Ryan has been an online writer for over a decade and loves to share and educate.
I'm a sucker for seafood and my guiltiest pleasure is some good ol' shrimp. I go for just about any dish involving this crustacean but the ones I love the most are those with fried shrimp. My favorite one of them all is Coconut shrimp.
If you're unfamiliar with it, this dish is pretty much some breaded shrimp with coconut included. While many would consider Coconut Shrimp as just an appetizer, the recipe has become quite popular enough to be even used as part of the main dish. As such, it can be served with rice/fries/pasta and greens.
Also, because it's fast and simple to make, it's a good way to break in trainee chefs with little hassle while on the job. I know, I was also one. In fact, a recipe like this will only take at least 30 minutes to complete. So if you're also a fan of shrimp, give this one a go.
What you'll need
- Big shrimp - Jumbo or extra-large (at least a pound).
- Salt and Pepper - For seasoning the shrimp.
- Flour - Regular or plain flour (all-purpose).
- Garlic powder - For flavoring the flour. It goes great with the shrimp.
- Eggs - At least two and preferably large. These will help the shredded coconut stick to the shrimp.
- Panko bread crumbs - Must be combined with coconut. Do not substitute with regular bread crumbs.
- Shredded coconut - Preferably finely shredded, though regular will do as well. Can be either sweetened or unsweetened.
- Parsely/Red pepper flakes - These are for garnishing the finished shrimp. Using both will add plenty of colors.
Picking the shrimp
Most recipes involving shrimp tend to prioritize the big ones and this one is no exception. You can choose either jumbo or extra-large shrimp--each at a pound which is required for this recipe.
For a pound of jumbo shrimp, you're looking at a yield of up to 25 while extra-large shrimp can yield up to 30. For serving per plate, that's 4 shrimp and 5 shrimp respectively. Also, you can save some prep time by focusing on brands that offer shrimp already peeled and deveined shrimp.
Picking the coconut
For the coconut, is best to use finely shredded coconut. You could prepare it yourself for a fresher taste and that would be preferred. But you could also just settle for the type you buy at the store. Remember, it has to be "finely shredded." Optionally, it can be sweetened coconut if you prefer but it doesn't have to be.
Picking the oil
For the oil, most recipes out there tend to use canola oil or just vegetable oil. Either is fine but if you want to nail that coconut flavor, you can use coconut oil. This is preferred for this recipe, though the other two choices are fine if you can't scare up any at your local store.
Preparing and frying the shrimp
Separate the ingredients among bowls: one for the shrimp and seasoning; another for the flour and garlic powder; another for the eggs; and one more for the shredded coconut and panko bread crumbs.
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and let it sit in a bowl for several minutes. Combine the flour and garlic powder in their respected bowl. Add the eggs to another bowl. And combine the panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut in another bowl. Dip the seasoned shrimp in the flour, followed with the eggs, and finally the panko/coconut, making sure they're covered completely in each.
When I said the shrimp only needs a couple of minutes of frying in the oil, I meant it. Normally, shrimp doesn't require extensive or even moderate time over the stove. In fact, it's too delicate for that; it'll immediately change color under that duration, indicating its doneness. As such, shrimp are among the easiest seafood dishes to prepare.
Whatever oil you choose for the recipe, just use enough to cover the shrimp when frying. This can be somewhere between 2cm to 3cm in a skillet or a pan. Don't worry if you can't tell if the shrimp is cooked visually from the change of its color. The coating will. Just check for when it starts to turn golden and don't forget the timing.
Yes, you can freeze the shrimp that aren't be used on the same day. They can be stored this way for up to two months which is neat. Also, freezing them can be beneficial as it ensures the shrimp don't overcook in the oil. They will have to fry a little longer but it's easy to tell with the color change as previously noted.
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Serves 6 people, 4 pieces of shrimp
- 1 pound jumbo or extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teapsoon garlic powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, no substitutes
- 4 cups coconut oil, canola oil or vegetable oil
- Parsley flakes or red pepper flakes, for garnishing
- Place some of the shrimp on a cutting board. Season each shrimp on each side with salt and pepper. Gently, rub them across the board to absorb any of the seasonings that fall off. Do the same with the rest of the shrimp in batches. Place in a bowl and set aside for 5-7 minutes.
- Fill a deep saute pan or pot up to 3 cm with the oil and heat it up to 350°F over medium heat. Cover the surfaces of two large baking sheets or food baskets with two layers of kitchen tissues for the fried shrimp.
- Whisk the flour and garlic powder together in another bowl using a fork or whisk. Crack open the eggs in another bowl. Whisk the panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut in another.
- Dredge the shrimp in the flour/garlic mix, followed by the eggs and the coconut. Make sure to completely cover the shrimp in the coconut.
- Fry the shrimp in batches. Carefully lower 5 or 6 shrimp into the hot oil by the tails, letting go the moment the oil reaches close to the start of the tail. Fry on each side for 2 minutes or until they turn golden in color. Transfer to the sheets or baskets using tongs.
- Transfer the shrimp to each plate in batches similar in amount to frying. Garnish them with parsley and/red pepper flakes, then serve them with a dipping sauce of choice.
© 2021 Ryan Fanus