Coconut Chicken Tenders And Thai Curry Dipping Sauce Recipe

Chicken is an excellent solution for many dining occasions — whether you're looking for a protein-rich meal, a fun appetizer, or something that satisfies both. Recipe developer A.J. Forget brings us this unique recipe for coconut chicken tenders paired with a Thai curry dipping sauce. It's every bit as flavorful as you'd think, and it's the perfect way to spice up an old favorite. 

"What I enjoy most about this recipe is that it is a somewhat unfamiliar dish that falls at a meeting point between two familiar foods," Forget shares. "I was looking for a way to bring together the always delightful, if somewhat childish, chicken tender with a spicy, coconut-forward Thai green curry." The result is an absolute success, and you'll want to prepare this recipe for lunch, as an appetizer, for dinner ... you get the picture. "The chicken tenders are delicious, crispy, and full of coconut flavor, while the green curry comes through — with all of its fragrance and balanced, spicy, salty sweetness — in the dipping sauce," Forget describes. 

Gather the ingredients for the coconut chicken tenders and Thai curry dipping sauce

"This recipe doubles down on the coconut, using both unsweetened dried coconut in the breading as well as coconut milk as a binder," Forget notes. Each coconut ingredient offers something different: "The dried coconut in the breading mixed with panko breadcrumbs gives the chicken tenders a delicious, tropical crisp," Forget says. "By also using coconut to adhere the breading to the chicken, we ensure that the wonderful aroma of coconut is present in every bite."

Besides the raw chicken tenders and a neutral oil to fry them in, you'll also need flour, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder for the first layer of breading on the meat. For the dipping sauce, you'll need Thai green curry paste, granulated sugar, rice vinegar, and mayonnaise. A squeeze of lime juice rounds things out at the end.

Make the dipping sauce

In a small bowl, combine the Thai curry paste, sugar, and rice vinegar. Mix in the mayonnaise until the dip is uniform in consistency, then set it aside to serve when the chicken is ready.

Bread the chicken tenders

The oil needs to be nice and hot for successful frying, so start by heating it in a pot or pan with high sides over medium heat. 

To stay organized during this next step, set out three plates or shallow bowls for the breading ingredients. Add the flour, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder to one bowl and mix to combine. Then, pour the coconut milk into the next bowl, and mix the panko and shredded coconut in the last one. 

One by one, bread the chicken tenders by passing them through the flour mixture, then dipping them in coconut milk, and finally coating them with the panko mix. Do your best to coat the chicken evenly for an optimal crust. As you finish breading each tender, transfer it to a plate until it's time to fry. 

Fry the tenders in batches

Once the chicken is breaded, check the oil temperature. For the best results, it should be around 365 F, so raise or decrease the heat if necessary. "The trickiest part of the recipe is managing the oil temperature," Forget points out. "If the oil is too cold, the chicken tenders can come out greasy. If it's too hot, the breading will start to burn before the chicken is cooked through." 

Add a few tenders to the oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes on one side, then turn the pieces over and fry them for about the same time on the other side. You should have a crisp, golden brown exterior and a 165 F interior. When you finish the first batch, transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off the excess oil. Before adding the next batch, Forget warns, "It is important to make sure that the oil is back up to 365 F." You'll notice that the oil is too hot if the coconut starts burning, so be vigilant. Finish frying all of the tenders and let them cool off for a few minutes before serving.

Serve the chicken tenders with dipping sauce

Serve up these crunchy coconut crusted chicken tenders with the creamy Thai curry dipping sauce. Squeeze some fresh lime juice on top and plate lime wedges on the side, as well as a sprinkling of salt to finish. Forget shares, "This dish makes a perfect appetizer as is, but would also be an excellent main alongside a green papaya salad and steamed rice." 

If you have any leftovers, let them fully cool before storing them in a sealed container in the fridge. Forget recommends reheating the chicken tenders on a baking sheet in a 400 F oven, removing them when they begin to sizzle and once again feel crispy to the touch. While we appreciate the leftovers tip, we don't think we'll have to make use of it!

Coconut Chicken Tenders And Thai Curry Dipping Sauce Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
Combining two delicious cuisines, this crispy, coconutty chicken with tangy dipping sauce will disappear very quickly at any movie night or game day party.
Prep Time
Cook Time
plate of breaded chicken tenders
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Thai green curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Neutral oil, enough to submerge the chicken while frying
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1 lime
  1. Make the dipping sauce by stirring together the curry paste, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl.
  2. Add the mayonnaise and mix until uniform, then set the sauce aside.
  3. Add the oil to a pot or pan with high sides and bring it to 365 F over medium heat.
  4. Set out three plates or shallow bowls for the breading ingredients. In the first, mix together the flour, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Pour the coconut milk into the second dish. In the third, mix together the panko breadcrumbs and shredded coconut.
  5. Bread the chicken tenders by dredging them in flour, dipping them in coconut milk, and rolling them in the breadcrumb mixture. Try to ensure all three ingredients are evenly coated on all sides.
  6. Set the breaded tenders aside until all are coated.
  7. When the oil has reached 365 F, add the tenders a few at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until they are golden brown and crisp on the bottom, then flip and repeat.
  8. Transfer the cooked tenders to a plate lined with paper towels to allow excess oil to drain off. Continue frying in batches until all of the chicken is cooked. Be sure to allow your oil to get back to temperature between batches.
  9. Let the hot chicken tenders rest for a few minutes before serving.
  10. Squeeze lime juice over the tenders, sprinkle them with salt, and serve with additional lime wedges and the Thai curry dipping sauce.
Calories per Serving 1,199
Total Fat 86.9 g
Saturated Fat 31.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 104.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 68.1 g
Dietary Fiber 7.8 g
Total Sugars 5.4 g
Sodium 1,262.2 mg
Protein 39.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe