“Can’t,” I replied. It didn’t feature a wonderland of fresh fruits or veggies. She countered that if my blog was to feature recipes that would tempt the palate, Chicken Fingers with Curry Ketchup would win hands-down. Finally we analyzed that the Curry Ketchup actually was put on the map by the chopped green onions contained therein. Good enough qualifier. So here goes.
The nuggets were oven-baked instead of fried, with high-fat breading replaced by crushed cereal crumbs. Chicken bits were dipped first in egg (or egg substitute) and then in a wonderful mixture of crushed chex cereal (I used Corn Chex but also have tried this with cornflake and crisp rice cereal crumbs), paprika, garlic powder, nutmeg, and cayenne. After being cooked over olive oil to soften, the green onions were mixed with curry powder and ketchup. The recipe was from a years-ago Family Circle magazine feature on family picnics and easy, totable foods that make a movable feast. Our lunch required only that we move the tenders from kitchen to back yard, but they could have gone anywhere and been enjoyed cold as well as hot from the oven.
Lest you think we’ve deviated from our goal here, I hasten to add that if you leave out those fresh-from-the-garden green onions in the Curry Ketchup, this meal will flop. Just plain ole ketchup straight from the bottle, without enhancements, never will do. Garden-fresh to the bone.
Chicken Fingers with Curry Ketchup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 green onions, trimmed and sliced thin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup ketchup (we used no-salt-added ketchup)
1 cup cornflake crumbs (or other crispy cereal)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute)
2 pounds chicken tenders
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil (if you use regular foil, spray it thoroughly with cooking spray). In a small saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add green onions; cook 2 minutes until onions are softened. Add curry powder; cook for 1 minute. Stir in ketchup; take off the heat. Cool, cover, and refrigerate ketchup mixture until ready to serve. In a shallow glass dish mix together crushed cereal crumbs, Parmesan cheese, paprika, garlic powder, nutmeg, and cayenne. In a second glass dish lightly beat eggs. Dip chicken pieces into egg and then into cereal mixture to coat completely. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when it is inserted into the thickest part of chicken. Remove from oven and cool. Makes 8 servings.