I am absolutely fascinated with flavor mash-ups and have been as long as I can remember! Don’t let the name of this dish…or the cereal involved… scare you away.
Back in high school, I went to Planet Hollywood and discovered Cap’n Crunch chicken. These golden brown chicken fingers were a sugar-craving kid’s dream, especially a kid who wasn’t allowed to eat sugary cereals. My mom made certain not to feed us anything with artificial flavors or preservatives…she went as far as to give my brother and I prune Juice, telling us it was Coke. For the longest time, we were averse to sodas, but we were always regular…sorry. Back to the chicken: the salty sweet poultry fantasy was good, and I was hell-bent on perfecting this recipe. Being a novice fryer, I had smoked out my mother’s kitchen on more than one occasion. With that, my mom wouldn’t dare let my use her food processor, so I made my cereal fry batter using a potato masher. The coating would often burn fast and fall away into the oil, while the meat on the inside was mostly raw. Due to the countless pounds of the ingredients I wasted, my kitchen experimentation privileges were revoked after a few noble-but-failed attempts at mastering Cap’n Crunch chicken.
A few years later, my college roommate and I were doing our grocery shopping when suddenly, I remembered the pollo my heart had forgotten all about. With a new fire lit in my belly, I flew down the aisles collecting in bulk the things I thought I would need to prepare the feast o’ sweet poultry. The early batches were rudimentary, but I kept at it like the little cooker that could. Honey, my chicken went from “so-so” to dripping swagu. Try it for yourself!
Cap’n Crunch Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 ½ cup flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3 cups Cap’n Crunch Cereal, coarsely ground into breadcrumbs. NOTE: To yield 2 cups, you’ll probably need to use about 6 cups of the cereal and grind it up in a food processor. Do not over grind your cereal. You don’t want it to be the consistency of cornmeal or flour. It will be useless to you if you do.
- 1-2 cups Panko bread crumbs (the more you use, the less sweet the chicken will be)
- 2 tablespoons Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Using a chef’s knife, slice through the thickest part of each chicken breast to create two thin cutlets.
- Using a kitchen mallet, pound each cutlet as flat as possible without turning them into mush.
- Slice each cutlet into thin strips.
- Prep your batter station. I like using three shallow bowls for mine. If you have more than one pie plate, that can work as well. In one bowl, mix together your flour and Tony Chachere’s. Your beaten eggs go in your next bowl and the ground cereal and panko go in the last bowl.
- Allow your frying pan to heat up before adding the oil. Prepare a cooling rack by placing it over 2-3 paper napkins.
- Dip a few of the strips in your flour mixture, then into the egg. Allow the excess to drip off before dipping it into the cereal panko mixture. Once the chicken pieces are coated, they are ready to go into the oil. Make sure your oil is the right temperature before placing the chicken pan.
- Fry tenders until golden brown and place on rack to cool.