In episode 32 learn how to make a favorite restaurant-style meal at home with this easy gluten-free coconut shrimp recipe. The oven-baked method guarantees a crispy, golden gluten-free breading, and is especially divine dunked in the sweet and spicy dipping sauce! Join Melissa, gluten-free cookbook author, as she shares many easy, pro tips to make this audio recipe for gluten-free coconut shrimp.
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Hey everyone, I’m Melissa Erdelac, host of the Gluten Free Recipe Challenge podcast and creator behind the gluten free website MamaGourmand. Here we take beloved recipes you thought you never enjoy again and transform them into easy copycat versions just as good as the originals.
When I’m cooking dinner, there are certain things that I really try to avoid, especially if it’s a weeknight. Really, by that, I mean all the time. Generally, avoid pan fried dinners, because, first of all, we have a slightly larger family, so I can never fit all six servings in one pan, meaning I have to do it in batches, meaning the timing’s off, and also meaning my ass is stuck at the stove for a long time.
That’s also why I haven’t jumped on the air fryer wagon, because I could just put all that shit in the oven at one time and be done with it.
Then there’s those recipes that require deep frying, meaning you have to pour a crap ton of oil in a pan and make sure it holds at the exact temperature, and then you also have to cook it in batches while your stovetop gets covered in grease. So I’m out.
Because of that, I always try to figure out a way to make traditionally fried foods in the oven without sacrificing that crispy texture, which brings me to today’s recipe.
Gluten free coconut shrimp is baked in the oven, but I use a simple trick to keep that crispy texture on the outside. And, of course, there’s a great dipping sauce to go with it because you cannot eat coconut shrimp without the dipping sauce.
If you are serving less people, though, say you have a smaller family or it’s one or two of you, if you go to the recipe post, I also include air fryer directions because I know air fryer people like to put their whole lives in that thing.
And if you’re a super overachiever, I also include the traditional skillet fry method as well. So you could go ahead and prepare the shrimp as the recipe directs, but then either do it in the oven. The air fryer or the traditional skillet fry method. So you do you, but today I’m going to talk about me.
Okay, let’s talk about the ingredients. So you need three cups of sweetened flaked coconut, and I say sweetened versus the unsweetened because, well, the unsweetened, it would make a healthier recipe, but the great thing about coconut shrimp is that contrast between the sweet breading and that slightly spicy dipping sauce, so it gives it a more authentic coconut flavor.
You also need two large eggs that are slightly beaten, and this you dip the shrimp in so you’re breading will stick to the shrimp.
For dredging the shrimp, I use corn starch, which is naturally gluten free, as opposed to flour or gluten free flour, which other recipes use. The cornstarch helps keep the breading on the shrimp as it cooks, but if you do not want to use cornstarch, you could substitute the same amount of gluten-free flour, or you could use rice flour , or a combination of those things.
If you want a keto or a low carb recipe, you can also replace the corn starch with coconut flour. For the seasonings that’s in the cornstarch mixture, I use a little bit of paprika, salt, and pepper, and the paprika just adds a little bit of a more complex flavor, and it helps give it that golden hue, since you’re not going to be deep frying it.
If you want to add a little bit more seasoning to it, you can add a dash of garlic powder or onion powder would work as well.
For the shrimp, you need one and a half pounds of large shrimp that’s peeled and deveined. You can also use medium shrimp, which is slightly more affordable, but then there will just be more shrimp, meaning more prep time and breading. You could leave the tails on or you can remove them. It’s up to you.
For the dipping sauce, it only requires two ingredients. One of the ingredients is a sweet portion, which you could either use orange marmalade, peach, or apricot jam or preserves. They all work well. And then the spicy element of it comes from a Thai chili sauce. And you can find this in the, um, international section in your grocery store.
For a gluten free recipe, always make sure to read the ingredient label first. I use Kikkoman Thai style chili sauce, which is clearly labeled gluten free. Thai Kitchen has a sweet red chili sauce, too, that’s also labeled gluten free. And then if you want to add a little bit of a creamier element to your sauce, you could also add a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise to it.
Okay, so let’s make the recipe. So this is the trick to getting crispy coconut shrimp that’s baked in the oven.
Start by toasting the coconut. Preheat your oven to 325 and then spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. And you want to toast it for 15 minutes and just stir it every five minutes until everything’s lightly golden brown. If you’re doing the air fryer or the skillet method, you could skip this step, but this step is crucial if you’re doing the baked method. And even though it takes a little bit more time, you don’t have to stand at the stove and fry your shrimp.
So once the coconut’s toasted, cool it slightly and transfer it to a bowl that you’re going to dip the shrimp in. While the coconut’s toasting, you can prepare your shrimp.
So in a small bowl, whisk the eggs, and then in a large Ziploc bag, combine half a cup of cornstarch, a half a teaspoon of paprika, a half a teaspoon of salt, and a fourth of a teaspoon of pepper. Shake to combine that. And then take your shrimp and lightly blot it with paper towels so it’s as dry as possible.
Add it to that Ziploc bag and then just shake it so all the shrimp has that cornstarch mixture on it. After your coconut comes out of the oven, then you also want to increase your oven to 425. You need a higher oven temperature to bake this.
Before you start breading the shrimp, go ahead and prepare your baking sheet and you want to generously spray it with nonstick cooking spray, but actually the best thing to do is I drizzle it with a little bit of olive oil. You could use olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, whatever you prefer. Using oil versus a nonstick cooking spray will make it crisp up better in the oven.
Okay, set that pan aside and now it’s time to prepare your shrimp. So take the shrimp out of the corn starch mixture about three or four out of a time, just shake the excess mixture off, dip it in the egg mixture, and then you roll it in the toasted coconut and then transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.
Just repeat it until you have all the shrimp breaded and laid out on the baking sheet, make sure they’re spread out so the heat can circulate around them. Then you can spray the tops with some non-stick cooking spray, or drizzle a little oil on top so the bottom gets crispy as well as the top.
And then it’s super quick to bake. It only needs 10 to 12 minutes in your oven, and while that’s baking, you can combine your dipping sauce together.
If you are a meal prep person, you can also freeze this before baking, so you could go ahead and bread the shrimp, put it on a baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper or wax paper, And then stick it in the freezer until it’s frozen solid.
And then once it’s frozen solid, transfer it to a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze up to two months. And then when you reheat it, you reheat it just from frozen. You put it on a greased baking sheet, drizzle the oil on top and bake it as directed in the recipe. Although you’ll probably need one to two minutes more on your baking time.
Okay, you could find this full printable recipe on the show notes page, and to get to it, click on the link provided in whatever podcast app you’re listening on right now. Or you could go to my recipe website, which is mamagourmand.com, and click on the podcast tab, and there you’ll find the full recipe, along with any recommended ingredients or equipment I’ve mentioned.