I don’t know where or how to start as this recipe goes way way back! I have been working on this recipe for almost a year now, even before I started thinking about my blog! I simply love fried food & can’t deny that it is a staple in our house so I had to find a lighter/healthier alternative!
I have tested this recipe over & over; tried every single breading you can imagine; flour, corn flour, panko, nuts, corn flakes, tortillas, pretzels … etc but nothing worked & the result was always the same:
- Either the chicken gets too dry until the crust takes a nice color & crunch or
- The chicken is cooked perfectly & the crust is light in color + not crispy
I just couldn’t accept eating any of the above options & compared to fried chicken, they sucked big time!
So, I gave up! totally gave up … fried food has to be fried ..!
Until very recently, the funniest coincidence happened to me!
We were shooing a gratin recipe in a studio that didn’t have an oven & the topping of the gratin was panko crumbs mixed with fresh herbs & cheese. So we decided to stir fry the panko on the stove then add it to the dish!
SPOT ON! It looked exactly like it was baked in the oven!
We finished the shoot, I went home & in the shower the idea struck me .. WHY DON’T WE COAT THE CHICKEN FILLET/STRIPS WITH STIR FRIED PANKO THEN BAKE IT IN THE OVEN!
This means; we can bake the chicken in the oven just until it’s cooked through from inside not caring about the breading being undercooked as it is already crispy!
OHHH OHHH OHHHH!!! I WAS DANCING INSIDE MY MIND! I slept dreaming of executing this recipe until I woke up, ran to the kitchen & started working!
PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT!
Juicy chicken & super duper crunchy crust!
IT JUST CAN’T GET ANY BETTER!
I DID IT :)
That day, I believed I came up with the solution to one of the most complicated kitchen mysteries (at least in my mind)! I wanted to claim that I am the first one to think of this trick in the whole world hahaha so I ran to the Internet to do my research first & found that the brilliant Naji of Recipe Tin Eats posted a similar recipe long ago … but still I am the inventor of this trick (at least in my own world) …. YAAAAAY!
CRISPY OVEN BAKED CHICKEN FILLET
FOR THE CHICKEN MARINADE:
- 850 gm chicken fillet thinly sliced*
- 1 cup rayeb milk (Buttermilk)
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder كركم
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder حبهان
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder قرفة
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder جنزبيل
- 1 tbsp dried oregano or thyme زعتر
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 2-3 dashes hot sauce or more to taste (optional)
- salt & pepper
FOR THE CHICKEN BREADING:
- 3 cups Japanese panko breadcrumbs* بقسماط بانكو اليابانى
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp yellow cornmeal* دقيق درة أصفر
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
FOR THE LIGHT HONEY MUSTARD DIP:
- 1 pack yoghurt (light or full fat)
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 1/2 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp honey or more to taste
- Cut each piece of chicken fillet in half to have medium size cutlets.
- In a glass bowl, mix the chicken with all the marinade ingredients.
- Cover & refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
- Heat a large non stick pan over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp oil then add 1 cup panko bread crumbs* & stir to coat with the oil.
- Keep stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until the bread crumbs take a golden brown color. Remove breadcrumbs from the pan & place in a large shallow dish*. Repeat the same process with the remaining 2 cups of bread crumbs.
- Add the yellow cornmeal to the breadcrumbs & mix well.
- Preheat the oven at 200 C.(Don’t preheat your oven before that)
- Coat each chicken piece with the breadcrumbs mixture, pressing the mixture WELL with your hands on the chicken to make sure it sticks to the chicken.
- Place the chicken on a non stick baking tray & bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes flipping the chicken once in the middle.
- Serve immediately with light honey mustard dip.
- For the honey mustard dipping: Mix all the ingredients together & store in the refrigerator up to a week.
- You have to use THINLY sliced chicken & make sure all the pieces are more or less the same size to cook evenly.
- I like adding the spices to the chicken marinade & not the breading but you can still add the same spices to the breadcrumbs as well if you want.
- Panko Breadcrumbs & Cornmeal are widely available in large supermarkets such as Seoudi – Gourmet – Alfa – Sunny – Spinneys – (sometimes) Hyper & Carrefour.
- I stir fry the breadcrumbs 1 cup a time (stirring constantly) so that it is easier to stir & accordingly nothing gets burnt. If the breadcrumbs are browning too fast, reduce the heat to medium.
- You can stir fry the breadcrumbs & mix it with the cornmeal up to 24 hours in advance; just store in an airtight container on the kitchen counter not the refrigerator.