Ramadan Kareem to all my lovely readers. Another Blessed Month has descended upon us and I’m geared with a quite a few goals I pray to accomplish. My blog is rather dormant given the time restraints of raising a toddler. However, every year I have the urge to share with you recipes my family enjoys suited for the month of Ramadan. This year is no different. I’ve planned way ahead and have a few recipes in my kitty that I can’t wait to share. Given that I know quite a few children who will be fasting this month, the first recipe I have is for the little believers amongst us. For their will and determination, a little something for the little hearts patiently waiting to break their fast.
I don’t quite remember at what age I started fasting the entire month of Ramadan but you could find me hovering in the kitchen around the time of Iftar. Without a doubt, when you are that young one of the incentives of observing the fast is knowing what would be laid out on the table at sunset. Umma knew exactly what my brother and I would be expecting and made sure there was at least one dish we liked. My favorite (still is) piping hot Medhu Vada with spicy mint chutney and ketchup! I could easily, and happily, skip dinner eating plates of these.
Chicken nuggets are a favorite with a children and this recipe is a great alternative to the store-bought frozen ones. And you’re not comprising on convenience as this recipe comes together very easily. If Ali had his way, he would eat naadan chicken fry every single day. Two minutes into the frying stage, from the aroma, he appears in the kitchen from whatever it is he is doing and excitedly asks to eat it right away. That along with Okra Bandakka Upperi, two dollops of yoghurt and steamed rice is his favorite meal. Oh, and of course, Pappadum, which is a staple for children.
While browsing finger foods for toddlers, I found a few where oatmeal was used for breading. I was looking for a texture quite similar to deep fried chicken tenders without using flour. I had an inkling that pounding the oatmeal using my mortar and pestle would give the rough texture I was looking for. And it did. I was a bit skeptical how it would adhere to the chicken and decided to add a bit of Panko too. Once, I could have sworn in I bought a new box of Panko but couldn’t find it in my pantry. Instead, I toasted the end slices of a bread loaf till they browned slightly, let it cool and then ground them roughly. What you’re NOT looking for is a fine texture. The unevenness and little bumps is exactly what you want. Texturally, once they were fried I was pleased. Crisp and golden, Ali has christened them ‘Makkana chicken’ and it has become my go-to recipe on a busy day.
I don’t deep fry these tenders. I almost only use coconut oil for frying but in the absence of the spices, I’m not quite a fan of its dominating flavor. Adding a teaspoon of butter was purely experimental. The butter mellows down the coconut flavor and leaves an inimitable nuttiness considering that it browns quite a bit while frying. These take a while to fry only because you can’t crank up the heat. I use a teeny frying pan and fry not more than 5 at a time. I replenish the frying fats right before adding a new batch but sometimes I add a bit while frying too. Two batches in and you’ll get the hang of it. You want the oat and panko flakes to crisp slowly and turn buttery golden.
How many of you remember Ruby Tuesday’s in Dubai? I remember how a friend of mine would order their chicken fingers just for the honey mustard dip. That’s something you need for this recipe. Ali doesn’t look beyond the ketchup bottle. That seems to be another favorites among children. I found a honey mustard that comes together with 4 ingredients and a whisk in a minute! Another favorite dip of mine is sweet chili sauce. I made these when my niece came to stay over during her school break and between the three of us, we polished off an entire platter for lunch. The plus side of these chicken tenders is that they don’t leave you sluggish and full like after a greasy meal. I like having these alongside fresh parsley and radish slices or a few carrot and cucumber sticks.
Do give these a try. I’d love to hear how they turn out. Especially, the little ones’ opinion.
Oat and Panko Chicken Tenders
- Chicken Breast - 500 g, cleaned and washed
- Rolled Oats flakes- 1 cup
- Panko or rough breadcrumbs - 1 cup
- Egg -1
- Salt - as required
- Pepper - as required
- Coconut oil - to fry
- Butter - to fry
Honey Mustard Sauce (recipe barely adapted from Pinch of Yum) - optional
- Honey - 2 tbsp
- Mayonnaise - 2 tbsp
- Mustard paste - 2 tbsp
- Vinegar - 1/2 tbsp
- Slice the chicken into tenders making sure they aren’t too thick.
- Season the fillets with salt and set aside.
- Using a mortar and pestle, pound the oatmeal a little at a time till they are smaller.
- Mix the oatmeal, panko, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Beat the egg with a fork.
- Dip each tender in the egg wash and then coat with the breading mixture.
- On a low flame, in a pan melt a teaspoon of coconut oil and butter together.
- Once it becomes hot, turn up the heat to a medium flame.
- Place the tenders making into the pan making sure they don’t touch each other.
- Fry the tenders for about a minute.
- Check if the underside has become and flip only if they have.
- As and when the frying fat in the pan reduces, add them both one teaspoon at a time.
- Serve immediately.
Honey Mustard Sauce
- Whisk all the ingredients until smooth.
If you can't find Panko in your supermarket, toast a few slices of white bread and grind them coarsely.
Have a good food day.