Chicken Strips with Ginger-Apricot Sauce

Jul 9, 2013


Thanks to Julienne Fine Foods and Celebrations in San Marino for this week’s contribution to “Mangiamo.”

This dish is a particular favorite of customers with young children, because kids and parents like it equally—and it works great for a picnic, too. Be sure to plan ahead, because the secret of the recipe is that the chicken marinates in the buttermilk mixture for at least 4 hours. If you don’t have chicken tenders, simply cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips.

Chicken Strips
Serves 6 to 8

1½ cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1½ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
24 chicken tenders (about 2½ pounds total)
4 cups corn oil
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Ginger-Apricot Sauce, warm (see following recipe)


Whisk the buttermilk, shallots, red pepper flakes, garlic, ½teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper in a large bowl to blend. Add the chicken tenders. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Heat the oil in  a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 400ºF. Meanwhile, mix the flour, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon of black pepper in another large bowl.

Remove 6 chicken tenders from the buttermilk mixture, then dip them, one at a time, into the flour mixture and turn to coat completely. Fry the coated chicken tenders until crisp and pale golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken tenders and place them on a baking rack set on a rimmed baking sheet; set aside to allow excess oil to drip  away from the chicken. Repeat coating and frying the remaining chicken tenders in 3 more batches. When all the chicken tenders are fried, bake them until they are no longer pink in the middle, about 10 minutes.

Serve with warm sauce.


Ginger-Apricot Sauce
Makes 4¾ cups
This sauce is terrific with lots of foods. We love it with dim sum! Note that all the alcohol burns off in the cooking, so the sauce is fine for children and nondrinkers.

2 cups apricot nectar
1½ cups dry white wine
1 cup dried apricots, quartered
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Asian chili garlic sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy large saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover saucepan, and simmer until the apricots are tender and the liquids reduce slightly, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree the sauce in a blender until smooth.

Plan Ahead: The sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Rewarm in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.


Julienne in San Marino is like a taste of heaven. Sitting inside or out feels like a time travel to Europe (quick trip) and the food from the restaurant or take out store is varied and known to create cravings.

This summer, Julienne offers picnics such as prix fixe dinners of chicken tenders, filet of beef, or grilled salmon cake($20-$28) to “per person” picnics ($20) and sandwiches in a box accompanied by a salad and a petite sweet ($12.95). Extras can be ordered on the side, as well as desserts such as coconut cake trifle and an assorted mini cookie tray .

Julienne’s is collaborating with Pasadena POPS at the Arboretum, so orders may be picked up on site for an extra charge ($5).

Twenty-four hours lead time is requested, though same day orders can be accommodated.

Peruse Julienne’s summer picnic menu here.

2649 Mission St., San Marino 91108
Place orders by calling 626.441.2499 or email

Chicken Tenders Picnic Dinner; photo courtesy of Julienne

Chicken Tenders Picnic Dinner; photo courtesy of Julienne





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