Since starting back to work in the restaurant business, I’ve fallen prey to bad eating habits and a much more Buddha-like belly. In response, I am taking on the challenge of finding healthier fare. Coconut shrimp is one of the most enjoyable and easily approachable dishes, filled with sweetness and many necessary proteins.
Shrimp is low in saturated fat and doesn’t contain trans-fats unless it’s been cooked in a way that adds them. Shrimp is low in calories, protein-rich, and provides key nutrients such as selenium, Vitamin B12, phosphorous, choline, copper, and iodine.
The size of the shrimp is somewhat important. I like them medium-size, but it is really a matter of taste. Just be sure to start with uncooked shrimp.
The coconut can be of any variety—high-end and pricey, or low-end and affordable. I choose the affordable version, but, either way, try to find the flakiest coconut available.
Peanut oil is the essential secret. It’s light, flavorful, low in saturated fats, and contains omega 6, making it one of the healthiest cooking oils around.
Annie’s Coconut Shrimp
-½ c. flour + ¼ c. flour
-2/3 c. beer
-1½ tsp. baking powder
-2 c. coconut flakes
-24 shrimp, uncooked
-3 c. peanut oil
Tom’s Thai Marmalade Dipping Sauce
- 1/3 c. marmalade
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced and sautéed
- ¼ c. Thai chili sauce
-Pinch of red pepper flakes
Boil the shrimp in a large saucepan in slightly salted water until the shrimp are pink and opaque.
In a medium bowl, combine ½ c. flour, beer, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Place ¼ cup flour in a third bowl, and the coconut flakes in a fourth bowl. Dip each shrimp first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the flour, and then roll it in the coconut. Chill for 30 minutes.
Heat the peanut oil in a skillet that allows for a good inch of oil on the bottom, preferably a flat bottom sauté pan. Place the shrimp in the pan and cook for three minutes on each side, until golden brown.
Blend the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl (glass or stainless works best) and that’s all there is to it. The flavor really pops out if you take the time to sauté the garlic until translucent (about five minutes), and then mix it in with the other ingredients.
It’s healthy to a fault, fun to make, and a joy to devour with friends and family and a nice bottle of Verdejo wine.