Partnering with Spice Tribe has been a great way to try new recipes and remix a few of
my favorites at home with their flavorful blends. Wanting to do a twist on a favorite and
keeping things nostalgic for the entire household, I decided on chicken tenders. Yes,
chicken tenders. Let’s be honest, I have a feeling that it’s safe to assume that chicken
tenders are a solid dinner choice for most people because they’re a well-loved dinner
option (I’m sure parents can agree). To appease everyone, these grown up chicken
tenders are breaded with crushed plantain chips and spiced with the Haitian cuisine-
inspired Mama Manje Spice Blend. Super balanced with a good amount of heat.
This recipe is split up into three parts: a brining process, dredging the chicken, and
creating a creamy dipping sauce. I wrote it this way so you can essentially multitask to
get things done while waiting on the chicken to brine and while the oil is heating up. It
seems like a lot at first, but honestly, multitasking is a great way to practice
accomplishing tasks in the kitchen while you have downtime in a recipe instead of
setting a timer and walking away to do something else (this also applies to cleaning up
as you go!). Let’s get cooking!
Step 1 -
Trim the chicken tenders if needed and place them in a large mixing bowl. Next, combine 1 tablespoon of kosher salt per 1 cup of cool water until all of the salt is dissolved. You’ll need enough water to completely cover the chicken, so depending on how large your bowl is, follow those steps (if I recall correctly, I used around 6 cups of water for the bowl I had the chicken in). Once the chicken tenders are covered with quick brine, set aside and allow them to sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, let’s work on the breading and setting up your dredging station.
Step 2 - Plantain Breading
Combine the pulsed plantain chips, cornmeal, Mama Manje spice blend, and garlic powder together, making sure everything is mixed well. I did this in a large baking dish, so I had plenty of room to work with the chicken tenders once it was time to dredge them. Once the 15 minutes has passed for the chicken to brine, remove the chicken tenders, and pat them dry, and set them aside. Discard the water.
Step 3 -
Preheat your oil in a large frying pan over medium heat to fry the chicken tenders. I poured a little over 2 inches of oil into the pan. While the oil preheats, dredge the chicken tenders by coating them in the beaten eggs and then placing them into the plantain cornmeal mixture, making sure to press down on the chicken to ensure the coating covers the entire piece.
Step 4 -
Set aside the coated chicken tender on a baking rack or clean plate and repeat this process with the remaining chicken tenders. You’ll want the chicken tenders to sit for a few minutes and allow the dredge to dry out slightly; this ensures that it won’t fall off while frying or baking. Once you’re finished coating all of the chicken tenders, let’s move on to creating our dipping sauce so it’s ready when everything is cooked!
Step 5 - Creamy Avocado Sauce
In a food processor or high speed blender, combine all of the ingredients until you have a smooth dipping sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking for heat and acidity!
Step 6 -
To finish the dish, fry the chicken tenders until golden brown and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes and drain on a clean baking rack or paper towel lined plate. If baking, spray the chicken tenders with a little nonstick cooking spray all over and bake them at 400ºF until golden brown and cooked through, about 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!
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