Most people love coconut-crusted chicken, fish and shellfish. Problem is, most coconut-crusted dishes contain lots of fat from heavy egg-based batters and pan-frying or deep-frying in lots of oil. That’s a shame because coconut “meat” is high in fiber and has a low glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar. It’s also rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s), which, unlike long-chain fatty acids (LCFA’s), have no negative effect on cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease. The good news is, you can create a crunchy coconut exterior without tons of fat and calories. In this recipe, I coated chicken with three simple layers: flour, egg whites and coconut. The crust is light and delicious and also works well with fish and shrimp. The tangy and slightly spicy pineapple salsa takes the dish over the top. Let me know what you think!
Coconut Chicken with Pineapple-Chili Salsa
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, about 4 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup diced pineapple, fresh or canned in 100% juice
2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, preferably Sriracha
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.
Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Place the egg whites in a separate shallow dish. Place the coconut in a third shallow dish.
Dip the chicken into the flour and turn to coat both sides. Transfer the flour-coated chicken to the egg whites and turn to coat both sides. Transfer the chicken to the coconut and turn to coat both sides.
Transfer the coconut-crusted chicken to the prepared roasting pan and bake for 25 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, chili sauce and cilantro. Mix to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the chicken with the pineapple-chili salsa spooned over top and on the side.
Nutrition Info Per Serving
Total Fat: 9.8 grams
Saturated Fat: 6.8 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 15 grams
Sugars: 7 grams
Protein: 30 grams
Sodium: 335 milligrams
Cholesterol: 72 milligrams
Fiber: 2 grams
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.