Baked Curry Chicken Fingers
I love combining the best parts of recipes to make something new. In this case, I used the spice mixture from the buttermilk spiced chicken recipe I found in the latest Milk calendar (a staple in Ontario homes) in Carlsbad Cravings’ baked “fried” chicken. A win-win! No greasy, messy deep frying as in the orignal Milk recipe, and a new flavour for a favourite, never-fails chicken recipe. Delicious with mango chutney.
Baked Curry Chicken Fingers
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsbp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp garam masala, divided
- 1 tbsp salt, divided
- 1 tsp ground coriander, divided
- 1 tsp turmeric, divided
- 1 tsp garlic powder, divided
- 1 tsp black pepper, divided
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger, divided
- 1/4 tsp Armenian pepper or cayenne pepper See Notes, below.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- Cut chicken into 1-inch strips. Add to a glass container with a lid or to a large freezer bag.
- In a medium bowl, add buttermilk and sugar. Add half of each of the garam masala, salt, coriander, turmeric, garlic powder, pepper, and ginger. Add all of the Armenian pepper. Whisk everything together.
- Pour marinade over chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix together flour, panko, cornmeal and remaining spices in a large bowl.
- Remove chicken from marinade and dab lightly with paper towels to absorb excess marinade. I recommend wearing latex food prep gloves for the rest of this step. Place each piece of chicken in the breading mix, pressing coating into the chicken to ensure it is well coated. Put breaded chicken on a plate until the baking pan is ready.
- Cube butter and put it on the baking tray. Put the tray in the oven, just until the butter melts. Remove pan from oven and place breaded chicken pieces on the tray. Return the tray to the oven.
- Bake chicken for about 10 minutes. Carefully flip, and continue baking until done, approximately5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces. To make the chicken crispy, turn on the broiler for the last few minutes of cooking time. Serve with mango chutney or raita.
- Armenian pepper, also known as Aleppo pepper, is not always easy to find. I get mine from A Spice Affair. They describe it as "milder and oilier than conventional crushed red pepper, with a fruity twist." If you cannot find it, cayenne is fine, as are red chili flakes.
About Garam Masala
- Garam masala is a mix of spices. The blend is used often in Indian cooking and dishes inspired by Indian cuisine, like the chicken fingers recipe here. You can buy ready-made garam masala in Indian grocery stores and many grocery chains, or you can make your own. The precise mix varies depends on who is making it, but Swasthi’s Recipes has what looks to be a pretty traditional recipe along with some good background on the spices and methods used to prepare it.
- As noted in SPICEography, garam masala “is believed to contain a balance of all six tastes. It has warmth and sweetness, heat, spiciness and a hint of floral undertones. When these spices are combined, they create a mix that adds an incredible depth and complexity to a variety of dishes.”
- There are many articles online touting the health benefits of garam masala, few of which have been actually proven. It’s true that the individual spices in garam masala have antioxidants and other beneficial properties, but whether those benefits come through in the small amounts of spice used in cooking is another question entirely. WebMD describes its health benefits as follows, which is probably the safest claim for now: “Because [garam masala] adds complex flavors, you should be able to cut back on the salt or fat you use.”
Sketch of chicken fingers by Topgeek | Dreamstime