I’m super stoked today – I’ve just made the best coconut fried shrimp recipe ever. I’m still glowing from the whole ordeal… major food-related dopamine rush!
But that’s not the only reason I’m excited – a very awesome lady has written a very awesome cookbook. I’m talking about Jaden Hair and her Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. This book is filled with tons of lovely Asian recipes, simple enough to be made by anyone. I know a lot of you out there are intimidated by cooking Asian cuisine, but really, it’s not difficult at all – and now we’ve got Jaden to guide us through the process with her new book!
Why do I like this book so much? I have a special place in my heart for Asian cooking. Not just the food itself, but the actually ingredients and techniques. Here’s something that most people don’t know about me – I learned to cook in Thailand. I was a total bungling n00b that could barely make rice, and then my husband and I went to Thailand for our honeymoon (cue collective awwwwwwww). While we were there I decided that I wanted to learn how to cook all of the ridiculously delicious dishes that we’d been eating in restaurants, so I signed up for a cooking class at someone’s house in Chiang Mai. I enjoyed it so much that I took another one, and another one, and then I dragged my husband to one as well. Turns out it was the best decision I ever made, because whenever it’s his turn to cook he makes a better fried rice than I do. (oh snap!)
But, I digress. I have a thing for Asian food because it was the first thing I ever learned to cook well, and Jaden’s book is a great guide for both new and experienced cooks. I’m not kidding when I say that her recipes are easy – just take a peek at the coconut shrimp recipe below. I’ll bet even my eight year old nephew could make it (though his dad is an awesome pro chef in Napa Valley, so maybe that’s not a fair comparison ;).
And then there’s the fact that Jaden took all of the photos herself. Seriously folks, the lady can wield a camera with the best of them. Just check out some of these photos.
Ok, I’m done gushing now. I’ve had a few too many cups of tea and I’m caffeinated to the gills – time to let the food speak for itself!
A few notes on this recipe: It’s super easy to learn how to make coconut shrimp, and this is a recipe you’ll have a hard time screwing up. I used Malibu Rum for this dish since it’s a little sweeter than other kinds of liquor. I like my coconut shrimp more on the side of uber dulce, and, well, it’s a little easier to do the “some for the dish, some for me” thing if you can actually stomach the taste of the booze! I also used rice bran oil for the actual frying, with a splash of sesame oil thrown in. It was divine.
Jaden’s Coconut Fried Shrimp Recipe
Or, how to make coconut shrimp to die for.
Serves two for dinner and four as a side
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon high-heat cooking oil
- 1 pound raw tail-on shrimp, deveined and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons cognac (brandy or rum make good substitutes)
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar (omit if you are using sweetened coconut)
- In a wok or frying pan over medium heat, add the coconut and toast until golden brown. This should only take about three to four 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 evaporated upon contact, add the oil and swirl to coat.
- Add the shrimp to the wok, keeping them in a single layer. Fry for one minute, flip and fry an additional minute until almost cooked through. Remove from 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 onion and garlic. Fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the cognac and add the salt and optional sugar. Stir and return shrimp to wok. Let the whole thing bubble and thicken just a bit – the sauce should lightly coat the shrimp.
- Remove from heat, sprinkle in the toasted coconut and toss well!