I am about to make coconut shrimp and so far, for the liquid I've seen ingredients call for beer, water, milk, (what about coconut milk?) and for the dry, use of cornstarch instead of flour (what about rice or potato flour). Why so many variations?... and how does it affect the taste and texture of the coconut.
What about the coconut itself? How large should the flakes be and is it better to use sweetened or unsweetened?
what about eggs? to use or not to use? I am searching for a batter which will create crisp golden brown shrimp.
Also is deep frying the best method to use?
I plan on taking these curled little delights and making a sandwich.. so any bread suggestions are also much appreciated
Please share with me your experiences.. I would appreciate learning from you all.
Thank you in advance :D
IMHO the best recipes don't use batter at all; they're all about the coconut and the shrimp. Batter is all well and good for fish 'n' chips or tempura, but it gets in the way with coconut shrimp. A thin coating of whipped egg white is all you need to get good coconut adhesion (although your coconut milk idea sounds interesting).
And speaking of coconut, if it's going to be a main player, you want the good stuff. Fresh-grated, not bagged.
As far as flour vs. cornstarch vs. rice flour, the first coat's job is to give the second (wet) coat a uniformly dry surface to adhere to. So long as you start with fairly dry shrimp, coat evenly with whatever powder you're using, and shake off the excess, any of the above will work fine.
Finally, cooking method. Deep-frying gives the best texture and flavor, and, if done right (never letting the temperature drop below about 300, draining well after cooking), adds very little oil to the food. The oven works, but it's never quite as good.
And even though you didn't ask--my favorite dipping sauce for coconut shrimp is Vietnamese peanut sauce (nuoc leo). Yum.
Not that anyone asked, but I make the best coconut shrimp- no frying involved!
I take medium-large sized cooked and deveined shrimp, and roll them - one at a time- into mayo that has been cut with fresh lemon juice, smashed garlic puree and salt and pepper. If there are no kids in the crowd- I add my Hatch chili powder!
Roll the gooey shrimp into toasted coconut and serve.
I get more positive results with this appetizer than I do for any other I shlepp out!
This is the original recipe I used (came from the RecipeSource website, copycat section):
1 cup flat beer
1 cup self-rising flour
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 jumbo shrimp
Vegetable oil for frying
For the batter: Use an electric mixer to combine the beer,
flour, 1/2 cup coconut flakes, sugar and salt in medium
bowl. Mix well, then cover and refrigerate for at least one
Prepare the shrimp by deveining and peeling off the shell
back to the tail. Leave the last segment of the shell plus
the tail as a handle.
When the batter is ready, preheat oil in a deep pot or deep
fryer to about 350 degrees. Use enough oil to cover the
shrimp completely. Pour the remainder of the coconut into a
Be sure the shrimp are dry before battering. Sprinkle each
shrimp lightly with paprika before the next step. Dip one
shrimp at a time into the batter, coating generously. Drop
the battered shrimp into the coconut and roll it around so
that it is well coated.Fry four shrimp at a time for 2 to 3
minutes or until the shrimp become golden brown. Flip the
shrimp halfway through.
And my modifications:
Self-rising flour changed for all purpose. Self rising made the batter too puffy for my taste, I prefer more shrimp less batter per bite.
Standard off the shelf sweetened fine-flake coconut was what I used.
Eliminated the sugar. The coconut was already sweetened. Additional sugar made it taste like candied shrimp. NOT what I was after.
I removed the tail and just did the shrimp meat.
The batter stuck to the shrimp just fine so I don't see the need for using eggs as a wash and the beer provides the leavening for the batter, makes it get puffy.
I think deep frying is a neccessity. It's a wet batter. Doing them in the oven would just make them soggy. The little buggers float in the oil allowing the batter to expand while they fry. It's a quick process, they don't absorb much oil and anything on the surface drains off when you place them on toweling.
These shrimp came out light and crispy for me. I don't think I'd want to cover up that crisp with a layer of bread.