Friday, November 5, 2010

Coconut Shrimp

I have had this recipe bookmarked to try for awhile.  And when I say bookmarked, I mean that I flagged it with a little sticky when I first bought The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.  I tend to scan through brand new cookbooks within the first few days and bookmark/flag all of the recipes that really interest me.  And then once I make those recipes, the flags come off.  What can I say?  I'm a lawyer.  I love little stickies and I particularly love those highlighters that come with flags in them.  They are awesome.  Ok so I'm a geek.  What of it?

Anyway, considering that I had been waiting months to make this recipe and was all excited about it, in the end I thought it was not that exciting.  Don't get me wrong, it was good.  I ate it all, but I don't think I would make it again.  Now part of that might be due to the fact that I had to substitute sherry for cognac (since I didn't have cognac, brandy or rum), and I tend to find sherry to be a bit overwhelming.  I briefly considered adding some dry white wine in lieu of the cognac and maybe that would have been a better substitution.  I also thought that the toasted coconut got soggy way too fast when you added it to the shrimp, which seemed to defeat the purpose of toasting it in the first place.  I'm not sure.  I think I was just expecting more from the dish since the rest of the recipes I have tried from the cookbook have been so great.  I also really love the combination of shrimp and coconut - but I just didn't get much coconut flavor from the dish.  All I really tasted was sherry (which, again, was more my fault than anything else).  I also thought the dish was crying out for something else to give it another layer of flavor.  Perhaps some minced ginger (just a little bit) would have been a nice addition?  I don't know.  But in the future if I have a craving for coconut shrimp, I will probably make these Coconut Shrimp instead.

Recipe after the jump!

Coconut Shrimp
The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook
By Jaden Hair

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp high-heat cooking oil
1 lb. raw tail-on shrimp, deveined and patted really dry
2 tbsp butter
4 green onions (scallions), cut into 2-inch lengths
1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
3 tbsp cognac (brandy or rum make good substitutes)
generous pinch salt
3/4 tsp sugar (omit if you use sweetened coconut)

In a wok or frying pan over medium heat, add the coconut and toast until golden brown.  This should take only 3-4 minutes.  Take care not to burn the coconut!  Once the coconut is toasted, immediately remove to a plate to cool.

Wipe the wok or pan dry and set over high heat.  When a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates upon contact, add the oil and swirl to coat.  Add the shrimp to the wok, keeping them in a single layer.  Fry for 1 minute, flip and fry an additional minute until almost cooked through.  Remove from the wok, keeping as much oil in the wok as possible.

Turn the heat to medium, add the butter and, once the butter starts bubbling, add the green onions and garlic.  Fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Pour in the cognac and add the salt and sugar.  Stir and return the shrimp to the wok.  Let the whole thing bubble and thicken just a bit - the sauce should lightly coat the shrimp.  Remove from the heat, sprinkle in toasted coconut and toss well.

Serve with white rice.

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