Saturday, July 11, 2009

Peanut and Panko Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Thai Satay Sauce

Despite our epic Costco trip earlier this week, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a food conundrum. It seems that the jaw dropping irony of a full refrigerator is inevitable, at least in our house. After pensively evaluating the contents of the fridge, Mr SoCal looked at me and said "There's nothing to eat". In the realm of water water everywhere and not a drop to drink, behold a stuffed to the gills fridge with apparently, no food. In his defense, I should elaborate. "I mean, everything has to be cooked. Nothing is made" Viable point taken. On my day off, I set out to remedy the enigma that was our empty, yet chock full fridge.

Simple ready made grab and go items were a staple in our college years. Ramen, frozen burritos, granola bars, and precooked chicken breasts (affectionately referred to as "fatty patties") were all familiar favorites. Our tastes have matured slightly since then, but I suppose this would be an appropriate time to fess up to the half empty case of Chicken Cup O' Noodles in our pantry... I digress. With the memory of the fatty patties fresh in my mind, chicken cemented itself at the center of my cooking whimsy.

Deciding on chicken nuggets, I wanted a proper dash of flavor and texture to gussy up otherwise ordinary chicken. There is nothing worse than flavorless, stringy, less than appetizing chicken breast to ruin an otherwise ravenous appetite. Surveying the fridge, Thai looked like a good option. I had some homemade peanut butter from the delicious blog of Kiss My Spatula, plus some grated peanuts. The closet was stocked with panko bread crumbs, and to my delight I found a lonely looking nub of ginger waiting for its call to glory in the crisper. Welcome to the origin of my souped up, crunchy, peanutty chicken nuggets.

Peanut and Panko Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Thai Satay Sauce
4-6 ounce chicken breasts

For dredging flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp ginger (powder)
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp lime juice

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
Dash salt and pepper

Thai Satay Sauce
3/4 cup homemade peanut butter (or smooth store bought)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sesame oil

Three mixing bowls
Baking rack
Baking sheet

Gather three mixing bowls; one for dredging flour, one for egg wash, and one for the breading mixture. In the first bowl, mix all dredging flour ingredients. In the second bowl, mix eggs and lime juice. Combine panko, chopped peanuts, salt and pepper in third bowl.

Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces (4-5 per breast). First, dip chicken pieces into flour mixture. Shake off excess, and dunk in egg wash. Let excess egg drip off and finish in the peanut and panko mixture. When nugget is well coated, place on a cooking spray covered baking rack, placed over baking sheet. Cook nuggets in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Combine all ingredients in food processor and combine. Really, that's all. I swear.

Cooking Notes
If you haven't floured, egged, and coated anything before, it is an inherently messy process. It is essential to maintain and "wet hand" and a "dry hand" for this. If you opt not to, it will be quite a challenge to even turn the nozzle on your faucet to rinse off the inevitable accumulation of sticky goop. Place the nuggets into the flour and transfer them to the egg wash with one hand, then switch to the designated "wet hand" for the messier egg wash removal and peanut panko coating. Trust me here, this is the way to go.

I see many versions of these nuggets coming to fruition in the future. It really was convenient to grab a few of these, dunk them and go and have a healthy dose of protein and flavor at your disposal. Mystery of the full yet empty fridge solved- case closed.


Food Gal said...

I love coating chicken with panko. You get such a nice, light, yet super crispy crust -- much more so than with regular bread crumbs.

Marta said...

great receipt!

Miranda said...

All I can say is YUM YUM

s. stockwell said...

You know this would be so delicious! we will make this one for sure. best, s

Cookin' Canuck said...

I love the crunch of panko bread crumbs. They really do make a difference. Great idea to pair with the Thai sauce.

Diana H said...

Sounds like my kids, there's nothing in the fridge if you have to prepare it. Love your solution.

Me! said...

Wow that looks delicious! I definitely need to try this. I seem to constantly have a full fridge and pantry though not always something to eat.

Stephanie said...

I laughed when I read your post because my husband says the same thing when he looks in the fridge! Greg recipe, looking forward to trying it. I get something similar at a restaurant we like, but never thought I could make it myself!