jalapeno-fried chicken bento

21 04 2010

a while back i placed a fresh direct order, and the amount of jalapenos that was delivered was waaaay more than what i thought i was ordering!  what’s a girl to do with extra jalapenos that have been lingering in the fridge for almost too long?  how about jalapeno-fried chicken fingers, and a hearty salad topped with jalapeno-citrus dressing!  that’s what i made for dinner (recipes below), and tomorrow’s lunch includes two good-sized chicken pieces.

the rest of the bento has brown rice topped with peas and two cute bears made from two hard boiled egg slices (nori and sesame seed facial details), a beautiful vine-ripe tomato, some steamed broccoli, three butterflies cut from fish sausage, some pea pods and clementine wedges, and some cucumber and takuwan slices.

– ♥ –

jalapeno-fried chicken fingers

  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package panko (japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to taste
  • 1 medium-to-large sized jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. get yourself a nice, big, and clean workstation, where you can set up three bowls.  put the flour in the first bowl, and mix in your salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika (if you haven’t made spiced dredging flour before, start with about 1/8 teaspoon of each and add more as you like).
  2. in the second bowl, crack and beat the two eggs.  add a few teaspoons of milk or water if needed to thin the egg mixture down.
  3. in the third bowl, toss your diced jalapeno with your panko.  now you have your breading station, and you should line up the three bowls so that the panko/jalapeno mixture is closest to your frying pan.
  4. cut your chicken into approximately uniformly-sized pieces — i like mine longer and thinner (like “fingers”), but you could easily do squatter “nugget” style pieces.
  5. in a large frying pan, heat the oil until you can drop a piece of diced jalapeno in and it bubbles and sizzles.
  6. once the oil has come up to temp, bread the chicken, one piece at a time, by first dredging through the spiced flour, then dipping in the beaten egg, and then rolling through the panko/jalapeno mixture.  i find it works best to use just one hand as your breading hand (just hold the chicken piece in that hand and work it through all three bowls).  that way you have a clean hand left to turn on the faucet when it’s time to wash the messy hand!
  7. once you have about 5 or 6 pieces breaded, gently place them in the oil (if you drop them with too much force, the hot oil will splatter and burn you), and fry until both sides are golden brown (about 2 minutes on the first side and 90 seconds on the second).  i like to blot the fried pieces with a paper towel and then pop them into a 375-degree oven for a few extra minutes, just to make absolutely sure they are cooked through.
  8. you will want to fry the chicken in batches (that’s why i said 5 or 6 pieces for the first go), being careful not to crowd the pan. crowding the pan will result in stuck-together pieces and non-uniform browning.

jalapeno-citrus salad dressing

  • light syrup from a can of mandarin orange slices (if you don’t have a can handy, you can make a simple syrup by combining equal parts water and sugar in a pan and stirring over a low flame until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened — the mandarin flavor is lovely here though, and worth the price of the can)
  • juice from 1.5 limes
  • 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (plain white vinegar is fine too)
  • 1 small to medium sized jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 kiwi, skin removed, cut into chunks
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. in a food processor, blend about 1/2 cup mandarin (or simple) syrup with the lime juice, vinegar and jalapeno, until the jalapeno is finely ground and gives the syrup a green-speckled, slightly opaque appearance
  2. add the chunked kiwi and mint, and continue blending until thoroughly ground
  3. through the pouring hole on the food processor container, pour a thin stream of olive oil, allowing the food processor blade to emulsify the dressing
  4. season the dressing to your liking

the dressing is super simple, right?  it’s deliciously tangy, and removing the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno makes it just spicy enough to give the dressing a real kick (a bit of an after-burn, actually), but without setting your entire mouth on fire.  i like this dressing over a salad of spinach leaves, chunked avocado, kernels of sweet corn, thinly-sliced red onion, chunked (or grape) tomatoes, and some sliced jalapeno-fried chicken fingers!

speaking of those, here is a picture of the finished product:

enjoy!


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32 responses

21 04 2010
sheri

Haha! Stuck with a truckload of jalapenos…
Well, you sure took what you got and made yummy bento stuff! I like the idea of jalapeno in the panko; how interesting. And the spicy tangy dressing sounds right up my alley too.
The pea rice and egg should bring a nice amount of calm to this h-h-hot bento. Cute and delish!

21 04 2010
gamene

thanks for your nice comment sheri! i like it hot (tee hee)!

21 04 2010
Laura @ PARING DOWN

OMG – I love anything with jalapenos; the photo of the jalapeno chicken had me at hello. And the dressing…YUM!!!

I’ve been so inspired checking out your bentos. I’m starting to make my very first this week.

Thanks for the great photos!!!

21 04 2010
gamene

thanks laura, i’m so happy to have inspired you! enjoy the recipe, and good luck with your first bento!!

21 04 2010
Susan Yuen

Awww, super cute bears and those jalapeno chicken fingers look delish!!!

21 04 2010
gamene

thanks susan! i knew i wanted to use the chicken and already had brown rice, so the bears were just a function of wanting to use something white (to stand out against the rice)… glad they came out well!

22 04 2010
Susan Yuen

BTW, I forgot to mention that those eggs are perfectly cooked! Awesome!

gamene: confession: took me two tries. i ate the mistake, though, haha!

21 04 2010
Lyndsey

Oh I hate when that happens! You sure made good looking jalapeno panko crusted chicken. Oh and a nice photo op with the jalapenos! :) Love the cute bears, and all the color!

21 04 2010
gamene

thanks lyndsey! yeah, i had soooo many peppers that i had some leftover for props, haha!

21 04 2010
Lia Chen

Cute and HOT bento!! Great dish to put in the bento … I will be waiting for another years to put spicy foods for my daughter. She is starting to eat spicy food now :)

21 04 2010
gamene

thank you lia! you are right, better to wait on this one, i wouldn’t want to burn your girl’s mouth! 0_o

22 04 2010
peteformation

Mmmm, I like the nice aroma of Jalapeno pepper with the crispy chicken!

22 04 2010
gamene

it’s a great combo! thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment pete! :-)

22 04 2010
tatabonita

I wish I had Doraemon’s magic door so that I come over to your place and ask you to share your abundant jalapeno hehehe. But I think it’s better if I come over when your fried chicken is ready to be “devastated” LOL. I’m a big fan of hot and spicy food *Indonesian hehe*, and your fried chicken is very tempting :D. And those cuties in your bento box… Adorable!!! :D

22 04 2010
gamene

aww tata *i* wish you lived close too, there are plenty of times i want to gobble up the tasty food i see on your blog, and it would be fun to bento together! oh well, almost as nice to look at each others pictures ;-)

22 04 2010
mils

You make everything look so easy and effortless! Love it how you make even two normal slices of egg look so cute

Salivating over the jalapeno fried chicken…how yummy is that?

22 04 2010
gamene

thanks mils! i was just telling susan, the HB egg actually took me two tries, the first time the peel wouldn’t come off properly and left the slices looking all mangled… so there *was* effort involved! but sweet of you to say that. and yes, the chicken was SUPER yummy… looking forward to round 2!

22 04 2010
Jenn

Wow what cute little egg faces! Lunch looks delicious!

22 04 2010
gamene

thanks jenn, i can’t wait to eat it!

22 04 2010
Lexi

I just love spicy food – I must try these recipes!

22 04 2010
gamene

yay lexi, hope you enjoy them! the chicken wasn’t too spicy – you could add more pepper for sure!

22 04 2010
KidsDreamWork

Yummy hot bento! Would love to try out the recipe (and I hope I don’t need too many tries to success), thanks for sharing!

23 04 2010
gamene

thanks kidsdreamwork! i’m sure you will get the recipe right on the first try, from your site i can tell you are good at making tasty creations!

23 04 2010
babykins

Oh mouth-watering!
I’ve never tried jalapenos. Am I able to breathe fire!? haha
I like panko fried chicken so much but didn’t come up with any recipes of jalapeno with it. Your recipes are SO appetizing!

23 04 2010
gamene

thanks babykins! they’re not too hot with the seeds taken out, but be careful not to rub your eyes after touching them (it’s the oil that’s will REALLY burn you!). hope you try it and enjoy it :-)

23 04 2010
Bentobird/Jenn

I agree with babykins–your recipes leap off the screen with multi-layered flavor as well as beauty, and this one is an absolute winner!

23 04 2010
gamene

thanks jenn – have a great weekend!

26 04 2010
Ingrid

The chicken looks delicious but I fear the jalapeño is too hot for my palate. I’ve never been a fan of heat anyway. Otherwise the bento looks adorable with the egg bears. You are an unfailing source of cute ideas :-)

26 04 2010
gamene

thanks ingrid! you can easily omit the jalapeno from the recipe, and substitute with herbs or spices of your choice :-)

28 04 2010
Jalapeno-Fried Chicken Bento – Bento Central

[...] “beary” eggs, and get her recipe for yummy jalapeno-fried chicken fingers, all at bento zen! Share and [...]

10 12 2011
Jalapeno fried chicken bento | The-Foodrecipes

[...] jalapeno fried-chicken bento Peak year gamen gamen get the recipe for fried chicken fingers-japapeno (pictured on the back of this bento box left) http://bentozen.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/jalapeno-fried-chicken to Zen Bento [...]

3 05 2012
Nicola

made your jalepeno chicken this evening it was so yummy I used gluten free breadcrumbs. Everybody loved it. Thank you Nicola from Dublin Ireland

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