Coconut Shrimp with Easy Peanut Sauce

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Coconut Shrimp

When I was a teenager in San Francisco, a sophisticated date meant a trip to the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel. They specialized in "Polynesian" pu-pu platters, and coconut shrimp was a favorite. I still make it as a special treat, but in a less-sweet contemporary version served with a Thai-inspired peanut sauce dip.


Easy Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade,
   or use low-sodium canned broth
1/4 cup unsalted peanut butter
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

Coconut Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons Madras-style curry powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1-1/4 cups flat lager beer
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
   (available at natural food stores)
1 pound extra-large to large shrimp,
   peeled with the tail segment left on and deveined
Vegetable shortening, for deep-frying


To make the sauce:
Whisk all of the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. (The sauce can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead, covered, and kept at room temperature. If the sauce thickens upon standing, thin to a thick dipping consistency with broth or water.)

To make the batter:
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, curry powder, salt, and cayenne to mix. Add the beer and eggs and stir with a spoon just until combined (do not overmix). Fold in 1/2 cup of the coconut. Place the remaining coconut on a plate.


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Place a wire cake rack over a jelly-roll pan.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt enough vegetable shortening over medium-high heat to come 3 inches up the sides of the pan and heat to 360 degrees F. Working in batches, dip the shrimps, one at a time, in the batter; then roll them in the coconut. Deep-fry until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted skimmer, transfer the shrimps to the wire rack and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining shrimps, batter; and coconut, allowing the shortening to return to 360 degrees F. before frying each batch. Serve immediately, with the peanut sauce for dipping.


Simply Shrimp:
101 Recipes for Everybody's Favorite Seafood

By Rick Rodgers
Chronicle Books
Paperback, $17.95
ISBN: 0-8118-1967-1
Recipe Reprinted by permission.


Simply Shrimp:
101 Recipes for Everybody's Favorite Seafood



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