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Coconut Shrimp with Fruity Cocktail Sauce and Quick Slaw

The turkey hath been stuffed and so hath I. It’s time to take to the track again, in defense against the onslaught of grub and grape this past week and in preparation for that which is to come.

I can only imagine what is going to happen in the next month. 

As I tend to keep track of things at school, I happen to know that there are 17 school days until Christmas break. That’s not a bad deal at all. In fact, by the time that you sit down to read this on Friday, we will only have 12 days and counting.

And now that the holidays are upon us, there is no better way to celebrate than with family and friends. When entertaining, or when invited to a party, it’s always a good idea to have hors d’oeuvre on hand or at least in mind so they’re easy to knock out in a pinch.

As cooks, no matter the level of experience, it is in our nature to master a task and then try to tweak it out to meet our needs and/or desires. Unfortunately, some cooks try to do this before they have mastered the primary task; the basic skills. The end results tend to be, well, hell on earth.

But when you understand the basics of a task, even a simple one, it becomes enjoyable and fun to play with your food and come up with some nice combinations.

Thinking about this today, I took a coconut shrimp we used to make at a local restaurant and created a slight variation on a theme. The recipe here is different from that of yore, but the idea is the same; Coconut shrimp with a fruity marmalade-style cocktail sauce. Truth be told, it’s only the horseradish that makes it fall into the cocktail sauce category, but that’s just fine.

This previous place of employment has a great coconut shrimp, and I was not trying to improve upon it. I was just in the mood for a different type of dish. Or, perhaps I had no orange marmalade so blackberry preserves had to suffice. They sufficed, to be sure.

This style of breading and frying works equally well with prawns, if you can find them, and lobster tails. When I worked for Harold Marmulstein at The Polo Grill in Baltimore, we fried one pound lobster tails.  There was no coconut, but if memory serves it was a beer battered tail, steel skewers driven end-to-end to keep the meat from curling during the cooking process.

The 6 inch skewers below serve the same purpose in keeping the shrimp straight for the most part. Simply remove them prior to service or keep them as self-evident toothpicks if you are placing them on a passing tray or a platter.

The flavors at work here are equally functional. The beer batter gives a fabulous flavor to most if not all fried foods. Who am I kidding? Beer would taste great in chocolate cake.

The coconut gives a sweet and nutty flavor that both stands up to the sweet of the sauce and battles the kick of the horseradish. Functional and tasty, it’s just not a bad combination.

The slaw is an easy salad to serve on a platter if you wish, but it would be hard for guests to eat if they are standing, so save this for plated dinners or if there is a buffet off of which people will grab their food to return to their seats.

Otherwise, a bowl of sauce in the middle with a ring of shrimp surrounding it will make a great tray for the party.

And once we get our new running shoes from Amazon, we can work on getting rid of what we’re putting on and get ready for next year.  And next year is right around the corner. 17 school days away, to be exact.

coconut shrimp

serves 4

12 ea. large shrimp, deveined and skewered with a 6” skewer

Flour seasoned with salt and pepper for dredging

1 c. Batter (recipe follows)

2 c. Flaked coconut

  1. Skewer the shrimp and have ready to bread
  2. Set up a breading station that goes in the following order:  Flour, Batter, Coconut
  3. Dredge the shrimp in the flour, shaking off the excess
  4. Dip the shrimp in the batter, letting the excess drip off
  5. Coat in the coconut and place on wax paper on a pan
  6. Refrigerate for at least half an hour before frying
  7. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown  and serve with the slaw and cocktail sauce


1 egg

¼ c. AP flour

½ c. beer

1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and set aside until ready to bread

quick slaw

2 c. shredded Napa Cabbage

3 ea. Radish, shredded and squeezed

Sesame seed as desired

2 Tbsp. Rice wine vinegar

  1. tsp. sugar, or as desired

Pepper to taste

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and let sit for at least 15 minutes but no more than an hour.  This is a fresh slaw and should be used as such.

fruity cocktail sauce

½ c. Blackberry preserves

2 Tbsp. Grated horseradish

1 Tbsp. Sour Orange

  1. tsp. Dry Sherry

Cracked pepper

  1. Combine the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve