Those who are close to me know that I am no fan of coconut, however I do like fried coconut shrimp. It’s a weird thing, I know, most people love coconut but it’s never been my thing. I think one reason why I like this coconut shrimp is that the coconut is fried and has a toasted flavor. I also like the crunchy texture versus fresh coconut which reminds me of eating sweet grass. My whole family loves coconut shrimp plus they’re quick and easy to make. I found endless recipes for Red Lobster’s coconut shrimp which taste pretty darn close to the original. Most people deep fry their shrimp, however I pan fried them which worked just as well and made for a much easier clean-up.
To get started pat dry the shrimp with a paper towel to soak up any excess liquids. Butterfly the shrimp by slicing down the middle just deep enough to spread the shrimp apart. Set up 3 bowls with which to prepare the shrimp for frying. The first bowl holds the flour in which to dredge the shrimp
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat with about 1/2 inch of vegetable or canola oil. Test the oil with the handle of a wooden spoon. If it bubbles around the handle that means the oil is hot enough to fry. Fry the shrimp until browned on the bottom, approximately 1 – 2 minutes. Turn them over to fry an additional minute or so until they are golden brown.
Shrimp, adapted from Genius Kitchen
24 large Shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
1 1/2 cups Flour, divided
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Whole Milk
2 tablespoons Rum (I used Jamaican rum)
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup Flaked Coconut
Vegetable or Canola oil for frying
Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce, adapted from Averie Cooks
1/2 cup Orange Marmalade
1/3 cup Thai Chili Sauce
Pinch of Salt, to taste
Pinch of Cayenne, to taste
To make Spicy Orange Dipping sauce: Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate.
To make shrimp: Measure 3/4 cup of flour into a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup of flour with sugar and salt. Stir the milk and rum into the flour mixture until it forms a batter. Combine the panko bread crumbs and flaked coconut in a third bowl.
Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel to absorb any excess liquid. Slice through the top of each shrimp so that you can spread the shrimp open (butterflied). Dredge each shrimp first in the flour, then dip in the batter and finally coat with the panko/coconut mixture. Arrange the shrimp on a plate until all the shrimp have been battered and coated.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat with 1/2 inch of vegetable or canola oil. Test the oil with the handle of a wooden spoon. When it bubbles around the handle, the oil is hot enough to fry. Place enough shrimp to fill the skillet single file. Let fry 1 – 2 minutes or until the bottom is fried golden brown. Turn shrimp to cook an additional minute on the other side. Remove to a warming platter lined with a paper towel. You may need to cook in batches. If so, make sure to add enough oil to make 1/2 inch and heat oil before frying.
Makes 4 servings