Coconut Shrimp Lollypops
Used with permission from Whitecap Books
Alterations should be made to fit with your dietary needs. Please
consult with your medical team before you attempt to make this recipe.
Coconut Shrimp Lollypops. Makes 12 lollypops
Coconut Shrimp Lollypops
1 coconut (first-timers should buy a spare coconut)
1/2 cup (125 mL) beer (if required)
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 mL) cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
12 raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3–5 cups (750 mL–1.25 L) peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 wedge of watermelon (for presentation)
Twelve 6-inch (15 cm) bamboo skewers
Apricot-Ginger Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup (185 mL) apricot jam
1 jalapeño chili, seeds and membranes discarded, minced
2 tablespoons (30 mL) seasoned rice vinegar
or freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon (15 mL) Dijon mustard
- With the coconut and a medium bowl in hand, go find yourself a concrete step.
- Break the coconut in half by banging the center (along the equator) of the coconut repeatedly on the edge of the step.
- Split the coconut over the bowl and salvage some of the water if possible.
- Reserve the smaller half of the coconut.
- Bang the larger half on the concrete to break it into smaller pieces.
- Back in your kitchen, use a table knife to separate the coconut meat in the small pieces from the shell.
- Then use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the brown skin from the meat.
- Using the medium section of your grater, shred 2 cups (500 mL) of coconut. Reserve in a shallow bowl.
- Pour coconut water into a measuring cup and, if necessary, top it off with beer until you have 3/4 cup (185 mL) of liquid. Reserve. (If you are using store-bought shredded coconut—and consequently do not have any coconut water—replace this mixture with 3/4 cup/185 mL of beer.)
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut water/beer mixture, egg, cayenne, baking powder, and salt. Beat until it is smooth.
- Add a bit more flour or beer, if necessary, so that the batter has the consistency of thick pancake batter. Reserve.
- Use a paper towel to pat dry the shrimp.
- Tightly wrap each shrimp like a pinwheel (with the tail end of the shrimp on the outside), then place one shrimp on the end of each 6-inch (15 cm) bamboo skewer. Reserve in the refrigerator.
- Before frying, see Fear of Frying on page 246.
- Pour oil into a small, tall pot until it is 3 inches (8 cm) deep. Heat oil until it reaches 350°F (177°C).
- While oil is heating, dip each shrimp in the batter, then pat it down in the coconut shreds so that the entire lollypop is covered in coconut shreds. Transfer to a plate.
- When oil is ready, submerge 4 shrimp at a time into the oil.
- Don’t worry if the skewers go into the oil. Fry for approximately 2 minutes, or until coconut is golden brown.
- Rotate once or twice. Transfer finished lollypops to a paper towel.
- Skim any wayward coconut shreds from the oil.
- Adjust heat, wait until oil returns to 350°F (177°C), and continue with next batch. Stick skewers in a watermelon wedge and serve the dipping sauce in the reserved coconut half.
- Apricot-Ginger Dipping Sauce
- Place all dipping sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor. Purée. Reserve.
- uncommon goods 6-inch (15 cm) bamboo skewers; a whole coconut
- level of difficulty Like learning how to line dance. If you attempt all of the steps together, it can be intimidating the first time around. But if you tackle each of the individual steps of this recipe one at a time, they are a cinch to master.
- active prep time 1 hour cooking time 15 minutes
- shortcuts Skip the fresh coconut. Use store-bought unsweetened, shredded coconut in place of the fresh coconut; beer in place of the coconut water; and a small decorative bowl for the dipping sauce in place of the coconut shell.
- advance work Coconut can be grated, shrimp can be skewered, and the dipping sauce and batter can be made earlier in the day. The shrimp can be battered and dredged a couple of hours before serving and refrigerated on a plate. That just leaves the deep-frying to be done at showtime.
- music to cook by Harry Nilsson, Everybody’s Talking. “She put de lime in de coconut, drink ’em bot’ togeder . . .”
- liquid assets A crisp, semi-dry German or Alsace Riesling has the acidity to cut through the deep-fried coconut, and the fruitiness to temper the heat of the dipping sauce.
Developing this recipe was the beginning of my love affair with small bites. The harmonic convergence of sweet fresh coconut, succulent shrimp, tropical dipping sauce, and a Trader Vic’s–style presentation was an instant crowd-pleaser. Like a trained seal, I love to perform this trick and bask in the applause the lollypops incite. They are a bit involved, but mastering them is a lot easier than learning how to balance a ball on your nose.
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