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Sweet and Spicy Fried Chicken Tenders with Sesame Dipping Sauce

Photo: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Blakeslee Giles, Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Hands On time 30 mins
Total time 8 hrs, 30 mins

Serves 3 (serving size: about 2 tenders, 2 1/2 tbsp sauce) 

This sweet and spicy Asian-inspired fried chicken is insanely good and pairs perfectly with a rich and velvety dipping sauce that is full of fresh herb flavors. You can use one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk for both steps in this recipe to create a sweet, rich, and savory dish your whole family will love. If you want to make your recipe spicier, just add a bit more Sriracha to the dipping sauce to bring up the heat. 


  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon refrigerated lemongrass paste (from tube)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound chicken tenders (about 6 tenders)
  • 4 cups canola oil
  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoons fresh Thai basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon refrigerated lemongrass paste (from tube)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled fresh ginger

How to Make It

  1. Prepare the Marinade: Stir together all Marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.

  2. Prepare the Chicken Tenders: Add chicken tenders to bowl with marinade; cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.

  3. Heat oil to 330°F in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade.

  4. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Place coated chicken in hot oil; fry until coating is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°F. Drain chicken on paper towels; cover to keep warm.

  5. Prepare the Dipping sauce: Stir together all Dipping Sauce ingredients. Serve immediately with warm chicken tenders. (If not serving immediately, stir in scallions, cilantro, and basil just before serving.)