Friday, May 4, 2012

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut shrimp is great as either an appetizer or as the protein for a meal. It's easy to make but looks impressive and it's rather inexpensive to make if you use frozen shrimp (which isn't a crime).

Ingredients [serves 4 for a meal, serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer]:
1 lb shrimp
1 egg
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons water
salt
flour
panko breadcrumbs
coconut flakes (sweetened)

**Like I said in yesterday's post, it's difficult to quantify the ingredients for breading. Just start with a bit of each element and if you need more along the way, use some more. I don't like to end up having to throw away a bunch of flour and breadcrumbs so I do start with a conservative amount of each ingredient.
Start by rinsing and cleaning the shrimp. I used frozen shrimp, which I defrosted in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes. The shrimp were all deveined but I like to make sure that it's really good and clean. Then, butterfly each shrimp. Just slice the shrimp down its back using a sharp knife but be careful not to just slice the whole thing in half. Like with the pounding of the donkatsu, the butterflying helps the shrimp cook faster without burning the breading. This is really important because the coconut can burn really fast.

Next, make the batter. Combine 1 egg, 1/3 cup flour, and 2 tablespoons of water, and a pinch of salt and whisk together to combine. The batter should have the consistency of thick pancake batter.
 Here's a shot of the before and after: a bunch of butterflied shrimp and a bunch of breaded shrimp.
To bread the shrimp, start by drying them off with a paper towel. If they're wet, it'll be harder to coat them in flour and they'll get gummy. Once they're dry, coat each shrimp in flour and then drop them in the batter. I used a fork to flip them around to make sure they were coated nicely in the batter. Make sure to shake off any excess before dropping them into the breadcrumb and coconut flake mixture. The panko and coconut mixture should have a 2:1 ratio - you want twice as many crumbs as coconut. I like to press each shrimp into the breadcrumb mixture to make sure it sticks well.
Then fry them up in a large frying pan with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. It should only take about two minutes per side to cook the shrimp and to crisp and brown the breading.
Drain on a paper towel before placing on a serving platter. Serve immediately while the breading is crisp and hot. Oh, and a little tip for serving sauce - you could make an aioli or serve with ketchup but I like Sriracha. The contrast of the spicy to the sweet coconut is really delicious.

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