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Coconut Shrimp with Turmeric Yogurt

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

Coconut shrimp is an American delicacy, and so I prefer to retain native terminology. I don't know why this should be, but I find it makes them sound much more delectable than prawns; shrimp is such a very good, juicy word.

The rice flour I dredge the shrimp in makes the coconut adhere much better than the more usual plain flour, and it gives a crispness and light rustling crunch, in the same way the panko does, rather than regular breadcrumbs, and both offer a more resilient coating, so that the encased shrimp steam succulently within.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Coconut shrimp is an American delicacy, and so I prefer to retain native terminology. I don't know why this should be, but I find it makes them sound much more delectable than prawns; shrimp is such a very good, juicy word.

The rice flour I dredge the shrimp in makes the coconut adhere much better than the more usual plain flour, and it gives a crispness and light rustling crunch, in the same way the panko does, rather than regular breadcrumbs, and both offer a more resilient coating, so that the encased shrimp steam succulently within.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Coconut Shrimp with Turmeric Yogurt
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 3-4 or double that if picking at them with a drink

Metric Cups

For the turmeric yogurt

  • 250 grams coconut-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

For the coconut shrimp

  • 70 grams rice flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 scant teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 45 grams panko breadcrumbs
  • 60 grams desiccated coconut
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 300 grams fresh raw peeled king prawns (approx. 34 in number)
  • approx. 1 litre vegetable oil

For the turmeric yogurt

  • 1 cup plain coconut-milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the coconut shrimp

  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 scant teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 10 ounces fresh raw shell-off large shrimp (approx. 34 in number)
  • 4 cups vegetable oil

Method

  1. Mix the yogurt, turmeric and salt together and leave to stand so that the flavour mellows while you get a-frying.
  2. Tip the rice flour into a shallow dish and put to one side, then beat the eggs and sea salt flakes together in another similar dish. In a third shallow dish, mix the panko breadcrumbs, desiccated coconut and cayenne pepper.
  3. Dredge a quarter of the prawns in the rice flour, just to coat them lightly, and then drop them into the beaten eggs.
  4. Lift them out and waggle them over the egg dish to let the excess drip off them a little, then add the prawns to the panko and coconut mixture, getting your hands stuck in, and turning and pressing them into the mixture to make sure they are well coated. Put the prawns on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment before dredging and dipping the remaining batches.
  5. Set a mesh ladle or a slotted spoon as well as a large plate, lined with kitchen roll, near the hob. Pour the oil into a heavy-based saucepan of about 22cm / 9-inches in diameter – any wider and you’ll need a lot more oil – so that it comes about 3cm / 1¼-inches up the sides of the pan, and heat it until a cube of bread sizzles when dropped in.
  6. Fry a smallish batch of prawns in the hot oil until crisp and golden, which shouldn’t take more than a minute or so. Use the mesh ladle or slotted spoon to transfer them onto the kitchen roll.
  7. Repeat with the other prawns in similar-sized batches until you have cooked them all. Serve the turmeric yogurt in little bowls, one per eater, to dip into. Or just put into one bowl, with a spoon for people to dollop on their plates.
  1. Mix the yogurt, turmeric and salt together and leave to stand so that the flavour mellows while you get a-frying.
  2. Tip the rice flour into a shallow dish and put to one side, then beat the eggs and kosher salt together in another similar dish. In a third shallow dish, mix the panko breadcrumbs, unsweetened shredded coconut and cayenne pepper.
  3. Dredge a quarter of the prawns in the rice flour, just to coat them lightly, and then drop them into the beaten eggs.
  4. Lift them out and waggle them over the egg dish to let the excess drip off them a little, then add the prawns to the panko and coconut mixture, getting your hands stuck in, and turning and pressing them into the mixture to make sure they are well coated. Put the prawns on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment before dredging and dipping the remaining batches.
  5. Set a mesh ladle or a slotted spoon as well as a large plate, lined with kitchen roll, near the hob. Pour the oil into a heavy-based saucepan of about 22cm / 9-inches in diameter – any wider and you’ll need a lot more oil – so that it comes about 3cm / 1¼-inches up the sides of the pan, and heat it until a cube of bread sizzles when dropped in.
  6. Fry a smallish batch of prawns in the hot oil until crisp and golden, which shouldn’t take more than a minute or so. Use the mesh ladle or slotted spoon to transfer them onto the kitchen roll.
  7. Repeat with the other prawns in similar-sized batches until you have cooked them all. Serve the turmeric yogurt in little bowls, one per eater, to dip into. Or just put into one bowl, with a spoon for people to dollop on their plates.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
Prawns can be coated 3-4 hours ahead. Cover loosely with cling film and refrigerate until needed.

MAKE AHEAD:
Prawns can be coated 3-4 hours ahead. Cover loosely with cling film and refrigerate until needed.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • Shrimp turned out very crisply and beautifully, but needed a little sweetness and salt. I may add a little sugar and salt to the rice flour next time. The coconut turmeric sauce fell flat for me. Really had very little taste. Overall, beautiful recipe!

    Posted by bakingbear on 19th April 2020
  • Lovely and crispy with a nice hint of coconut and gluten free also if using g.f. breadcrumbs. Very enjoyable and tomorrow I shall be making your Venetian carrot cake. I already made your Chocolate Cloud Cake, also gluten free and it was lovely.

    Posted by northernone on 18th October 2019
  • Thank you, Nigella, for a gluten free coating for coconut shrimp! It's something that I've been unable to eat for the longest time, at least out in restaurants.

    Posted by Cookrazy on 11th October 2019
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