It is going to be hard for your to decide which appetizer recipe should be front and center, these prawns, our Grazing Platter or Baked Brie with Garlic. Or if you want to skip appetizer and go straight to the main event try the Creamy Garlic Prawns!
For my American friends, yes, I am talking about the Aussie version of Coconut Shrimp!
With a crunchy coating and tender juicy prawn inside, these delicious appetizers will go down a treat. With 2 options for the coconut prawns dipping sauce you will have this recipe in repeat over summer!
For a super easy dinner, we can pair our coconut prawns with our Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad.
I have never seen one coconut prawn left on a plate, only just the crumbs!
Prawn recipes are insanely popular in Australia in summer. Lines outside the seafood shop a mile long insane. Firstly because they taste delicious and secondly because it is so bloody hot here all the time they tick the box of both cold food and hot food.
One of the best ever ways to cook them is to coat them with a coconut crumb and fry or saute them. I am talking seriously delicious here.
A crunchy coconut crumb with a succulent juicy prawn inside dipped in sweet chilli sauce is easily everyone's favourite summer appetizer!
This recipe both looks fantastic and tastes amazing. To prepare the prawns, we follow some simple steps for a method that results in deliciously crunchy coconut prawns every time.
Before we get too detailed I want to mention a key point. You can make this dish with the prawn tails removed. Keeping them on makes for an attractive presentation of the dish which is perfect for entertaining.
Removing them allows you to work in batches as you coat, dredge and crumb, plus the entire prawn can be gobbled up when eating. It is much of a muchness, also don't worry if you accidentally pull a tail off (if you are choosing to leave them on) it happens.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp
The secret ingredient to making coconut prawns is using panko breadcrumbs. They are easily available at the store, often in the Asian food section of the supermarket.
The 2nd secret ingredient that I like to use is sriracha seasoning. Just a tiny little bit of it. It takes them into the world of chilli coconut prawns and is a small but articulate way of cooking them.
For this recipe, the idea is to use a flour mix to coat the prawns, followed by an egg mix to dredge them. A coconut crumb is then stuck to the outside which is what gives us crunchy deliciousness with every juicy bite. They are simply mouthwatering.
What ingredients are Coconut Prawns?
These ingredients are set out in the photo below. I use banana prawns for this recipe. King prawns are also a great choice.
Choose prawns that are on the larger side as they will be easier to work with!
The ingredients for coconut prawns are:
- prawns (shrimp)
- shredded coconut
- panko breadcrumbs
- plain flour
- sriracha seasoning
- garlic powder
- peanut oil
How do you make coconut prawns
To make coconut prawns we need to batter then fry them. I use a wok, you can too or choose a fry pan to shallow fry.
To begin with, you need to prepare the prawns. These steps are shown in the photo below and summarised here:
- remove head from prawns
- peel skin (leaving tail intact)
- crack eggs and whisk
- add water and whisk to combine (set aside)
In my experience it is actually easier to remove the head of a prawn by twisting and pulling it, rather than using a knife. Start with clean hands and repeat the process till all of your prawns have had their heads removed, the skin peeled (keep tail intact) and the vein removed.
To leave the tail intact, leave the remaining small section of shell that the tail is attached to on the prawn. At this point, we will have a pile of fresh clean (no need to rinse) prawns that need some battering.
I have taken photos of the next steps so that you can follow easily. The recipe can be broken down into 24 steps.
How to prepare coconut prawns using panko breadcrumbs
Think of this process like an assembly line, where you combine the ingredients in separate bowls and do 3 steps for each prawn (with some resting in between)
A quick overview of all steps involved is:
- prepare prawns (shown in photos 1 and 2)
- whisk eggs and add water (shown in photos 3 and 4)
- mix together flour ingredients (shown in photos 5-10)
- coat prawns in flour (shown in photos 11-12)
- drench prawns in egg mix (shown in photo 16 )
- coat prawns with coconut mix (shown in photo 17)
- refrigerate to set coating (shown in photo 18)
- fry prawns in oil (shown in photos 19 -23);2
- drain using paper towel (shown in photo 24)
A handy utensil to have when cooking coconut prawns is a slotted spoon (shown in photos 20 -23 above)
The 3 most essential steps in the recipe are highlighted in red above. As they are so important, I wanted to draw your attention to them and have shown them in the photos below.
How to make coconut shrimp, the 3 essential steps
What you can see in the photos above are the 3 steps that are key to making coconut shrimp.
- coating the shrimp in the flour mix
- dunking them in the egg mix (this will make the coconut stick)
- coating the shrimp in the coconut
This is in a nutshell the essence of this recipe. The expanded steps shown in the recipe instruction photos above are to show you the entire process involved in making this recipe. I want you to be able to easily follow these and make them yourself.
How to serve coconut prawns?
These bad boys are all about the sauce! The crunchy crumb, the dipping sauce, it is a seriously delicious combination.
For variety, texture and colour, I serve these coconut prawns with 2 dipping sauces.
The 1st is sweet chilli sauce (red sauce) straight from the bottle.
The 2nd is a mustard yoghurt (yellow sauce) made from combining greek yoghurt with djion mustard.
These are like a good serving of hot potato chips, 1 sauce is never enough, haha!
How do you know when coconut prawns are cooked?
There are a couple of ways to know that your prawns are cooked and techniques to ensure this is well done.
Cook them at a lower heat than you would for a stir fry, you want the heat to be slow and controlled. I have the wok on between 3-4 and work in batches. Say 5-6 prawns at a time.
Before starting, make sure that the oil is hot by holding your hand above the wok and feeling the heat (if you can feel it, it is good to go). Then add your prawns.
Cook until you notice the panko crumb mix start to change colour. When it becomes a light golden shade, use your slotted spoon to lift a prawn and see how it looks (3 mins in). It will be getting there, but not fully there yet. But this gives you an idea of how fast they are cooking.
Continue cooking till the prawn crumb is a darker golden shade (5 mins). Scoop from oil, test one (they will be hot) and if the prawns are soft, but fully white and fluffy still they are good. Scoop from oil with spoon and set in paper towel lined bowl. Repeat process till all of the prawns are cooked.
Expert tips for success:
- the prawns will be too hard and chewy if overcooked
- avoid overcooking them by using a low-medium slow heat (as opposed to a medium-high fast heat)
- the colour will help guide you, when the crumb is pale, they are not cooked yet
- work in batches
- be patient (slowly cooking them right, is better than quickly stuffing them up)
They will be HOT from the wok, so when testing, be a bit careful of your lips and tongue!
FAQs to cook your coconut prawns
- we use 3 eggs combine with the water for the egg mix
- these are best served HOT
- the prawns are best made on the day
- however they can be battered the day before
Coconut Prawns Quick info:
About the recipe:
- banana prawns or king prawns work well
- bigger prawns are easier to work with than smaller ones
- keep tails intact (small part of body shell remains)
- remove the vein from the prawns
- serve with 2 textures of dipping sauce ie creamy and sticky
Your quick questions answered:
- You cannot really taste the chilli in the flour mix
- this recipe is for 500 grams prawns and will stretch to cover 300 grams more
- shredded coconut is long and thin
- the flour is plain
- This is a MODERATELY EASY recipe
Troubleshooting prawns tips:
If you are new to cooking coconut prawns or shrimp keep in mind:
- they need to be cooked slow and steadily
- serve them as soon as you have finished cooking and plating them
Pop your dipping sauces into small bowls and add to the serving plate. People love having the choice of 2 sauces for their prawns.
Serve the prawns with some freshly sliced lime wedges, they add a fresh zesty taste when squeezed over the prawns just before serving!
Traditional Australian recipes to inspire you!
- Gluten Free Zucchini Slice
- Zucchini Slice Muffins
- Bacon and Egg Slice
- Mini Quiches
- Simple Avocado Toast
- 8 Egg Pavlova
- 500 grams prawns Note 1
- 1 cup shredded coconut Note 2
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs Note 3
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoon water
- ¾ plain flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tsp sriracha seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- peanut oil
- ⅓ cup sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
- 2 limes to serve
- ⅓ cup greek yogurt
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Coconut Prawns Method
- Remove head from prawns and peel, leaving tail on. Devein prawns.
- Crack eggs into bowl, use a fork to whisk add water and whisk again to combine (set aside)
- In a separate bowl add flour, garlic powder, sriracha seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir to mix together well.
- In another bowl mix together shredded coconut and panko breadcrumbs
- Line a tray with baking paper and place next to bowls
- Hold prawns by tail and dip into the flour mix. Use a spoon to help coat the raw prawn meat all over. Place on lined tray when coated. Repeat for each prawn.
- Hold prawns by tail and dip into the egg mix up to the tail, allow drips to stop, then dunk into coconut breadcrumb mix, use a spoon to help coat. Note 4
- Place prawns on lined baking tray and put into the fridge for at least 30 mins.
- Pour peanut oil into wok and turn to a medium heat (setting 3-4)
- Once bubbles start to form and heat can be felt when holding hand above wok begin to fry prawns in batches. Use a slotted spoon to remove prawns when they have risen to the top of the oil and the coating is a nice golden light brown colour. Note 5
- Transfer to a bowl lined with paper bowl and continue to cook raw coated prawns until all are cooked.
- Serve with sweet chilli sauce and mustard yoghurt, fresh lime juices, parsley and cracked pepper
- Combine yoghurt and mustard in small bowl and stir till consistently mixed together
- Note 1, I use banana prawns for this recipe, medium to large prawns are better than small prawns as they are easier to work with
- Note 2 This is a larger type of coconut to traditional desiccated coconut. The pieces are longer and thicker. It will be in the same area of the store though.
- Note 3 Panko breadcrumbs are usually in the Asian section of the supermarket. They are much bigger than standard breadcrumbs.
- Note 4 I change the paper for my tray after the flour coating before the coconut mix, so keep the prawns clean and so that any excess flour does not stick to outside of coconut mix.
- Note 5 5-6 prawns at at time to give them each space so they don't stick together is a good amount to work with.
- Note 6 serving size is for 2 prawns per person
If you haven't cooked with prawns before, give the option of removing the tails a go if you have any hesitation. That will make them a bit easier and once you have done that, you can do them again with the tails.
They can overcook quickly so keep an eye on them.
Either way the coconut crumb is absolutely delicious and the prawns succulent and juicy!
It took me a long time to appreciate seafood recipes the way I do now but these prawns were always a favourite as they taste just SO GOOD!
Let me know if you have questions and I would love to hear your feedback when you make them!