Coconut Shrimp

I have eaten a lot of coconut shrimp in my day, and made quite a few batches myself. There is just something about these coconut shrimp that makes them a perpetual crowd pleaser. Put them out at any party, and watch them disappear! 

While we may not be having parties these days, this recipe is good enough to make in a small batch. For me personally, if you ask me why coconut fried shrimp is so good, I’d say you had me at fried shrimp. But I think it also has to do with the crispy, crunchy texture of the coating, that nutty, heavenly coconut aroma, and the interplay of sweet and savory flavors. 

Even Sarah & Kaitlin, who aren’t necessarily big shrimp lovers, gobbled these up when we blogged them.

The best part about these coconut shrimp is not just that they’re appetizing and impressive to guests, it’s that they’re easy to make––especially in large quantities.

What Dipping Sauce Goes Well with Coconut Shrimp?

Though coconut shrimp are great alone, a tangy, sweet dipping sauce with a hint of heat is the perfect match for this crispy shrimp hors d’oeuvre.

It’s no coincidence that in Chinese cuisine, fried foods are often served with tangy and sweet dipping sauces like duck sauce or plum sauce. The combination just works!  

Coconut Fried Shrimp, thewoksoflife.comCoconut Fried Shrimp,

Why Use a Batter for this Recipe?

We fry our coconut shrimp using a lightly seasoned batter. This batter keeps the shrimp tender and juicy, protected from the hot oil. It also helps the coconut flakes better adhere to the shrimp. 

Ok, let’s get to the recipe! 

Coconut Shrimp Recipe Instructions

Make the dipping sauce: 

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. 

I always suggest you taste it and adjust the seasoning to your own preferences. Add more chili flakes if you like an extra spicy kick. Add more honey if you like it sweet, or another few drops of vinegar if you like your dipping sauce on the tangy side. Feel free to make it your own! 

Butterfly the shrimp:

Butterfly the shrimp and pat them dry. I like to butterfly the shrimp from the back, so the coconut shrimp have a nice presentation with the tails up in the air.

Butterflying shrimp, thewoksoflife.comButterflying shrimp,

I also suggest scraping the excess liquid out of the tails, which makes the presentation look more attractive. The tails also fry up crispier and can be eaten like a potato chip! 

Scraping shrimp tail, thewoksoflife.comScraping shrimp tail,

For more detail on how to cut and butterfly shrimp, see our post on how to prepare shrimp. Scroll down to the butterflying section and look at “The Back Butterfly” method for more detail on how I prepped the shrimp for this recipe.

Butterflied shrimp, thewoksoflife.comButterflied shrimp,

Make the batter & dredge:

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir in the ice water to form a batter. 

Dip the shrimp in the batter and coat them up to but not including the tail shells. The small portion of shell/tail should be exposed to crisp up in the frying oil. 

Dipping shrimp in batter, thewoksoflife.comDipping shrimp in batter,

Dredge the battered shrimp in coconut flakes. Lightly press the coconut into the shrimp until well-coated. Shake off any excess. 

Dredging shrimp in coconut, thewoksoflife.comDredging shrimp in coconut,

Fry the shrimp: 

In a small pot, at least 3 inches deep, add enough oil to submerge the shrimp (2-3 inches of oil should do it). Heat to 325 degrees F, and use a candy thermometer to ensure the temperature remains consistent, adjusting your heat as necessary. 

Hold the shrimp by their tails and lower into the oil. Fry in small batches for about 2 minutes until golden brown. 

Use a slotted spoon to lift the shrimp out of the oil, and let the excess oil drip off before transferring to a rack or paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt if desired. 

Clean the oil between batches. Simply use a fine mesh strainer between batches to remove any coconut flakes or other particles from the oil and discard.

Serve immediately with the prepared dipping sauce!

Coconut Shrimp, thewoksoflife.comCoconut Shrimp,

Coconut Shrimp, thewoksoflife.comCoconut Shrimp,


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