Home cooking, 256pp.
by Valli Little
HarperCollinsPublishers Australia, Sydney, 2012
Cooking on page 32
This is one of many cookbooks put out through a collaboration involving ABC Books (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), NewsLifeMedia and delicious magazines.
The 100+ recipes here are from Valli Little’s home kitchen. She’s a bestselling author and food director for delicious magazine. The book includes family favourites and plenty of ideas for easy entertaining.
It’s almost impossible to go wrong with these dishes unless, of course, you choose to make something calling for ingredients you don’t especially like.
Macadamia-crumbed chicken strips
1/2 cup (75g) macadamias, roughly chopped
2 cups (100g) breadcrumbs
1 cup (150g) plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
12 chicken tenderloins or 4 x 170g chicken breast fillets, cut into thirds lengthways
sunflower oil, to deep-fry
4 tomatoes, seed removed, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 long green chilli, seeds removed, chopped
1 tbs grated ginger
2 tbs chopped coriander (cilantro), plus extra leaves to serve
juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges to serve
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
For the tomato salsa, place all the ingredients in a bowl, season , then toss to combine. Set aside.
Place the macadamias and breadcrumbs in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl.
Place the flour in a separate bowl and season. Place the egg in a third bowl.
Dust the chicken first in flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg and finally in the macadamia crumbs, making sure each piece is well coated. Chill for 20 minutes to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Half-fill a large saucepan or deep-fryer with the oil and heat to 190°C (if you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, a cube of bread dropped into the oil will turn golden after 30 seconds when the oil is hot enough). In batches, deep-fry the crumbed chicken strips for 3–4 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Transfer to a baking tray and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining chicken.
Serve the chicken strips with the tomato salsa, lime wedges and extra coriander leaves. Serves. 4.
How this played out
This seemed like a perfect recipe for a picnic so I started it in the mid-afternoon to take along for an early evening outing with family and friends. I figured it could be served at room temperature without problem.
As suggested, I made the salsa first so the flavours could meld. I then cut about 1.3 kilograms worth of chicken breast fillets into strips, and followed the recipe to coat the strips in flour, then egg, and finally the crumb mixture. As you can tell I was making a double batch to feed a crowd.
I used panko breadcrumbs because that’s what I had on hand. There was enough of all three coatings to have done 2 kilos (or more) of chicken strips, so keep that in mind if you want to make an even larger batch.
Deep frying always takes longer than you think it will, especially when you’re doing a lot. Each batch of strips took close to 5 minutes to become golden. In the end, we were a little late heading out, but so were the friends (Vicky, Graham and Luke) who were joining us, so that didn’t matter.
Served with lots of salads and a frittata.
As a special treat, Vicky brought along her kayak so my niece, Ellen, and her hubby, Tom, could each have a go on the Molonglo River, which feeds into Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin.
What a great way spend time with friends and family. Lots of delicious food (the chicken was a winner and the crumb mixture gave a nice, but subtle crunch), wonderful company, excellent weather, and the kayak didn’t tip over.
If the chicken pieces are cut a little smaller, I think this recipe would also be good as an appetiser, with the salsa as a dipping sauce.
Tom and Ellen visited us as part of a 10-week, trip-of-a-lifetime around Southeast Asia. We felt especially blessed they managed to fit Canberra into their travels. They were just ahead of the colourful autumn displays we have in Canberra.