This is a week that I’ll be getting a little bit behind on my #365dairyfree challenge, as I’m at Expo West scoping out fabulous new dairy-free products for all of you! Worth it? I think so. I’ll do a multi-week update on my new recipe trials when I return (with a favorite new everyday recipe!), but won’t leave you hanging without something delicious today: Easy Curry Chicken Nuggets.
I created this simple recipe years ago for Attune Foods to highlight their crunchy, hearty Supergrains cereals. They’ve since been bought out and I thought those cereals had disappeared (they really are good!), but I just discovered that both varieties are still around, but now under the Peace Cereal brand. That said, you can make these easy curry chicken nuggets with whatever crunchy cereal you have on hand.
This is a wonderfully simple 30-minute recipe that is perfect for the busy weeknights. Kids love the crunchy coating and mild spice of this after school meal, while adults enjoy the slightly kicked up flavor and how easy it is to make! I’ve skipped the three step dipping and rolling process that you typically see with baked chicken tenders. Instead, I’ve simplified these curry chicken nuggets by stirring the dip and chicken together in one bowl, and then rolling each in the coating.
While you could use regular or egg-free mayonnaise in place of the coconut milk for the chicken dipping process, I used real full-fat coconut milk (not coconut milk beverage!) to keep with the curry and whole food themes. It works beautifully. And rather than fried, these curry chicken nuggets are baked and oil-free. That said, if you use a cereal that isn’t naturally crunchy, you may want to give them a spritz of oil before baking.
Serve these curry chicken nuggets with a quick curry dip (pictured), in lettuce wraps with your favorite creamy or tomato-based dressing, or as the feature on a mixed greens salad. We just love homemade chicken tender salads!
Special Diet Notes: Curry Chicken Nuggets
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and generally top food allergy-friendly.
If you need a grain-free option, I recommend trying these Mustard Baked Chicken Tenders. They aren’t coated, but are another great option for easy, flavorful, healthy chicken bites!
- 1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch thick pieces
- ½ teaspoon + ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon pepper, divided
- ½ cup full-fat canned coconut milk (see note below)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder (I use Simply Organic)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (I use Simply Organic)
- 2½ cups crunchy whole grain cereal (I used Peace Cereal Supergrains, formerly Erewhon brand)
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF and place one or two roasting, baking or cooling rack on a baking sheet (to fit), and spray it with cooking spray. This allows air to circulate under the nuggets so they crisp better on both sides.
- Season the chicken bites with ½ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper.
- Place the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper in a medium-sized bowl with the coconut milk, curry powder, and garlic powder. Use the higher amount of curry powder for bigger punch, lesser for timid taste buds. Whisk to combine.
- Place the seasoned chicken pieces in the coconut milk mixture, and stir to coat.
- Put the cereal in a spice grinder or food processor and pulse to create coarse or fine crumbs, as you prefer (the picture shown is coarse crumbs). Alternately, you can put the cereal in a large plastic bag, seal, and smash away!
- Pour the cereal into a shallow dish. One-by-one, remove the chicken pieces from the coconut milk mixture, roll in the cereal to coat, and place on your greased baking racks about 1-inch apart.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until baked through and lightly crispy on the outside.
Freezer Meal: The cooked nuggets can be frozen and reheated in the oven for an even quicker meal. Flash freeze them in a single layer and then store in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer. Pop them in the oven at 375ºF until heated through and crispy, about 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.