Crispy coconut shrimp is one of my favorite appetizers to order when I eat out! Even if you are not a big fan of coconut, I think you will like this!
I am not a huge fan of coconut myself, but I think cooking with it is a totally different ball park. I LOVE curry that has coconut milk in it and I think these fried coconut shrimpies are soooooo yummy!
I paired these with some sweet chili sauce, rice, and cabbage to make it a full meal for dinner. The cabbage just has a 50/50 mix of ketchup and mayo on top. I know that sounds a little weird but I always end up reaching for more! Such a great addition for texture and balancing out the fried shrimp. My husband really loves to pair all of this with some kimchi as well.
I butterflied the shrimp for this recipe, but you don’t have to. This is how it is normally done at the restaurants- I think it looks and tastes better this way. More surface area for that yummy coconut crispiness and for some reason it seems like you get more!
Jumbo Shrimp- you will need 16/20 size shrimp for this recipe. 16/20 means that there are 16 to 20 pieces of shrimp per pound. I do not recommend using anything smaller than that- this size is perfect for butterflying, frying, and staying plump and juicy. Also, keep the tails on! They are edible and actually kind of my favorite part. The tails have soooo much flavor!
Seasoning– use your favorite seasoning salt. I used a Mexican seasoning salt that is specifically for shrimp- it’s called Chef Merito. A good alternative for this is Lawry’s or Old Bay.
Wet batter- the wet batter for this will be AP flour, corn starch, baking powder, salt, and cold club soda.
Dry batter- panko and shredded coconut. I like to use sweetened coconut. If you want a cleaner presentation, blend the shredded coconut a bit finer by pulsing a few times. I don’t really mind the visibility of the coconut pieces so I don’t do this, but if you want them to look really nice then take the extra step.
Oil for frying– any deep frying oil is fine. I’ve had the best results with grapeseed oil. Because we are using sweetened coconut, you have to fry these at a lower temp than usual. If you fry them too high, the sugar in the shredded coconut will burn quickly. Not only will it look ugly, it will taste bad!
Sweet Chili Sauce
Use whatever sauce you like! I really wanted to pair this with the Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce, but I ran out and could not find any on this particular day. Instead, I mixed my favorite chili oil with some Kikkoman Sweet & Sour sauce and thinned it out with a little water. It was REALLY good!
I think this would even be great with some tartar or katsu sauce as well.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp
- 1/2 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled with tails on 16/20
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/4 cup AP flour for coating shrimp
- grapeseed oil for frying or any neutral oil
- 1/3 cup AP flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup cold club soda
- 1 cup panko
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut sweetened
Sweet Chili Sauce
- 3 tbsp Kikkoman Sweet & Sour Sauce
- 2 tsp Zindrew's Chili Oil
- 1 tbsp water
- shredded cabbage
- ketchup/mayo mix for cabbage
- On the bottom side of the shrimp, make two cuts near the top to straighten it out. This will keep the shrimp from curling too much when it is cooked.
- Turn the shrimp over and make an incision from the head to the tail, about 3/4 of the way through. This is also where you will devein the shrimp- remove the poopy stuff if any.
- Use your knife and hands to flatten the shrimp, then season with your seasoning salt. Store in the refrigerator for now.
- Get three bowls: in the first one, put about 1/4 cup of AP flour. In the second one, mix together the panko and shredded coconut (dry batter).Note: if you want a cleaner presentation, pulse the shredded coconut a few times in a blender first.
- In the third bowl, mix together 1/3 cup AP flour, 1/4 cup corn starch, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, and about 1/2 cup of cold club soda (wet batter). You may need more or less club soda- look for the consistency shown in the picture below. It should be a little thinner than pancake batter.
- First coat the shrimp in AP flour to make the wet batter stick. Then dip in the wet batter and shake off the excess. Then dip into the dry batter and press firmly until it is nicely coated. Note: I recommend coating ALL the shrimp first, at one time. If you try to do it as you go while frying, you will most likely burn the shrimp because you can't work fast enough.
- Pour enough oil into a pan to shallow fry the shrimp. Bring it to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You don't want the oil to be too hot or the coconut will burn.
- Fry in batches for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Remove from oil and dry on a wire rack.
- Remove all the leftover fried bits at the bottom of the pan, then continue frying the remaining shrimps.
- Serve as an appetizer with sweet chili sauce or as a meal with some rice, cabbage, and kimchi.