Since this recipe was originally posted, Killing Thyme has shifted it’s focus to the pesco-vegetarian diet. I’ve decided to keep a few popular meat recipes in my index for your convenience, including this one.
I love fried foods as much as the next person. Let’s be honest – it’s kind of hard to refuse that golden crispy goodness – even while trying to exercise better eating habits.
I don’t fry things often, but any time I’ve tried to replace frying with baking in an attempt to make better life choices, it’s resulted in disappointment. Disappointment and bad, flimsy breading. Sure, there is that initial self-deception with the “Mmm, this is great! Better than anything fried that I’ve ever had!” But lying to yourself gets old pretty fast.
You’re probably wondering what the deal is with these baked chicken fingers then, right? Like, “What makes these so special?” I’ll tell you, because I feel like I’ve unlocked some sort of dark secret. I feel the same triumph that I felt the time I solved one side of the Rubix cube. It wasn’t until later that I learned that every side had to match up (I was 8 years old, kay?), but I remember that quick flash of victory, and it’s similar to how this recipe left me feeling.
Here’s what I did: I toasted the bread crumbs, in addition to some sesame seeds for extra flavor (totally optional, though), in a dry pan prior to dredging the chicken strips in them. So the breading was already toasty before going into the oven. Golden. Crispy. Crunchy. VICTORY!
How silly did I feel not figuring this trick out before? Pretty darn silly, I’ll say. But let’s not dwell on that; let’s focus on the fact that we can now eat chicken fingers, GOLDEN CRISP, with a lot less guilt.
I served these with a homemade Spicy Chili Peanut Dipping Sauce I threw together on a whim. My husband actually said that the dipping sauce is something he would buy by the tub if possible – so I think I did all right.
If you’re wondering how I cut my strips from chicken breasts, I simply flattened them out a bit with a tenderizer and sliced them on an angle to get four nice strips from each breast, as shown below.
Baked Chicken Fingers Crusted with Panko and Sesame Seeds, and Spicy Chili Peanut Dipping Sauce
FOR CHICKEN2 large chicken breasts, slightly pounded/flattened with a mallet (but not too flat)
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 2 eggs beaten (add a splash of water and mix well)
- 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
- SPICY CHILI PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE
- 1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
- 2 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
- 1 tablespoon Kikkoman soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of Sambal Oelek or any spicy chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon all natural peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon organic liquid honey
- 1 scallion sliced
- Meat tenderizer/mallet
- Cutting board
- Place the bread crumbs and sesame seeds into a dry saucepan. Make sure that the saucepan is large enough so that the crumb mixture is spread out evenly and can toast evenly.
- Heat the crumb mixture over medium-low heat; stir often. (It may seem like it takes a while for the crumb mixture to start toasting, but once it starts, it toasts quickly. You want to stand by and stir the mixture often to prevent burning.)
- Once the crumb mixture is toasted, remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Set a sheet of plastic wrap down on a cutting board.
- Place both chicken breasts on the plastic wrap.
- Place another sheet of plastic wrap over the chicken breasts.
- With the meat mallet, pound out the chicken breasts to slightly flatten/even them out - but don't flatten them out too thin. Just enough to even out the meat for four nice chicken strips.
- Once the meat is flattened out, discard the plastic wrap.
- Slice the chicken breasts diagonally to get the most out of it. I ended up with some nice meaty chicken strips this way (see photo in blog post).
- Once the chicken is sliced, wash up and set up your dredging station by lining up your flour, egg mixture, crumb mixture, and lightly greased baking pan.
- Dredge each chicken strip into the flour, egg, crumb mixture, and then set on the baking sheet.
- Once all of the strips are nicely coated, bake in the oven for approx. 25 minutes or until chicken has an internal temperature of 165° F.
- SPICY CHILI PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE
- In a small dipping bowl, mix all of the ingredients thoroughly until a nice thick dipping sauce has formed. Garnish with a few extra scallions (optional).