I almost backed out of this month’s crazy ingredient challenge, Coconut and Tomato. I never liked coconut, something about the texture more than the taste. Then I remembered that I had coconut shrimp once and I liked it. I guess once the coconut is fried it no longer has that texture I don’t like
Having decided I was going to make coconut shrimp, I then put it off for a few weeks until the week of my sister’s birthday. She was coming over at dinner time on her birthday, so I gave her a few choices of what we could have, and she chose the coconut shrimp.
I was aiming for a sweet and spicy taste in both the shrimp and the salsa, but ended up with sweet and crunchy coconut shrimp that we all loved, and I delicious salsa with just a hint of sweetness. If you would like it more spicy, just leave some more seeds from the poblano peppers in the salsa, and add more red pepper to the flour mixture below.
Tomato Coconut Salsa
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, seeded (4-6 tomatoes)
1/3 cup poblano peppers, diced fine (seeded, or leave a few seeds if you would like it spicy!)
1/4 cup finely chopped purple onion
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
a few drops each lemon and lime juice
In a large bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions. Stir in the flaked sweetened coconut, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, lemon, and lime juice and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for a least an hour.
Coconut Shrimp (recipe HIGHLY adapted from Food Network Neely’s Jumbo Coconut Shrimp)
2 pounds 16-20 count raw, peeled, de-veined, and butterflied
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups plain panko breadcrumbs
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 15 ounce can coconut milk
salt and pepper
vegetable or canola oil, for frying
Peel, de-vein, and butterfly the shrimp, if necessary ( or just save your sanity and get it from your grocery store/seafood market/ place where they sell the yummy sea animals already done!).
In a small bowl combine the flour with the red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
In another small bowl mix the coconut milk with salt and pepper.
In a food processor pulse the flaked sweetened coconut just until the sugar is broken up and the coconut is in short strips ( this helps the coconut stick to the shrimp). Mix the coconut with the panko breadcrumbs in another bowl. Depending on the size of your bowl, you might have to mix half at a time.
Working one shrimp at a time dredge the shrimp in the flour, shake off excess, then dip in the coconut milk ( let the excess drip off), then into the breadcrumb/coconut mixture. Lightly press the mixture into the shrimp to ensure it sticks, then place on a cookie sheet or large plate.
When all of the shrimp are coated, place them in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
Heat about an inch of oil in a large frying pan. Working in batches, fry the shrimp for 2 minutes, then carefully turn and fry for 2 minutes more. Drain and place in a warm (250 degree) oven to keep warm while the rest are cooking.
Serve immediately with the tomato coconut salsa on the side.
Check out what everyone else made for this challenge below!
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