Desiccated Coconut Shrimp

It’s fate that the first ingredient in this dish is desiccated coconut: desiccated also being defined as ‘that which is lacking in passion, or interest’. There goes the appetite, right? On the rare occasion that these shrimp crop up on a menu, ordering them is a bad trip: overpriced, chewy dry or else oily, they leave me feeling cheated and seasick.

Sigh. Coconut Shrimp, where have you gone wrong? ‘Nowhere special’, sighs the poor soul-less dish, ‘just where all the other badly executed dishes have gone wrong’.

Don’t worry reader and coconut shrimp. I fix you.

In order of importance:

Squid’s rules for not ruining Coconut Shrimp:

1. Serve immediately after cooking.
2. Season your shrimp with something that makes coconut interesting: curry, lemongrass, chillies, ginger. DO. SOMETHING.
3. Pre-season your coconut with salt or pepper, or whatever else, before the shrimp go into it. Unevenly flavoured coating sucks the balls.
4. Use grapeseed, or vegetable oil that is not olive oil. Olive oil be too heavy.
5. Heat your oil properly! If your oil is not hot enough, the flakes will suck up all the fuel and turn the shrimp into oily bricks of oil. If your oil is too hot the flakes will burn and flake off before the shrimp are fully cooked and what you’re eating will taste like fried fishy bread.
6. Manage your oil properly: once it starts to get cluttered with coconut debris, clean it up and refresh it.
7. Try grinding up your coconut flakes a bit- they’ll coat the shrimp more evenly and stick better.

So there you have it. 7 easy rules for not ruining coconut shrimp.

And here are some recipes ideas for flavouring the shrimp before you dust it with coconut.

Curry seasoning:

curry powder (very little)
black pepper
minced garlic or shallot
lemon juice

flour and a bit of curry powder mixed into the coconut flakes

Chilli Seasoning:

crushed thai chillies, seeds removed (I used 2 for 20 shrimp, they’re VERY hot)
the juice of half a lime
white pepper

salt in the coconut flakes

Ginger Seasoning:

minced ginger
minced shallot
cayenne pepper

salt and cayenne in the coconut flakes

Be desiccated no longer.