Fried Coconut Shrimp with Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce

As promised, my thoughts have turned to spring this week.   I’m particularly excited for outdoor entertaining.  Now, before the heat and bugs of summer, is the perfect time to roll out the grill and invite some friends over for dinner under the stars.

This recipe for fried coconut shrimp with sweet and spicy dipping sauce is an ideal first bite for such an evening.  Our gas grill has a side burner on it that is great for warming sauces.  It’s also my preferred place to fry as oil splattering around our back patio does not cause the same dismay as it does in our house.

With that being said, don’t fret  if you don’t have a grill with a burner.  Pan-frying uses far less oil and is much easier to clean-up than deep-frying making it ideal for home cooks.  If pan-frying inside, you might enjoy a tip I learned from Nathalie Dupree when I apprenticed with her several years ago.  She likes to cover the surface around the frying pan with aluminum foil.   If the oil splatters, it lands on the aluminum foil.  After cooking, simply remove the aluminum foil and recycle it for an easy clean-up

While I don’t have a solution for how quickly these shrimp will be gobbled up, I do have good news for the hectic host or hostess.  Dredging the shrimp in cornstarch instead of flour and then dipping it in egg white make for a fried shrimp that will stay crispy longer.  You won’t be able to prepare these hours in advance, but you can do them 20-30 minutes before your guests arrive and they will still be delightfully good.   How’s that for relaxing, but still delicious, entertaining?  Happy cooking!

Check out the demonstration of this recipe on WCNC’s Charlotte Today show by clicking here.

Fried Coconut Shrimp with Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4 as an appetizer

For the sauce:
1/3 cup water plus 2 tablespoons
¼ cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 small hot red chili or ½ jalapeno, seeded and chopped
½ tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sriracha (“rooster sauce”)
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the shrimp:
1 lb (31-40 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup cornstarch
Salt, to taste
1-2 cups canola oil, for frying

To make the sauce, bring the 1/3 cup water, rice vinegar, and granulated sugar to a boil in small saucepan.   Stir in the hot red chili, ginger, garlic and sriracha.   In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining 2 tablespoons of water until well-combined.  Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the simmering liquid and cook for about 1 minute or until the sauce thickens.  Remove the sauce from the heat and pour into a small bowl.  Set aside.

Place the egg whites in a small bowl and place the coconut flakes and cornstarch on two small plates.  Season the cornstarch to taste with salt.  Working with one shrimp at a time, hold the shrimp by its tail and dredge it in the cornstarch mixture.  Shake the shrimp gently to knock off any excess cornstarch and then dip the shrimp into the egg whites.   Shake off any excess egg white and dredge the shrimp in the unsweetened coconut flakes.  Set aside and repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Fill a high-sided frying pan with about 1/4-inch of oil (enough to come halfway up the sides of the shrimp).  Heat the oil over medium-high heat.   Working in batches, add the shrimp to the hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Remove the shrimp from the oil and drain on a paper towel.  Repeat until all the shrimp have been fried.  Serve the shrimp with the sweet and spicy dipping sauce

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