Hawaiian Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe

This finger-licking-good Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe is inspired by a trip to the Hawaiian islands.

Plump battered shrimp are deep fried until crispy then tossed in a creamy dressing made of mayonnaise and coconut milk.

The piping hot shrimp are garnished with finely chopped scallions, crunchy fried shallots and coconut chips.

We love serving this Hawaiian Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe as a finger food at snack parties and appetizer at Polynesian themed dinners.

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What Is Creamy Coconut Shrimp?

Looking for the best Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe? The popular dish can take on many forms depending on where in the world you are eating it.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp often appears on restaurant menus as a main dish in Thailand, China, and Japan.

Our recipe is inspired by a trip to the Hawaiian islands. The ingredients and cooking method are inspired by Japanese cooks who have a rich history in the Polynesian Islands. We use a classic tempura cooking technique to make crispy deep fried shrimp, which are prepared in a homemade batter featuring Japanese Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour.

Japan loves its Kewpie mayo so our creamy sauce features a combination of tropical Hawaiian coconut milk and mayonnaise.

Some Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipes feature raw shrimp cooked in a creamy coconut sauce, which is served over steamed rice as a main course.

Our interpretation is better served as a snack or appetizer. We love serving these mouth-watering Hawaiian Creamy Coconut Shrimp whenever seafood fans are coming to dinner. They also make for a delicious game day finger food!

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Homemade Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe ingredients.
Homemade Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe ingredients.

Travel to Hawaii by Cooking Creamy Coconut Shrimp at Home

I love traveling to America!

As a professional food and travel journalist I’ve had the opportunity to eat my way through award winning restaurants and historic markets across the US.

I’ve forked my way through memorable meals in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and District of Columbia.

What I love most about traveling throughout America is the opportunity to sample unique dishes in each region and city. The Soul Food dishes in New Orleans and Savannah are unique to what you might find on restaurant menus in Portland, Chicago, Denver or Detroit.

Many rank Hawaii as their number one American bucket list travel destination. The paradise Polynesian islands are popular with honeymooners for good reason, it’s postcard perfect!

I’ve had the opportunity to eat my way through Oahu, Maui and Hawaii’s Big Island. I’ve eaten at fancy restaurants in 5 star luxury hotels to famous streetside seafood shacks a stone’s throw from a scenic surf beach.

Once back home from a Hawaiian road trip you’ll have a newfound appreciation for Creamy Coconut Shrimp and can impress friends and family by making our crowd pleasing recipe!

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Creamy Coconut Shrimp Directions: Dredge peeled shrimp in Japanese Mochiko sweet rice flour.
Creamy Coconut Shrimp Directions: Dredge peeled shrimp in Japanese Mochiko sweet rice flour.

Hawaiian Cuisine

The cuisine of Hawaii incorporates five distinct styles of food, reflecting the diverse food history of settlement and immigration in the Hawaiian Islands.

In the pre-contact period of Ancient Hawaii (300 AD-1778), Polynesian voyagers brought plants and animals to the Islands. As Native Hawaiians settled the area, they fished, raised taro for poi, planted coconuts, sugarcane, sweet potatoes and yams, and cooked meat in earth ovens as the Maori do in New Zealand.

After first contact in 1778, European and American cuisine arrived along with missionaries and whalers, who introduced their own foods and built large sugarcane plantations. Christian missionaries brought New England cuisine while whalers introduced salted fish which eventually transformed into the side dish lomilomi salmon.

As pineapple and sugarcane plantations grew, so did demand for labour, bringing many immigrant groups to the Islands between 1850 and 1930. Immigrant workers brought cuisines from China, Korea, Japan, the PhilippinesPuerto Rico and Portugal after arriving in Hawaii, introducing their new foods and influencing the regions recipes.

After World War II several well-known local restaurants opened their doors to serve “Hawaiian Food.” Chefs further refined the local style by labeling it Hawaii regional cuisine in 1992, a style of cooking that makes use of locally grown ingredients to blend all of Hawaii’s historical influences together to form a new fusion cuisine.

Our Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe features Hawaiian ingredients like coconut milk and coconut chips. The cooking method is inspired by Japanese tempura, creating a perfectly light and fluffy batter that browns nicely and has a delightful crunchy texture.

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Dip shrimp in batter before deep frying.
Dip shrimp in batter before deep frying.

My Family Loves This Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe

I’ll never forget my first experience eating Hawaiian Creamy Coconut Shrimp.

On a Road Trip of Oahu I stopped at a famous seafood shack on the north side of the island. This is the stretch of beach where many of Hawaii’s most famous surf destinations can be found.

A long line of locals and tourists stood patiently in the hot sun eagerly anticipating one of the best street food snacks on the island.

This Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe is inspired by that unforgettable lunch. Piping hot battered shrimp tossed in a creamy coconut mayo dressing were covered in fried shallot and garlic and sprinkled with toasted coconut.

We devoured the dish out of take out boxes on a park bench overlooking the beach while slurping ice cold cans of Diet Coke.

After eating my way through Oahu I was excited to come home and recreate the dish for my friends and family.

I knew my parents would love this Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe because they enjoy Japanese tempura, shrimp dishes and creamy coconut sauce.

We love to serve this dish as a snack or appetizer at Japanese or Hawaiian themed dinner parties. You can also serve it as a side dish at a potluck or buffet with steamed rice, fried noodles or your favourite curries.

Remove fried battered shrimp once the exterior is lightly browned and crispy.
Remove fried battered shrimp once the exterior is lightly browned and crispy.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe Health Benefits

Our homemade Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe is packed full of wholesome ingredients!

Coconut is rich in fibre and may also offer a number of benefits including improved heart healthy and digestion. It is high in calories and sautéed fat so be sure to eat in moderation. 

A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.

Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.

Seafood is a high-protein food that is low in calories, total fat, and saturated fat. High in vitamins and minerals, seafood has been shown to have numerous health benefits including decreasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and hypertension.

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp: Let deep fried shrimp rest on a rack to help drain excess oil.
Creamy Coconut Shrimp: Let deep fried shrimp rest on a rack to help drain excess oil.

Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe Cooking Tips

If it’s your first time making Hawaiian Creamy Coconut Shrimp at home be sure to review our step by step recipe below. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get you started:

  • We suggest using a large wok when making tempura as it allows you to deep fry without too much splatter on your stove. You can of course use a deep fryer if you have one in your kitchen.
  • We suggest using canola oil or another neutral vegetable oil to deep fry as it has a high smoke point.
  • Japanese Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour can be purchased at a Japanese / Asian supermarket or online. It is the main ingredients used to make Japanese mochi and can not be substituted for traditional rice flour as they are not the same.
  • We’ve used a traditional mayonnaise in this recipe but you can substitute for Japanese Kewpie Mayo if you prefer.
  • We’ve used lemon juice in this recipe but you can substitute for lime juice.
  • We like to garnish the dish with Coconut Chips as they look so pretty but you can also use Toasted Coconut.
  • We’ve used large prawns in this recipe that have been deveined with the shells removed. You can leave the tails on as they look attractive and make eating with your fingers easier.
Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe Photo Image.
Hawaiian Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe Photo Image.

Serving Suggestions

This Hawaiian Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe is the perfect snack to serve to seafood lovers.

We like to serve the dish as a finger food at cocktail parties or an appetizer at a Hawaiian themed dinner. You can also serve it as a main course with steamed rice or noodles and a fresh salad.

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Our homemade Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe is garnished with scallions and coconut chips.
Our homemade Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe is garnished with scallions and coconut chips.

You May Also Enjoy These Seafood Recipes…

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Creamy Coconut Shrimp recipe!

How To Make An Easy Creamy Coconut Shrimp Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Hawaiian Creamy Coconut Shrimp

How to make Creamy Coconut Shrimp. Our Hawaiian recipe features crispy deep fried battered shrimp tossed in a coconut mayonnaise dressing.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Keyword: Creamy Coconut Shrimp
Servings: 6
Calories: 424kcal

Equipment

  • Wok
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • Slotted spoon
  • Mixing bowls
  • French knife
  • whisk
  • Wire Rack

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Kosher Salt + Black Pepper
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 3/4 cup Soda Water
  • 2 cups Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 600 g Large Peeled Shrimp tail on
  • Canola Oil for deep frying
  • 2 tbsp Toasted Coconut Chips
  • 2 tsp Fried Garlic or Shallots
  • 1 tbsp Scallions thinly sliced

Instructions

  • In a small bowl combine the coconut milk and brown sugar. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds and then stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayo, coconut milk mixture, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, soda water, 1 cup of mochiko sweetened rice flour, cornstarch, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper. Let stand for 7-10 minute so the flour can hydrate.
  • Place the shrimp on a baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels. Meanwhile, prepare a wire rack or line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  • Fill a large wok with 2 inches of canola oil and heat until it reaches a temperature of 350 F.
  • Place the remaining 1 cup of mochiko in a shallow dish and coat the shrimp, shaking off any excess, then dip into the batter, letting the excess drip off.
  • Once the oil is ready, fry the shrimp in batches until they turn pink and the coating is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the warm shrimp with half of the reserved sauce and toss to fully coat the fried breaded shrimp.
  • Spoon any remaining sauce onto a plate and top with shrimp. Garnish with toasted coconut pieces, fried garlic or shallots and sliced scallions. Serve with steamed rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 54.2g | Protein: 27.6g | Fat: 9.8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 214mg | Sodium: 351mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 2.9g | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 1mg

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