Last year while vacationing in London with my sister, we enjoyed some totally awesome pub grub including coconut shrimp & sweet chili sauce (read here for more of our overseas antics). Of course, these weren’t necessarily healthy but they definitely were delicious – and a good meal before a night of partying!
Every now and again I have a craving for these tasty & sweet shrimp but don’t always want to waste my calories (and money) on the often disappointing version served here in the states. What’s a girl to do?
Obviously, make your own healthier kind at home! Served with sweet potato “fries” it’s really hard to think of this as healthy.
Coconut Shrimp & Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Shrimp: Another quick cooking protein, shrimp makes healthy weeknight cooking a breeze. Although fresh is the best way to go, to make things easier, I keep high quality shrimp well sealed in the freezer until I am ready to use. To defrost, simply run under cold water.
Sweet Potato: What is it about sweet potatoes that make them so darn appealing? Is it the bright orange hue it brings to any dish? Or is it the fact that with the word ‘sweet’ in the name, you think you’re eating something bad for you. Whatever the reason, sweet potatoes are a staple in my fridge during the cooler months. If you are really stretched on time, simply prick the potato a few times with a fork and pop in the microwave for 3-6 minutes (depending on size).
Specifics:1 medium sweet potato 2 tsp. olive oil 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 1/8 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. pepper 1/3 cup shredded coconut 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (or whatever you have on hand) 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp paprika 1 egg white 1 tsp. water
9 small or medium sized shrimp (I used 51/60s)* Cooking time = 30 – 35 minutes Cleanup time = 10 minutes
How to Get it Done:
1. Preheat your oven to 415 degrees F.
2. Slice the sweet potato into fry form. I like classic fry style but circular slices work just as fine (just make sure they are all even thickness). In a mixing bowl, coat the fries with the olive oil and toss with 1/4 tsp. cayenne, 1/8 tsp salt & 1 tsp. pepper.
3. Spread out on baking sheet and place in the oven.
4. In a small bowl, mix together coconut, panko breadcrumbs, paprika & 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside. In another small bowl gently whisk together the egg white & water until just combined.
5. Make sure all of your shrimp are deveined and shelled.
6. Assemble the breading station. Yes, I may be slightly OCD with the setup here (along with many other things in life) but being prepared for this step makes all of the difference.
7. One shrimp at a time, dip into the egg whites and then coat in the coconut/breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking pan (coat with some cooking spray if you have it). Repeat with all of the shrimp. Don’t worry if the breading falls off a bit, just sprinkle the leftovers onto shrimp already on the pan.
8. Check on your fries, turn them over to ensure they don’t burn and are cooked evenly. Pop the shrimp into the oven.
9. Assemble your dipping sauces. Usually I love serving these bad boys with some sweet chili sauce like this one. Sadly, I was all out but attempted making my own with some garlic chili sauce (aka Sambal Oelek) and honey. Not the same, but enjoyable nonetheless.
10. After about 8-10 minutes (or until the shrimp are pink and slightly firm) remove the shrimp and the fries from the oven. Although I was trying to recreate some healthy bar eats with this meal, I did heat up some frozen french cut green beans to give the plate some color!
Tips & Tricks
On buying Shrimp:
While there are category names & classifications for each size of shrimp, they are also labeled by their count. This means they are sold by the number of shrimp per pound. For instance, when shrimp are labeled as 16/20 this means that there are anywhere between 16 and 20 shrimp in any given pound of that size (these are also called Extra Jumbo Shrimp). Other popular sizes are 21/25 (Jumbo Shrimp), 36/40 (Medium Large Shrimp) & 61/70 (Extra Small Shrimp)
If you see a U before a single number, such as U10, this means there are under that amount of shrimp in each pound. Therefore in a pound of U10 shrimp you will be receiving under 10 shrimp (also known as Extra Colossal). These “U” classifications are reserved for the larger shrimp varieties and include U12’s (Colossal) and U15’s (also Colossal but the average number per pound is higher).