These baked coconut shrimp are easy to make, healthier than fried and with a delicious flavor that pairs perfectly with the mango dipping sauce. They're great for entertaining or just because.
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I know coconut shrimp might seem pretty everyday to some, but it's not something I grew up with. In fact while we absolutely got shrimp (or prawns as we call them in the UK, apart from small sized) I don't really remember having them much other than as scampi, mixed in to pasta and then later in Thai green curry.
My first taste of coconut shrimp was in New York. When I lived there, a colleague suggested a kind of tour that was almost like being in a play/murder mystery. It was fun and at the end we ended up having a couple drinks with the "cast" as it was their last tour of the season.
After a little while, snacks came out including some of the most delicious coconut shrimp. I knew one of these days I needed to get round to making them myself.
Variations on coconut shrimp
With things like this, despite being relatively simple, you have a little bit of a choice in how you make them. Traditionally they are fried and that will inevitably be crispier, but I prefer not to fry if I don't really have to.
For things like cauliflower pakora, I think the crispiness is more important, but here I am happy to sacrifice a little for an easier and healthier cook.
Also, some recipes combine coconut with panko, presumably to give more crispy texture. But personally I would rather have more coconut flavor.
The other advantage of not using breadcrumbs is these are really easy to make gluten free by just swapping the flour to a gluten free blend (true, you could swap the breadcrumbs too, but GF flour is easier to find, from my experience).
How to serve baked coconut shrimp
You can serve these with a few different dipping sauces and a sweet chili sauce is pretty common. I opted for a mango dipping sauce as I love the freshness it adds and it keeps with the tropical flavor profile. The little bit of ginger, garlic and lime in the sauce really help it zing without being overpowering.
However you serve them, these are great to just nibble on any time or they'd be great for a party.
Tips for perfect baked coconut shrimp
These are really easy, but a couple of tips for making these:
- Pat dry the shrimp before you start.
- Make sure you shake off the excess flour after you dip them in the flour. If you have too much, it can impact the taste.
- Similarly, don't get too much egg or coconut but these are less of an issue.
- If you prefer, you can add the garlic and paprika to the flour (it can separate in the coconut).
- You can make the dipping sauce ahead of time, but the shrimp are best served warm.
You can see how easy they are to make in this short video:
These coconut shrimp are so easy to make, and the mango dipping sauce works perfectly with the flavors. Fresh, light, and pretty healthy. There's every excuse to dip in and have some more!
Looking for more finger-foods perfect for a party? Try these:
- Prosciutto wrapped dates
- Savory palmiers
- Smoked salmon bruschetta
- Plus get more appetizer recipes in the archives.
Baked coconut shrimp with mango dipping sauce
For the coconut shrimp
- ½ lb uncooked shrimp 225g prawns (peeled and deveined but with end of tail still on)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 pinch salt & pepper
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup shredded unsweetened coconut 5tbsp, approx (also called dessicated coconut)
- ⅛ tsp paprika
- ⅛ tsp garlic granules
For mango dipping sauce
- ½ cup mango, in cubes 80g
- 1 tbsp orange juice (or a little less)
- ½ tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp coconut milk (optional)
- ¼ tsp grated ginger
- ¼ tsp grated garlic
- Preheat oven to 425F/210C and lightly oil a baking sheet/tray.
- Put the flour in one small bowl, with a little salt and pepper, beat the egg in another, and put the coconut in a third. Add the paprika ad garlic to the coconut (or you can add to the flour) and mix through.
- Pat the shrimp dry then, holding the shrimp by the tail, dip in to the flour to lightly coat all over. Shake off the excess flour. Quickly dip in the egg to coat and allow any excess to drip off before dredging in the coconut. Once coated on both sides, put on a baking sheet/tray. Repeat the flour then egg then coconut with the rest of the shrimp.
- Bake the shrimp for around 10 minutes until the coconut is gently golden and just starting to brown and the shrimp become white and clearly cooked (the tails will also go pink).
- While the shrimp are cooking, put all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce (mango, orange juice, lime, honey, coconut milk, ginger and garlic) in a small food processor and pulse until smooth. Put in a small dish and chill until needed.
- Serve the shrimp warm with the dipping sauce on the side.
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