Shrimp is one of those ingredients that tastes fantastic any way you cook them. Even boiled shrimp is a lovely appetizer, especially if served with a dip or sauce.
Having said that, some shrimp dishes are extraordinary and even evocative — that’s the case with coconut shrimp. Think of that sweet, pink flesh coated with a coconutty core that takes you to the Caribbean and back with every bite. And to make coconut shrimp healthier and crispier, let’s use an air fryer. That’s one healthy way of cooking.
To make coconut shrimp, the larger the shellfish, the better. Jumbo shrimp, as large as 21-30 pieces per pound, are ideal for batters, breadcrumbs and other coatings. Larger shrimp is even better.
We’ll also need cornstarch and spices to give the shrimp flavor and a first coating. We’re using cayenne, garlic powder and a pinch of salt, but experiment with your favorite condiments and dried herbs. Egg whites will help the shredded coconut stick while spraying them with oil is a sure way of getting a golden crust.
Depending on the size of the shrimp and the pieces per serving, coconut shrimp can be a wholesome main course. Of course, the dish is also a delicious appetizer and a casual snack.
Coconut Shrimp will benefit from acidity, so serving them with a few lime or lemon wedges is a good idea. Serving the shrimp with a spicy sauce or salsa is also a clever way of complementing the dish. A pineapple pico de gallo made with tomatoes, white onion, jalapeño and pineapple might just be the perfect complement.
Peel and clean the shrimp. Leave the tails.
In a bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, dried parsley and cayenne pepper. Coat the shrimp thoroughly.
Dip the shrimp in the egg white and immediately dip them in the shredded coconut until coated. Gently spray the shrimp with cooking oil.
Preheat the air fryer according to the appliance’s instructions to 400°F and cook the shrimp on the air-fryer basket for 5 minutes or per the appliance’s user manual.
Serve with ketchup, mayo, ranch, hot sauce or pineapple salsa.