In the Kitchen: Coconut Chicken

Do you like coconut, and coconut-flavored things? If not, move along.

So, The Empress of Whisky does like coconut and coconut-flavored things. She usually wants a coconut cake at her birthday, and she is known to, for example, indulge in the occasional stout with added coconut.

Anyway, on a whim — most of my kitchen adventures start with a whim — I once pan-fried some chicken cutlets in a little virgin coconut oil.

–> Brief aside: Virgin coconut oil maintains the lovely aroma and flavor of coconut. It’s the one you want, if coconut flavor is your goal. Processed coconut oil, on the other hand, loses most of the aroma and flavor, whilst still maintaining the other properties of coconut oil.

I also spritzed a bit of lime in there, and threw in some Jamaican jerk seasoning. Turned out fairly lovely, I thought. As we were eating, I asked how the coconut was to The Empress. Fine, she said, but a little too subtle for her tastes.

A little too subtle.

Well, friends that sounded like a challenge.

There’s this thing I do with pork loin cutlets — I picked it up from an America’s Test Kitchen episode — wherein the the cutlets are first tossed in corn starch, then dipped in buttermilk, then lastly coated in bread crumbs. Rest, then pan-fry in oil. It’s lovely.

Taking that concept as my base, I took chicken cutlets, tossed them in coconut flour, then dipped them in coconut milk, then lastly coated them in sweetened coconut flakes. Finally, I pan-fried the suckers in virgin coconut oil.

Presented with this dish — which, if you’re curious, I paired with orange rice and Brussels sprouts — The Empress agreed that, yes, indeed, the level of coconut was sufficient.

This dish is now in the repertoire. The only tweak I’m working on is making the damned coconut flakes stick a bit better. Maybe more resting time? We’ll see.

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