COCONUT SHRIMP (for four)
4 cups (about 10 ounces) sweetened flaked coconut, coarsely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup beer (not dark)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 large egg
2 to 3 cups vegetable oil
2 pounds large shrimp in shells, peeled, tail and first segment of shell left intact, and deveined
tamarind mayonnaise to accompany
- Spread half the coconut in a shallow soup bowl or pie plate. Whisk together the flour, beer, baking soda, salt, cayenne and egg in a small bowl until smooth.
- Heat oil in a deep heavy skillet (2 cups of oil for a 10 inch skillet, 3 cups for a 12 inch skillet — DO NOT increase the amount of oil. Hot oil will bubble up, sometimes dramatically, when the shrimp are dropped in. If it overflows the skillet and makes contact with the flame below, your kitchen will be on fire) until it registers 350* on a deep fat thermometer. While the oil is heating, coat the shrimp: Hold 1 shrimp by tail and dip it into batter, letting excess drip off, then dredge in coconut, coating completely and pressing gently to help it adhere. Transfer to a plate and coat the remaining shrimp in the same manner, adding remaining coconut to the bowl as needed.
- Fry shrimp in batches of 8, turning once, until golden, about 1 minute per batch (Resist the temptation to make larger batches. More shrimp will reduce the heat of the oil and the shrimp will stick together and not cook properly. More shrimp also increases the chance of an oil overflow.) Transfer to paper towels to drain and season lightly with salt. (return oil to 350* between batches.) As the oil heats, the shrimp can burn easily. Watch them closely and reduce the heat if you notice the coconut is scorching. Make sure you skim any burned coconut from the oil between batches so that it doesn’t attach to the new batch of shrimp.
- Serve shrimp with tamarind sauce.
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook