I’ve been promising this one for awhile. And it’s the perfect time for it too. Coconut shrimp is going to make its debut today! I’m pairing it with a slightly spicy chilled pineapple sauce just because. Think of the flavors of Piña Colada in food form and you’re right on track.
I see these all the time at restaurants here in Florida but never get them because one, there’s too little servings of shrimp vs the cost and vs my hungry stomach and two, why buy them when I can make them at home
That’s kinda my running philosophy that determines what I order when I eat out. Sure I have my favorites at my favorite restaurants but for the most part if I can cook it, I won’t order it. And since I’ve started this food blog, the selection of food to choose from is shrinking more and more.
On the positive side, I save money. On the but-I-want-to-spoil-myself-and-eat-outside side, it sucks! Let’s order some green curry chicken, wait…why pay 8 bucks for it when I can make it at home? How about Panang chicken curry….gah, spaghetti and meatballs? Nooooo. Curse me and my miserly cheffy self!
I do make exceptions though and just because the cuisine deserves it. I can cook butter chicken, palak paneer and cucumber raita buuuut I conveniently forget this when we go to Indian restaurants and order exactly that, and wait for them to come in their cute little hammered copper dishes. Because it is worth it. I have a huge crush on Indian cuisine. And if you’re not seeing a lot of it here, it’s because I’m taking my time and I wanna get it right.
Back to the recipe though, today we will forget about Indian food and focus instead on this shrimp. These coconut shrimpies are made crispy for you exclusively by panko breadcrumbs and sweetened coconut flakes. Did I do the sponsored announcer voice right? It sounded right in my head.
Speaking of all things coconut-y, about last month or so the folks over at Cocozia were great enough to give me some samples of their organic coconut water and asked for a review and honest opinion (beyond getting those free samples, I’m not getting compensated for this!). My verdict: it was kinda like coconut water from young, green coconuts I grew up around drinking, if you’ve ever had those. I had great fun with their extendable straws (first time coming across these). So you can pretend to play trombone while drinking coconut water. Am I weird? Anyway, good stuff!
Let’s move on to the breading: three breading stations needed, as usual. Flour dusting is station number one, egg dipping is station number two and coconut and panko deliciousness is station number three. Ready? Set…go! On a side note, this is much, much easier to bread because of the shrimpy tail handle thingies. Your fingers don’t wind up as a clump magnet where you end up breading them more than the food. So rest easy knowing you can swish that shrimp in the egg and not get messy!
Also, you’ll want to shake off any excess flour before dipping into the egg and likewise, let the egg drip off fully before rolling it in the coconut mixture. I like to use a spoon to heap on flour in the first stage so I don’t get my fingers messy. As for the cooking, one thing I will have to point out here is shrimp cooks fast. Panko and coconut burns even faster. So don’t blast your kitchen with super high heat and wonder why you have blackened charcoal shrimp. Heat up the oil nice and slow and wait for it to be ready. If you’re wondering what ready is, ready is when you dip a shrimp end in it and the oil gets all excited. If the oil sits there and doesn’t even acknowledge your shrimp, it’s not ready.
Then watch the shrimp cook, it shouldn’t take too long. Once my oil was nice and hot, it took 30 seconds per side. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you’ll need to do both sides. I pan fried this and flipped sides. Once the coconut and panko turns a nice light brown, it is done. Once it starts turning a dark orange brown, is it a little overdone. You don’t want it to look like someone with a bad sun tan. I don’t need to tell you what it looks like when it’s gone way past the overdone stage.
If oil makes your arteries scream for mercy, you can probably bake these too. Just like I had success baking my tuna and cheese croquettes, these are bake-friendly as well. I did the croquettes with cornflakes breadcrumbs on 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. I suggest 450 degrees F for about 5-10 minutes, check to see how long it takes to get a light golden brown. If you do bake it, let me know what settings you used!
And now it’s time to eat. I spent about an hour taking pics of these. By the time I was ready to eat, it had cooled down but was still crispy. Oh and that pineapple sauce. Just a little bit of heat to it and with it being chilled and all, it was great! The first thing I thought when I took my first bite was ‘How do I tell them how awesome this is without using hyperboles?’. Well, I hope I just did.
- 12 oz. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, with juice
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne
- Blend all the ingredients for the sauce together and chill for 30 minutes
- Pat the shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper
- Combine the panko with coconut flakes and mix well
- Dust the shrimp in the flour, dip it in the egg and coat fully and then coat with coconut mixture
- Repeat with remaining shrimp
- Over medium heat, heat up oil until hot and fry the shrimp in batches until light golden brown
- Drain on paper towels
- Let it rest for 10 minutes then dish and serve with chilled pineapple sauce