There are few things foodwise that I like less than coconut shrimp. When I was a kid, my parents took my siblings and I on a trip to San Francisco and we went to the pier. We stopped by a Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant because I'd just seen Forrest Gump and was obsessed. Being a lover of both shrimp and coconut, I thought I would love the dish when I ordered it.
I was so excited with the server plopped down a platter of medium sized shredded coconut crust shrimp in front of me. I took a bite expecting nirvana and instead immediately wanted to spit it out. There was mushy limp shrimp covered in overly sweet shreds of what can only be described as fake tasting coconut. I was grossed out and underwhelmed. Over the years, I've tried coconut shrimp at other places and it's always the same thing. An overly sweet seafood dish that just never quite delivers.
I became obsessed with making a version that would work. There were many, manyyyyy fails along the way but finally I came up with a recipe that delivers on the nutty, slightly tropical natural flavor that raw coconut has and that plump, sweetness that only high quality shrimp has. This is one of those recipes that looks fancy as all hell but honestly takes 30 minutes to pull together. It's visually stunning and damn good. I like to serve this over a bed of jasmine rice with spoonfuls of the flavorful pan sauce poured over it.
I hope you enjoy it too.