Do you remember this song? It was sung by a group called Typically Tropical in 1975 and was their only number one hit. However, this last week saw us flying off to Barbados, ( not on Coconut Airways and not to see our girl/boyfriend) but to play some golf.
I had not been to Barbados for many years, long before it became fashionable, ( BA only had 2 flights a week), long before there was a Daphne’s, or the Lone Star had been bought by Derek Whelen and made into a Must go to restaurant.
Mid November is still technically in hurricane season, we did not experience any hurricanes, (unlike my last visit) but a fair amount of rain. It did not deter us from playing golf though, despite my summer golf shoes ending up mud coloured rather than white. We ate out at lunch and a few times in the evening, otherwise Vivien ( male) came and cooked us dinner. He was competent enough, though one look at him cooking was enough to remind me not to look again, messy a cook to say the least.
The one food item that I enjoyed the most was the prawns ( shrimp to Americans), and not what an English man would normally call prawns either. Large shrimp, meaty and juicy. Here, in London I tend to buy them frozen from either the Chinese supermarket or from Billingsgate, the wholesale fish market in London.
The shrimp we ate at lunch were grilled and served with caesar salad, whereas in a beach cafe they cooked “coconut shrimp” and these were also available at a Restaurant called Lone Star.
Our meal at Lone Star was marred by a very clumsy waitress, to be fair it was not really her fault, but hot water ( for tea) was poured down the back of one of us, and although the restaurant itself apologised, the cause of the accident ( a bunch of American women) did not.
On returning to the UK, it became a question of “what to eat for dinner” not wishing to go out, to shop or to dine, it then became an “Invention test”
I had frozen shrimp, frozen Chinese noodles, frozen chilis already chopped along with some herbs and spices. I grilled the shrimp, cooked the noodles, added the spices, some sesame oil,some ginger and garlic paste ( which I always keep in the freezer) and a 1/4 of a packet of Cream of coconut. And there it was an instant dinner, with memories of Barbados, thrown in.
And so to Coconut Shrimp. It is as its name suggests, Shrimp with coconut. The version we had at the beach cafe, was cooked in a batter, and they were fine a little on the greasy side, and the oil used to cook them did smell a bit old. However, the version cooked at the Lone Star were cooked in shredded coconut and panko breadcrumbs. And this is how to do it at home!
It is an easy recipe, a 4 step process: the shrimp should be butterflied or de-veined, but this step is not 100% necessary , dredge them in some plain flour, then a dip in beaten egg, and then into shredded coconut/Panko mix.
The use of flour when using egg and breadcrumb technique allows the egg to stick and the egg allows the coating to stick. Panko Breadcrumbs can nowadays be bought from most grocery stores, but if you visit a Chinese store, you will find them in larger and cheaper packets. They are light and airy and give a really crisp finish. Sometimes I find them a little too large, so I put some in a small polythene bag and give them a quick thump with a rolling pin.
Then, a quick deep fry, serve with a dipping sauce, such as a Thai sweet chili sauce.
Of course if you are being really lazy, I think you can buy them ready done in Asian Supermarkets !! But which ever way you go, they are lovely, if you love Shrimp!