- 10-12 large fresh or frozen shrimp (if frozen, thaw quickly in a bowl of tepid water)
- 1/2 cup regular white flour (OR for gluten-free diets: 1/4 cup rice flour + 1/4 cup cornstarch)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup ice water, or cold water
- 1/2 cup dry shredded unsweetened coconut (baking-type)
- 1 cup coconut oil, OR canola, corn, or other high-temperature oil for deep-frying
- Remove shells from shrimp, but leave tails on for easier cooking and eating. Set aside.
- Make the batter by first mixing the dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Crack the egg into the flour mixture, then add the water, stirring to break the yolk and form a fairly smooth batter (don’t worry if there are a few small lumps).
- Spread coconut over a plate or other dry surface, and set beside the bowl of batter.
- Holding the shrimp by the tail, dip into the batter, then into the coconut. Place on a dry plate or a clean space of your counter near the stove. If you have a helper, you can batter and fry the shrimp in one step, which is much quicker.
- Pour oil into a frying pan, ensuring it’s at least 1 inch deep. Set over medium-high to high heat. When you see lines of heat snaking across the bottom of the pan, test the temperature by dropping a tiny bit of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and cooks, the oil is ready.
- Drop as many battered shrimp into the frying pan as possible at one time. Reduce heat to medium. Tip: You’ll want to cook the shrimp quickly, in just 1 or two batches (before any of the loosened shredded coconut has time to burn in the oil).
- Cook about 20 seconds per side, then turn with tongs. Remove from the oil when shrimp turn a light to medium golden brown. Drain on a clean piece of parchment paper (I find parchment paper works the best, as it doesn’t stick to or tear the batter).