Jul 7, 2010

Coconut Shrimp with Fiery Mango Sauce & Coconut-Cilantro Rice

Lately, you could say my presence in the blogosphere has been a little MIA. I've gone AWOL. Rogue. But not by my own doing, I assure you. See, I was seduced. The cloudless days. The shimmering pool. The garage sale-lined streets. It’s all been a little too much to resist, and in the end, summer inevitably won me over.

Like a lovesick teenager, I’ve spent every free second of precious weekend time scavenging for five-cent deals, sipping frosty drinks and glued to an inflatable pool raft at a closeness even the ruler of a prom chaperone couldn’t separate.

I tried to resist, really. I sat down to upload photos. I attempted countless times to write something…anything... about the food I've been making. But that sneaky sun slithered its way through my curtains and blinded me with the promise of sultry tan lines and natural highlights.

So I gave in. I strapped on my suit, slathered on the SPF and decompressed.

But I’m still here.

Thankfully, in all my summer lovin', I still managed to slide on an apron over my swimsuit and spend a little time in the kitchen. It’s just the sharing with you all that’s been a bit delayed. So I now have a mile-long list of grilled, chilled, stacked and speared summer recipes that I’m dying to tell you about. Grilled jalapeño poppers…blueberry almond lemon coffee cake…Jamaican jerk beef kabobs... Oooh yeah. We’ve been eating quite well.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

This dish definitely screams summer. A specific summer, actually, where I fell in love with more than just the sun.

Summer, 2006. Clearwater Beach. The sun was blazing, the air was salty, and the seagulls were the only things I could hear over my pounding heart. I was drunk on love, you see, with the man who would one day become my husband.

After spending the day lounging in the sand, we headed to a beach side seafood shack just in time to watch the sun dip below the horizon. Toasted from the sun, we somehow managed to stop gushing over each other long enough to peruse the menu, and that’s when we realized that there was only one thing that could make the day more perfect. A heaping platter of deep fried, crunchy coconut shrimp.

And perfection was definitely reached. Nothing beats a sweet-spicy sauce mellowed by shrimp coated in a crisp, sweet, coconut-panko crust. Making the meal at home is a bit more involved than pointing to a word on a menu, but well worth the major decrease in moolah and calories.

First, shell and devein your shrimp. You just need a knife, a little patience and a husband. That's right. Put him to work. The job involves raw meat, sharp objects and an intestinal track. He'll love it. Check out this simple tutorial.

While Luke did surgery on the shrimp, I made the aromatic sauce, a delicious mix of ginger, onion, garlic, lime, mango nectar and scotch bonnet or habanero peppers. (Don't rub your eyes...they're hot!) I chopped, sautéed, simmered and blended my way to a sauce so good it'd make a grasshopper taste delicious.

While the sauce chilled in the fridge, I prepared the coconut rice and breaded and fried the shrimp. Have you ever used Japanese panko breadcrumbs? Oh. my. crunchies. Brilliance, actually. The light crunchiness of panko has made it my go-to choice for breading shrimp and chicken.

(The most perfect chicken fingers: dredge chicken into flour, then beaten egg, then panko...then back in egg and back in panko... fry in a little oil....then enjoy. And thank me later.)
Coconut rice makes the perfect compliment to coconut shrimp, if you ask me. And while this lightened up recipe is definitely not as indulgent as the full fat version, it works. After all, it's just rice. The real stars of this dish are pictured below.

So Luke and I took a seat on our patio as the sun began to set, still crazy in love, and once again enjoyed a heaping plate of fried coconut shrimp. And it was delicious. Definitely as good as the restaurant's version we had years before. Sweet, crunchy, saucy, spicy. Perfection.

In fact, the only thing different was the manner in which Luke ate the meal. I guess marriage tends to make you loosen up your manners a bit because he literally licked that sauce bowl clean. But since I was the one slaving over the dish this time, I'll take it as a compliment.

Coconut Shrimp with Fiery Mango Sauce
Ann Taylor Pittman, Cooking Light, January 2010
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 7 shrimp and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)


1  teaspoon  canola oil
2/3  cup  finely chopped onion
1/2  teaspoon  grated peeled fresh ginger
1  garlic clove, minced
1  (12-ounce) can mango nectar
1/4  Scotch bonnet pepper, unseeded (Habanero makes a perfect substitute.)
1 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
1/8  teaspoon  salt
28  jumbo shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2  cup  flaked sweetened coconut
1/2  cup  panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/3  cup  cornstarch
3  large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2  teaspoon  salt
8  teaspoons  canola oil, divided
Cooking spray

To prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add nectar and pepper; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until reduced to 3/4 cup. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Place mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Stir in juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cool.

Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact; discard shells.

Place coconut in a food processor; pulse 6 times or until finely chopped. Add panko; pulse to combine. Place coconut mixture in a shallow dish. Place cornstarch in a shallow dish. Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Sprinkle shrimp evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Working with 1 shrimp at a time, dredge shrimp in cornstarch, shaking off excess. Dip in egg whites; dredge in coconut mixture.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 7 shrimp to pan; coat tops of shrimp with cooking spray. Cook shrimp 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure 3 times with remaining oil and shrimp.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 367, Fat: 13.5g (sat 2.4g,mono 6.5g,poly 3.7g), Protein: 31g, Carbohydrate: 29.5g, Fiber: 1g, Cholesterol: 252mg, Iron: 5.6mg, Sodium: 731mg, Calcium: 76mg.

Cilantro-Coconut Rice
Cooking Light, April 2008
Yield: 4 Servings

1  cup  water
3/4  cup  basmati rice
3/4  cup  light coconut milk
1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
3  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro

Combine 1 cup water, rice, coconut milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro.

 *This recipe was part of another recipe by Cooking Light, so I do not have specific nutritional info for the rice. But there's no bacon in it, so must not be too bad.


Life with Kaishon said...

I am so glad you did NOT resist the urge and you gave in! I mean blogs are awesome, this post is FANTASTIC, but what is even more exciting than that, is spending time with your family in the summer : ) That is the very best!

Love this recipe! Going to print it out and surprise my husband with it AFTER we get back from the pool this afternoon! : )

Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

That looks FANTASTIC!. This recipe feels like FL.

From one Florida girl to another, I forgive you for making the most of the sunshine. Believe me, I understand.

Katie said...

This sounds wonderful...I love coconut shrimp!

julie said...

What a great post! I think that break did your writing good (not that you weren't good before but I loved this post!!). This looks sooo yummy!

Julie said...

Looks so seriously awesome. I'm afraid of habanerro's though :)

3 hungry tummies said...

The combination of ingredients and flavour are to die for, great work!

Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

PS I posted an award for you on my blog. Enjoy.

Ingrid said...

Oh, snap! That does look insanely good. Definitely lick the plate, bowl, and fork GOOD! :)

Betty Ray said...

Man that looks delicious! Guess I'll be spending my weekend cooking. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

M @ Betty Crapper said...

I see you have quite a few Florida readers (raises hand!). I wish I had a pool in my backyard. It's hot. hot. hot All I do is stay cool in the AC during the middle of the day. Enjoy the time in the sun with your family. Your blogging will be all the better for it.

I love mango and habaneros together. I usually wear gloves when handling them since I've been known to forget and then touch my eyes a few hours later. Not good.

Me, Myself and Pie said...

Thanks for all the sweet comments everyone! =)

Betty Crapper - my family still lives in Florida and they are always telling me that it is REALLY hot right now! I feel your pain though. In MI it is just as hot right now for some reason - and our lonely wall ac unit is not doin the job!

Elle said...

Wow! You are a warm and engaging writer and cook! I really love the chance to explore and cook with you, especially Cooking Light recipes which have always been a bit daunting to me. Please don't ever stop this blog (lol!) as I have been SO inspired by your fun, hospitality and creativity!

Elly said...

You have so many delicious looking recipes on here! I try to stay away from food blogs because I end up spending hours pouring through their archives for stuff to try. I have a feeling I'll be doing that here in the very near future!!

LBDDiaries said...

You were above me on SITS today and boy am I GLAD GLAD GLAD! I love coconut shrimp but have never made it. Now I can and I have you to thank! I am also going to dig into your other recipes 'cause they look amazing.

I have a ton of recipes on my sister site, www.joy-cafe.com. I'm also getting ready to dig into my mom's "Recipes from Around the World" cookbooks from the 60's and 70's - fun! You have inspired me!

Chef Dennis said...

those coconut shrimp look so very very tasty! the mango sauce and the rice are perfect with it! I do love coconut!

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