC post, Lisa! And I hope your dad is doing better…

  49. You had me at coconut. Glad you decided to blog dinnner – there’s nothing wrong with simple recipes that people might actually make 🙂 Sending hugs and positive thoughts your way.

  50. Really enjoying the story, looking forward to part 11! The chicken strips look so perfectly crunchy, excellent!

  51. The crunchy chicken strips look to die for! What a fabulous post Lisa! Can’t wait to read the next part. 🙂

  52. These are the BEST baked chicken fingers I have ever had! My family agrees! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  53. Great looking chicken! I love panko breadcrumbs, they have such a nice crisp.

    Woah, guess this guy was a REAL bad boy after all! You write him as being so sweet with you, I’d kind of forgotten that was his initial appeal.

  54. i thought I’m the only one saying ” No, I’m awake, I’m just resting my eyes :))))
    Great recipe choice Lisa

  55. Those coated chicken strips look so tasty, appetizing & well flavoured too! I will make them today! thanks for this lovely post, Lisa! 😉 xxx

  56. These were love from first sight!

  57. Loved making this delicious recipe!!

  58. […] Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips […]

  59. […] Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips from Parsley, Sage, and Sweet […]

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