Macadamia Memories

You are all going to think that we eat nothing but chicken in this family, because here comes another chicken recipe. The thing is, we recently got a whole whack of chicken from a fundraiser and it is just EXCELLENT chicken (Cowichan Bay Farms). So you might see a little chicken cycle going on, but have no fear, you will experience different protein varieties very soon! Back to the recipe at hand, however, for it has a little meaning behind it. My parents just came back from Hawaii, with my little brother and a friend of his (this is what happens while I slave at home! Ah, ‘tis the life of a uni student…). It’s my parent’s third trip to the islands, and I went there myself with them two years ago. I can see why they keep going back; lush and balmy, Hawaii is not just a place for lazing about in a beach chair. Gorgeous hikes in the tropical out back and hours snorkeling various beaches were the highlights of the trip. When my parents brought back salted macadamia nuts (plus a few chocolate covered ones!), I knew I was pretty close to being transported back to the tropics. I remember having many dishes of macadamia-coated fish, so why not try the same recipe on chicken? Served with a little mango salsa, I really didn’t see how this could go wrong. I cut the chicken into strips so that delicious crunch can be appreciated with every bit. Plus, lets face it; this is tropical chicken strips for adults. Enjoy!

Macadamia-Crusted Chicken Strips

This recipe is a versatile beast. Switch chicken out for white fish, and change up the macadamia nuts for almonds, hazelnuts, cashews and even pistachios for the adventurous. The nuts, whichever you use, create a nice buttery crunch, the cereal a light pop, and the breadcrumbs good texture. This makes quite a bit of mix, so keep any extra in a container in the cupboard for later use!

4 pieces of chicken breast, cut into strips
1 c macadamia nuts, ground (I used the blender, but a chef’s knife or food processor would do the trick as well. Don’t worry if the texture is not completely even: some bigger pieces provide a nice texture.)
1 c flour
1 c breadcrumbs
1 c crushed corn flakes, special K, or other crispy cereal
1 ½ tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
zest of 2 limes
2 eggs, well beaten

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) In a bowl, combine macadamia nuts, flour, breadcrumbs, cereal, pepper, paprika, and lime zest. Line up two deep plates, filling one with the beaten eggs and the other with the flour mixture. Dip chicken first in the beaten eggs, then coat well with the flour mixture, making sure it gets in all the nooks and crannies. Place on a cookie sheet to bake, to help keep it nice and crisp. Repeat with all other pieces. Sprinkle any extra egg-y mix that you’ve rolled your chicken in on top, as that won’t keep. It will toast up nice, and you can sprinkle it around on your veggies that you serve it with.
3) Bake, starting with the timer at 8 minutes, then check for doneness. My strips took 10 minutes and were still nice and moist, but depending on the size yours may be done a little quicker.
4) Serve with mango salsa.

Mango Salsa

This salsa is good on everything. Pork with mole, white fish, maple salmon, cinnamon tenderloin, tortilla chips…like I said, everything. It is very simple to make, with only a few ingredients, and the taste is so bright and refreshing.

3 ripe mangoes, cored and chopped (Cut off all the soft bits around the hard middle, peel, and chop)
½ large red onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, cilantro (approx 1 generous cup)
1 jalapeño**, chopped and seeded
juice of one lime

1) Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Serve!

**Jalapeños get their heat from the seeds, so to get all the flavour and a lot less spice, take out the seeds. If you want a little sweat on your forehead, leave the seeds in! Also, VERY important: WEAR GLOVES when you chop jalapeños. We keep a rubber pair under the sink for spicy suckers like this because, as I can attest to, the spice will stay on your fingers literally for a couple days. I remember having biscuits the day after chopping jalapeños and I thought they were ridiculously spicy, but it turns out that it was just my fingers…also, your eyes will thank you. Nothing says good morning like washing your face with your hands after a night of chopping chilies.


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