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Thai Coconut Shrimp

Thai Coconut Shrimp

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Serves 4 to 6.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from recipe in a restaurant trade journal.

This shrimp recipe is relatively easy to make. Finding all the ingredients might be a challenge. Thankfully, I live within walking or biking distance of an Asian market.


For the Coconut Batter:
¼ cup (1¼ ounces/35g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (85g) sweet rice flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon sugar
¾ cup (177ml) cold water
¼ cup canned coconut milk
½ whole egg*
For the Seasoned Flour:
1 cup (5 ounces/142g) all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne (½ teaspoon is okay)
½ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Five-Spice Coconut Mix:
1½ cups (7½ ounces/213g) dried unsweetened grated coconut
2 teaspoons ground five-spice powder
½ teaspoon salt
For the Shrimp:
2 pounds (900g) shrimp, deveined and shelled, leaving the tail and first segment shell in place
½ teaspoon salt
About 2 quarts (1.9 liters) oil for deep frying, such as corn oil or peanut oil
For the Dipping Sauce:
About 1 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (or enough for all guests dining)


To make the coconut batter: Combine the flour, rice flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the water and the coconut milk and mix well. Add the egg and blend. Cover and set aside.

Prepare the seasoned flour by combining the flour, salt, cayenne, garlic powder, and white pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.

To prepare the five-spice coconut mix: Combine the coconut, five-spice powder, and salt in a large bowl, breaking up any lumps in the coconut with a whisk. Set aside.

Start heating the frying oil to 375°F (191°C) in a deep large pot.

Devein the shrimp, if necessary, by cutting down the center back and looking for a dark vein (actually, the shrimp’s intestine). Remove and discard. Remove the shell up to the final segment nearest the tail. The tail and last segment shell will act as a “handle” when dipping the cooked shrimp in the chili sauce.

Dredge each shrimp in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. Dip the shrimp into the coconut batter to coat, shaking off the excess. Then dredge the shrimp in the five-spice coconut mix. Carefully lower into the hot oil and cook, 6 or 7 at time, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a wire strainer or spider to transfer the cooked shrimp to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt.

Serve with the Thai sweet chili sauce distributed among individual dipping bowls for each dinner guest.

*The original recipe, from a restaurant trade journal, was written to serve many people, like 40. When I portioned the ingredients down to feed 6 to 8, the egg came to ½ egg. You can probably use a whole egg in this batter, or use just the white or yolk.