Thursday, July 4, 2013

Chicken Fingers with Tea-Infused Japanese Peppers

Let me preface this meal by admitting that yes, this is an odd mix BUT it works wonderfully well together. And at first glance it seems like it doesn't go together but I did have honest inspiration that will hopefully make sense soon!

While living in Hawaii the local fair was dependable. You always knew what to expect when ordering the staples of their cuisine, and they always delivered. Hawaiian BBQ is one of those. A dish I liked there was chicken katsu, pounded thinly and served with macaroni salad and slaw. Moving back to the main land, I can now be honest and admit I liked the chicken katsu.. but not really any of the sides.. not at all. Where is the fresh produce? And are these frozen mixed vegetables? Uninspired sides aside, let's take what is good about it and give it a little twist!

So this is my updated version of that, with chicken finger like entree gourmet enough for adults but also basic enough for the kiddos. I wanted fried chicken fingers that were light and not too bready, and also really wanted this Japanese side with vegetables and a brown sesame sauce. I also paired it with whipped potatoes. Hey, I know it's weird but this was good. I loved the sauce of the vege with the chicken and potatoes. Hope you get to enjoy it too, some night when you're feeling daring to try a new thing. Happy cooking.

Chicken Fingers with Tea-Infused Japanese Peppers
Serves: 4 Time: 45 min

Simple Chicken Fingers
2 Chicken Breasts, skinless boneless, preferably organic
1/3 cup corn meal
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
4 tbsp coconut oil
Tea-Infused Japanese Peppers
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
1/3 cup soy sauce (or soy substitute)
1/4 cup peach ginger tea (strong brew)
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp scallions, diagonally sliced
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Whipped Potatoes
4-5 medium-large Yukon Gold potatoes, eyes removed but skin on, cubed, and boiled to fork tender
4 tbsp salted butter, cubed
1/4-1/3 whole milk, preferably organic, divided
3 tbsp whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp ground pepper, or more to taste

How To:
1) Butterfly cut chicken and pound evenly. Slice chicken into long tenders.

2) Combine cornmeal, salt, pepper, and paprika. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet. Once hot, dredge chicken in the cornmeal mixture on both sides and slide gently into the hot oil. Use tongs to flip chicken once, cooking both sides for 4 - 5 minutes.

3) Preheat oven to 200º F. Assemble a baking sheet with foil, then a cooling rack on top of that. This allows excess oil to drip off of the chicken rather than soak into your food. This equals less greasy and more crispy finish for your food. Add finished chicken tenders to the cooling rack. Place rack and sheet into the oven. Turn oven off, this will help to keep your food warm while you finish cooking.

4) Japanese Peppers: In a saucepan over medium heat. Melt coconut oil. Add onions. Saute for 3 minutes. Add peppers. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add soy sauce, tea, honey, and ketchup. Drop heat down to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until reduced. Remove onions and peppers and set aside. Turn heat back up to medium-high and reduce sauce down to a syrup about 5 more minutes or so. Stir occasionally so nothing burns. Once syrup is achieved, add onions and peppers back to sauce. Turn off heat, add sesame oil, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

5) Drain cooked potatoes. In a large bowl, add cubed butter and half amount of milk and all of the whipping cream. Mix on high until smooth. Add milk as needed until consistency you like is reached. Add salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


  1. That looks so good Rachel. I'm not even a fan of bell peppers and I still want to make that. Very nice presentation too. Keep up the good work.

    Ciao, Cheers & See You Around!

    1. Thanks Mikey, appreciate it! Glad to hear from you, hope you and the fam are doing great. -R


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