Crispy Coconut Shrimp 2 Ways: Baked vs. Fried
These beautiful babies have a delightful savory crisp on the outside with tender succulent shrimp on the inside. They are so irresistibly good for lunch, dinner or even a snack!
Coconut shrimp is one of those menu items that I always considered to be a luxury. For the longest time, I thought that I could only get them when I go out to a restaurant and whenever I ordered them I would be treating myself. I thought that there was no way I could ever make them as good myself at home. But, boy was I wrong! When I first made these at home myself, I quickly realized that they are SO easy! Which made me even happier. Then, I realized that the quality was honestly, even better than the restaurant. I know the exact ingredients going into them and I know exactly how they are being cooked.
I wanted to experiment making them 2 ways for you guys to test the quality, flavor, color and textures between the two. We all know that baking them is the healthier version as opposed to frying them in vegetable oil over the stove. However, some people have it in their minds that they are “not as good”, which could be true depending on how you look at it. So, I am going to go in-depth with my experience between the two and providIng my feedback. Then, when making them yourself at home you can decide! Or you can be like me and do them both ways in order to please everyone you are serving.
But first, see my step by step photos on making these gorgeous golden nuggets.
Cooking process: Baking vs. Fried. They both have their pros and cons. But, one thing that I want to make sure you know, is that they are absolutely delicious when they are made either way. You truly cannot go wrong. But, they do have their differences which is why I wanted to lay them out for you, so when making these you can decide.
You still get the crunch and crispy-ness, however the coconut flakes tend to burn a bit more as you can see some black flakes in the photos. But, do not let that steer you away as it does not affect the taste. There is no burnt taste. I did notice though that compared to the fried version you do not get that full coconut flavor. The coconut flavor is more potent when fried. This version has more of just a breaded taste with a hint of coconut.
This version of cooking is absolutely healthier and clean eating without the oil being involved. Definitely a plus!
The color is lighters as you can tell from the photos, you do not necessarily get that complete golden color. It stays more of a golden white color.
Frying Them in Vegetable Oil:
They definitely are crispier. More crunch and more flavor overall. The coconut flakes soak and cook into the oil, so the oil itself becomes more coconut forward and with each piece you fry it builds up the flavor. So, I did notice more crisp and more coconut flavor over all. It truly provides the definition of coconut shrimp.
They are not as healthy as we all could have guessed, but they are worth doing it this way because in my opinion as well as others they were much better this way. I mean, aren’t things always better when fried!?
The color is a true golden color and looks exactly like restaurant style and quality. It will not disappoint. So, if you are looking to impress your family or friends with your cooking skills, this is the way to go!
NOTE: One thing I wanted to note about the sauce, is that it is SO good between the mix of tropical sweet flavors and chili flakes. But, don’t let the sauce take away from the main star (the coconut shrimp), a little sauce can go a long way. I found that overdipping and drowning my shrimp in the sauce took away from the coconut shrimp itself. So, the sauce is an absolutely necessity to have, but don’t over do it unless your main goal is to really get saucy and try to try and soak everything in all at once.
Serves 3-4, INGREDIENTS: For the Coconut Shrimp:
1 Lb. shrimp, peeled with tails on, deveined, rinsed and patted dry (I did pink larger shrimp from Whole Foods and I got about 17 pieces)
2 eggs, whisked
1 Cup panko bread crumbs
1 Cup shredded coconut
3/4 TSP salt
A pinch or two of black pepper
1/2 Cup flour
About 2-3 Cups vegetable oil (enough so the pot if filled about 1/4-1/2 the way up. I would use a medium to small pot)
INGREDIENTS: For the Mango Peach Chili Dipping Sauce
1 Cup OR 1 13 oz. jar of mango peach preserves (I got this from Whole Foods as well)
2 TBSP rice vinegar
1 and 1/2 TBSP chili flakes
DIRECTIONS: Place everything in a bowl and whisk until combined
DIRECTIONS: Preparing the Shrimp and Sauce
If the shrimp does not come peeled or deveined. Peel and devein the shrimp. Once done rinse and clean out under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and line up shrimp. Sprinkle sea salt over shrimp. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk all sauce ingredients together. Place in the fridge to cool until ready to serve.
In one bowl, whisk two eggs. In another bowl, place the flour and in a third bowl mix together panko bread crumbs, shredded coconut salt and a pinch or two of the black pepper. Mix to combine.
To begin coating the shrimp, dip in flour, then egg and then panko coconut mixture. Place on baking sheet or separate plate. Continue the process with all shrimp pieces until they are all coated.
DIRECTIONS: If Baking
Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Place shrimp on the tray.
Once oven is done pre-heating. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Carefully flip the shrimp half way through the baking process.
Remove from heat and serve right away with dipping sauce.
DIRECTIONS: If Frying in Vegetable Oil
Heat vegetable oil in pot over medium heat.
Once it begins to bubble a bit, you will know it is hot and ready.
Place shrimp in the vegetable oil 2 at a time and lower the heat to medium low.
Cook for 3-4 minutes total and flip half way though so both sides get cooked, crispy and golden. Repeat the process with all remaining shrimp.
Remove from oil and place on a plate that is lined with paper towel. Once cooled down, serve right away with dipping sauce.
PRETTY PLATE KITCHEN ITEMS USED: