Coconut is one of those "love it or hate it" flavors. I happen to love it; especially those weird 3-color-stripe coconut bars available only in the most country of gas stations. I always, ALWAYS order the coconut cream cake from Pita Stop, and my bathroom is a testament to the availability of coconut-scented products.
When most people think of a savory dish with coconut, they think of coconut shrimp. It sits on every seafood restaurant's menu, from Outback Steakhouse's Gold Coast Coconut Shrimp to Red Lobster's Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp. However, shrimp *CAN* be a pain in the ass to deal with for some people, from shelling, to butterflying, to scraping out that gross little "poop vein" along the back. I don't mind dealing with shrimp, but, due to a nasty shellfish allergy, the BF does. So, this recipe is EASILY duplicated with chicken.
If you insist on shrimp, the process is the same. Simply shell/devein/butterfly your shrimp, dredge/batter them, and fry for 2-3 matches or until golden. In place of the sweet chili mayo, you can simply use the sweet chili sauce by itself, or a copycat of the restaurant dips (typically a mix of marmalade, horseradish and Dijon mustard, or sweet & sour sauce with crushed pineapple added).
Coconut Chicken Tenders with Sweet Chili Mayo
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken tenderloin strips
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Salt & pepper
Oil for frying
Whisk the mayo, Thai sweet chili sauce and Sriracha/chili-garlic sauce together until combined. Chill until needed.
Prepare 3 shallow bowls or pie plates. Place the flour in one. Combine the eggs and coconut milk in the second. In the third, combine the panko and flaked coconut.
Heat 2" of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, then dip into the egg mixture, and bread with the panko/coconut mixture.
Fry the breaded chicken in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if necessary, adding additional oil as needed. Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Drain and serve with sweet chili mayo.