Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Coconut Fried Shrimp

Coconut fried shrimp.
It's just about my favorite thing.  Ever.
And it's one of those "recipes" that I don't even think about when I'm making.
You know how it is.  You do it until it "looks right."

But for you, I actually kinda sorta measured for the batter.
I use a beer batter, dip the shrimp in the batter, then dredge the shrimp through a mixture of coconut and panko breadcrumbs.
I use peanut oil and deep fry the shrimp in a large pot.  The pot is 8 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep and I use 2 - 2 1/2 inches of oil.  Heat to 350° - 375° and fry 4 shrimp at a time so as not to crowd the pan and lower the temperature of the oil.  Fry for one minute (golden brown) then remove the shrimp and drain on a rack.

Use JUMBO shrimp!  You want the shrimp to be able to stand up to the batter so you need large shrimp.  The bigger the better.

And I always have multiple dipping sauces on hand.   Which vary every time I fry.  Just depends on my mood(s).

Prepare the shrimp:
Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails on which makes for easy handling and dipping and dredging.
De-tract the shrimp.  I don't say de-vein.  That black thing going down the back of the shrimp is the digestive tract, not a vein.  Remove it.

Coconut/Panko mixture:
2 parts sweetened coconut flakes
1 part panko breadcrumbs
Mix well.

Beer Batter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn starch
1 tsp kosher salt
a few shakes of Lawry's pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
beer - about 3/4 cup

Whisk together dry ingredients, then whisk in beaten egg and enough beer until it looks right.  The batter should be like a pancake batter.

Dip shrimp into batter, letting any excess drip off, then dredge through coconut/panko mixture.
I usually put the coconut mixture in a container, add the shrimp, and shakeshakeshake.

For the oil, I use peanut oil.  It has a high smoke point and a neutral taste.
Again, heat the oil to about 375°.  Go ahead an invest in a inexpensive instant-read laser thermometer to take the guesswork out of frying.  Frying at high temperatures cooks the outside of the food quickly and the moisture from the shrimp repels oil, preventing grease from penetrating the food.  Frying at lower temperatures allows the oil to seep into the shrimp, resulting in a greasy mess.

For the step-by-steps:
Peeled shrimp at the top, ready to dip into the beer batter, then dredge through the coconut mixture.

Be sure your oil is the proper temperature.
I gently drop each shrimp in one at a time not crowding the pan.  Too many shrimp at one time lower the temperature of the oil and you'll get greasy shrimp, not crisp shrimp.

One minute is all it takes.
Please don't overcook your shrimp.

Drain on a rack.  Or on paper towels, but not for too long.  Paper towels will absorb some of the oil, but don't leave fried food on the towels.  Paper towels will trap steam, causing the food to get soggy.
A rack allows the oil to drip off and the steam to escape.

Leaving the tails on gives you a handy little handle for picking and dipping the shrimp.

I have two dipping sauces for my shrimp today.

Dipping Sauce #1
1 inch knob of fresh ginger
1 garlic clove
2 TB Tamari
1 TB sriracha sauce
1 TB rice vinegar
1 TB mirin

Cut the woody surface off the ginger, slice it into smaller pieces, and run it through a garlic press, using all the juice.  Scrape off the first pressings of the pulp and use that.  I discard the drier pulp.
Run the garlic clove through the press as well.
Then mix everything together.

Now, if you want to give this sauce some more "oomph,"  add in a teaspoon of sesame oil, sprinkle in some toasted sesame seeds, and throw in some sliced scallions and you're good to go.

 There're just so many variations on this theme, I'll leave it up to you to put your own spin on this.

Are you wondering what the difference between Tamari and soy is?  Well, I'll tell you.  Both are byproducts of fermented soybeans and soy sauce contains wheat while Tamari sauce doesn't or has very little wheat. Soy sauce, a Chinese product, is pressed from a mixture of soybeans, wheat, and other grains.  Tamari, a Japanese product is extracted from fermented miso paste (miso paste being a product of fermented soy beans).  Tamari is generally richer, thicker, and darker than regular soy sauce and tastes less salty but bolder and more umami-er.

Dipping Sauce #2
3 TB cider vinegar
2 TB brown sugar
1 TB honey
2 tsp orange marmalade
2 TB finely chopped cucumber
1 TB toasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Combine vinegar and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Sometimes I nuke this mixture to speed up the dissolving.
Mix in remaining ingredients.

And both these sauces would be excellent for shrimp spring rolls too.

A simple side of cole slaw is all you need for the fried shrimp.
I make a cole slaw dressing with mayo, cider vinegar, sugar, and a splash of buttermilk for a little extra tang.  Salt and pepper.  Sometimes a sprinkling of celery seeds.  My slaw mixture is shredded cabbage, julienned carrot, and minced red pepper.

I have two more dips here:

The orange is a combination of ...  oh... say 1/4 cup orange marmalade, a teaspoon each horseradish, Sriracha, and Gray Poupon Dijon mustard, and a tablespoon of chopped red onion.  Or thereabouts. 
I've given you the basics here.  Go ahead and play around with the flavors.

The creamy sauce is:
2 TB sour cream
2 TB mayonnaise
1 TB coarse grained mustard
1 TB lemon juice
2 TB chopped fresh dill


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