Monday, 16 July 2012

Homemade Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Have you ever read the ingredients on a box of chicken strips?

Chicken (chicken breast, yeast, gluten [insert other fillers, binders, etc.]), bread crumbs...

I have one question: When did just chicken become not good enough CHICKEN strips?! Here I thought it was doing just fine keeping itself together.

Silly me.

Anyways, I had this idea one day to find a recipe to make my own chicken strips, but before I could get to it, Tracy from Shutterbean, a favourite food blog of mine where I got the recipe for Avocado Apple & Arugula Salad, tried a recipe for crispy chicken fingers, so naturally I looked no further and made up my mind to make this recipe, too.

If this intimidates you because you think it's going to be hard and complicated, throw your worries in the garbage, along with that box of "chicken" strips that are sitting in your freezer. These are so simple to make, and very satisfying. You are eating actual meat!

Chicken Strips:

1 1/4 pounds chicken (I just cut up 4 chicken breasts)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2-3 drops hot sauce (I used sriracha)
4 cups cornflakes
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 heaping tablespoon of your favourite herb seasoning mix
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Mix your buttermilk, hot sauce to taste or a teaspoon of sriracha like I used, salt and pepper together. Add the chicken and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but no more than 3 hours. You can buy chicken breast that has already been cut into strips, which is a good idea. I chose to buy the whole chicken breasts and cut them up myself, but I highly suggest buying them already cut. They will be uniform in size and will not create a big mess.

While the chicken is in the fridge, crush up your cornflakes, add the parmesan cheese (I obviously added more than 2 tablespoons, it didn't really make a difference though), the herb mix, and more salt and pepper.

Mix up two eggs.

Line your stuff up.

Dip in the egg, making sure to get both sides.

Coat in the cornflakes.

Line up on a sprayed baking sheet. Bake on 400 for 8 minutes, flip and cook for 5 more minutes until cooked.

Here's a tip that I learnt: if you want something to crisp up well, use a darker pan. In the middle of cooking I transferred all of the stips to this darker sheet because the ones on the lighter pan were not as crispy as the ones on this darker pan after the same amount of cooking time.

Once cooked, let sit for a few minutes to let them crisp up a little more. As you can see, when I flipped the strips over, some of the coating came off on the tongs. This really annoyed me at first but then realized that it's going to happen regardless of the recipe. Oh well.

Now for the dipping sauce!

At first I wasn't going to make this, but I thought, why not? So I did. Exciting thought process, I know.

1/2 Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons honey

Once I tasted it, I knew this was going to get used up fast because it's so delicious, so I made double. I was glad I did because we almost ate the entire thing.

If you don't have Dijon mustard, but you have honey mustard, use that. If you don't have Greek yogurt, but still have some sort of good quality plain yogurt, use that. If you want to somehow make up for not having any Dijon mustard and so add a little bit of grainy honey-Dijon mustard because that's what you have, that's ok, although not necessary. Personal experience.

And this was the day I force fed my grandparents chicken strips. Just kidding about the force feeding (kind of). It's totally not their kind of food, which is probably why the thought first came into my head to have them (withdrawals). But surprisingly, my grandparents loved them! And it was in the middle of eating these that I learnt it was their first time ever having this. I'm glad I introduced something awesome into their life.

These chicken strips made for a really nice lunch, but it was the sauce that completed it. These aren't heavy or greasy like what you would get at your favourite fast food place or restaurant. They have something about them that feels very wholesome. The sauce is not like a heavy ranch or a sugary sweet and sour; it's the perfect dipping sauce and also very low in calorie, so it's great if you're on a diet, as well. A salad or two would be nice with this meal, but is satisfying enough just by itself.

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