Coconut Shrimp With Chili Garlic Sauce

Golden-brown, crispy fried coconut shrimp served with a chili garlic sauce is a culinary masterpiece born from the inventive minds of coastal kitchens and delivers a symphony of flavors and textures with each bite. This delightful dish, with roots likely tracing back to the vibrant shores of Southeast Asia, boasts a perfect marriage of succulent shrimp and crisp sweetened coconut.

coconut shrimp

While the exact origin of this dish remains somewhat of a mystery, it’s believed that this simple, yet incredibly satisfying creation may have emerged from the seaside regions of Thailand, Indonesia, or perhaps Malaysia. Its popularity eventually spread like wildfire, making it a beloved staple in beachside eateries worldwide but especially in the States.

coconut shrimp

To complement the crunchy exterior and tender shrimp within, I recommend you serve these coconut shrimp with a crunchy Asian-style slaw, or cabbage salad, and fragrant saffron rice. The salsa’s tangy sweetness harmonizes with the richness of the shrimp and the touch of sweetness from the shredded coconut. My go-to sauce is chili garlic sauce which strikes a balance between sweet and spicy, enhancing the crispy texture of the shrimp, numerous other options work just as well, so here are a few others to consider.

  • Mango Salsa: A vibrant mix of ripe mango, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of jalapeño for a sweet and spicy kick. It provides a refreshing contrast to the richness of the coconut shrimp.
  • Pineapple Dipping Sauce: A tropical delight made with crushed pineapple, soy sauce, ginger, and a hint of brown sugar. It complements the coconut flavor beautifully.
  • Creamy Lime Dip: A combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, fresh lime juice, and a touch of honey. It adds a creamy, zesty element to the dish.
  • Cilantro-Lime Aioli: A tangy aioli infused with fresh cilantro and zesty lime juice. It provides a burst of herbal freshness to every bite.
  • Garlic Butter Sauce: Melted butter mixed with minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of parsley. This indulgent sauce offers a luxurious touch to the dish.

coconut shrimp

Sourcing Fresh Shrimp

Selecting fresh shrimp is paramount for a dish of this caliber. Seek out reputable fishmongers or local markets known for their quality seafood. Ensure the shrimp’s flesh is firm, with a delicate aroma of the ocean, and free of any discoloration. Crafting coconut shrimp is an ode to coastal flavors, a testament to the ingenuity of culinary pioneers, and an invitation to savor the magic of the sea.

Coconut shrimp is a wonderful summer dish because its light, tropical flavors are perfect for warm weather. The combination of sweet, crunchy coconut with tender shrimp evokes a beachside vibe with every bite, making it an ideal choice for outdoor gatherings and barbecues. Perhaps the very best part of this coconut shrimp dish is how relatively easy it is to prepare, as either an appetizer or main course, making it versatile for any big or small occasion you can think of.

coconut shrimp

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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