Until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of the aromatic Middle Eastern spice and nut blend called dukkah, and now it seems to be everywhere (I even saw jar of it at Trader Joe’s the other day).
Well now that I've finally discovered this aromatic blend of toasted nuts and seeds, I feel like I need to make up for lost time. I'm slightly obsessed. Dukkah is traditionally sprinkled on olive oil-dipped pita bread, but it can also be used as a versatile topping, sprinkled over roasted vegetables, pasta, or even as a crust on fish or meat. And then the light bulb went off.
Hello, Dukkah Crusted Chicken Tenders.
Fried chicken fingers get a healthy and flavorful makeover with this baked version. You still get that chicken strip crispy crunchiness you know and love, but the taste factor is punched up with toasted hazelnuts, sesame, coriander, and cumin.
It’s crazy how much flavor you get from this mixture of nuts, seeds, and spices. Toast them up to get them really aromatic, and then give them a whir in the food processor to grind it all up.
I kept some larger pieces of nuts in the mix for extra crunch in the crust.
And then the process is just like making regular fried chicken. Dust the chicken strips in seasoned flour, give it a lovely buttermilk-sage bath, and then roll it in the dukkah to give it a tasty, nutty crust.
If you're looking to make this even healthier, you could forego the flour dredging and buttermilk bath and use egg white instead. A bit of olive oil gives the chicken that oven-fried goodness without the guilt.
Dip these chicken tenders in honey-mustard, or try a cucumber yogurt tzatziki. Liven up your salad with them. Or make a “fried” chicken sandwich and serve with your favorite slaw.
How would you eat these fancified chicken tenders?
Recipe: Dukkah Crusted Chicken Tenders
Chicken fingers get a healthy and flavorful makeover with this baked version that is encrusted in dukkah (an aromatic Middle Eastern blend of spices and nuts).
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
For the Chicken
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Dukkah Spice Blend
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Make the Dukkah Spice Blend
- If your hazelnuts aren’t already peeled, spread them on a baking tray and bake for 3-5 minutes or until toasted. Rub the hazelnuts in between a towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts. Set aside.
- Heat a medium skillet on medium heat. Add nuts, coriander, sesame, and cumin seeds. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant and toasted.
- Pour everything into a food processor, add the salt and pepper, and process until crumbly. Do not allow mixture to become a paste. Pour onto a plate and set aside.
Prepare the Chicken
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts and cut into 1-inch strips.
- On a large plate, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. In a bowl, combine the buttermilk, mustard, and sage. Prepare your baking sheet by covering with parchment paper and rubbing the olive oil on top so that it’s completely coated.
- Dredge the chicken strips in the flour until they are completely coated. Shake off any excess flour.
- Give the chicken a dip in the buttermilk mixture.
- Roll the chicken in the dukkah so that it’s evenly coated.
- Arrange the strips on the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken strips and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately.