Imagine biting into a succulent deep-fried shrimp covered in a light tempura-like batter flavored with the taste of coconut - scrumptious. This coconut shrimp recipe is fantastic to serve as an appetizer, tapas plate, or party food. Excellent eaten on its own or served with sweet chili sauce or a fresh mango dip.
- 10-12 large fresh or frozen shrimp (if frozen, thaw quickly in a bowl of tepid water)
- 1/2 cup regular white flour (OR for gluten-free diets: 1/4 cup rice flour + 1/4 cup cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup dry shredded unsweetened coconut (baking type)
- 1 cup coconut oil, or canola, corn, or other high-temperature oil for deep-frying
Remove shells from shrimp, but leave tails on for easier cooking and eating. Set aside.
Make the batter by first mixing the dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.
Crack the egg into the flour mixture, then add the water, stirring to break the yolk and form a fairly smooth batter (don't worry if there are a few small lumps).
Spread coconut over a plate or other dry surface, and set beside the bowl of batter.
Holding the shrimp by the tail, dip into the batter, then into the coconut. Place on a dry plate or a clean space of your counter near the stove. If you have a helper, you can batter and fry the shrimp in one step, which is much quicker.
Pour oil into a frying pan, ensuring it's at least 1 inch deep. Set over medium-high to high heat. When you see lines of heat snaking across the bottom of the pan, test the temperature by dropping a tiny bit of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and cooks, the oil is ready.
Drop as many battered shrimp into the frying pan as possible at one time. Reduce heat to medium. Tip: You'll want to cook the shrimp quickly, in just 1 or two batches (before any of the loosened shredded coconut has time to burn in the oil).
Cook about 20 seconds per side, then turn with tongs. Remove from the oil when shrimp turn a light to medium golden brown. Drain on a clean piece of parchment paper (I find parchment paper works the best, as it doesn't stick to or tear the batter).