Let’s be honest, we could all use a vacation right now! That’s why I decided to make crispy coconut crusted shrimp with a hot pepper and pineapple dipping sauce, to enjoy a little taste of vacation even while being stuck at home. This dish captures the flavors of a tropical island with sweet coconut, juicy shrimp, and ripe pineapple balanced by a fragrant punch of exotic fatalii peppers. Even though the fatalii pepper is as hot as a habanero, don’t let that scare you. They are also packed with a ton of flavor that tempers the heat, and their fruity, citrusy flavors absolutely pop in this easy pineapple-lime dipping sauce.
1-1/2 lbs large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup panko crumbs
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup water
2 tsp. Baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
If you are using frozen shrimp, be sure to choose ones that are already deveined to save yourself some work. Defrost shrimp in cold water, then de-shell them and pat dry.
Stir together 2 cups of flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, baking powder, and the remaining 1 cup of flour until combined. In a third bowl, stir together the panko crumbs and shredded coconut.
Dredge the shrimp (in batches of five) in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip into the egg batter and allow the excess to drip off. Dredge in coconut mixture and press down gently on both sides of the shrimp. Make sure they are fully coated. In a large, deep sauté pan or dutch oven, pour vegetable oil 3 inches deep and heat to 350’F. Working in batches of 5, fry the shrimp until golden brown, roughly 3-4 minutes. Place cooked shrimp on a cooling rack above a paper towel-lined cookie sheet and allow to cool for 2 minutes.
1 cup fresh, ripe pineapple cut into chunks
Juice of one lime
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 fatalii pepper, seeded (you can substitute a habanero pepper)
1 cup mayonnaise
In a food processor add the first seven ingredients and blend until smooth. Stir together the pineapple mixture and mayonnaise in a bowl until combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.