- 2 pounds raw extra large shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined with tails left intact
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 large egg whites
- 2 cups unsweetened medium shredded coconut
- 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce
- Piña Colada Dipping Sauce
- Place the cornstarch, salt and cayenne pepper in a large zip-lock bag and mix well.
- Add the shrimp to the bag, seal shut and shake to coat evenly. Set aside.
- Using a fork, beat the egg whites in a small bowl until frothy.
- Place the coconut and sugar in a large shallow bowl or pie dish and mix well.
- Holding each shrimp by the tail, shake off excess cornstarch, dip into the egg whites (let the excess drip off), then dredge in the coconut mixture, turning to coat evenly (if the sugar drops to the bottom of the dish a bit, move the shrimp around so it gets coated with both the sugar and coconut.)
- Place the shrimp on foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. This can be done several hours ahead of time.
- Pour enough oil into a large nonstick pan to reach a depth of ½-inch; heat over high heat until hot. To test if the oil is hot enough, use tongs to hold one shrimp by the tail and submerge it in oil; if it sizzles and crackles, it’s ready.
- Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the shrimp to the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown. It should take between 40-60 seconds per side; if the shrimp are browning too quickly, turn the heat down a bit.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Arrange the shrimp on a platter and serve with the Sweet Red Chili Sauce or Piña Colada Dipping Sauce.
Use unsweetened shredded coconut and add sugar to it, as opposed to sweetened flaked coconut, because it’s healthier, much easier to work with, and adds great texture to the dish.