Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Sweet and Sour Sauce
For the Shrimp:
1 pound large (31-40) peeled deveined shrimp, preferably with tails intact
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Canola oil for pan frying
For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (or to taste) plus more for serving
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
Whisk together paprika, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and flour in a medium bowl. Lightly beat eggs in another medium bowl. Combine panko and coconut in another medium bowl.
To keep shrimp tails visible, use them as a handle while breading and keep them free of batter. Working left to right, coat shrimp in flour mixture, then egg, then coconut-panko, and place on a sheet tray. Cover and refrigerate shrimp for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
To make sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Use a whisk to stir in tomato paste and to stir fry until it becomes a darker shade of red, 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and whisk for another minute until mixture becomes fragrant and just starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add pineapple juice and ½ cup water. Stir in sriracha, rice vinegar, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until sauce starts to reduce. In a small bowl, mix corn starch with 2 tablespoons water. Stir into sauce and heat for a minute to thicken. Set sauce aside to cool.
To fry shrimp, pour an inch of oil into a heavy pot over medium-high heat. When a small piece of panko breading will float and vigorously bubble, the oil is ready. Fry shrimp in batches with enough room to avoid crowding. Turn when edges start to brown and continue to fry until golden all over. Remove to a sheet tray lined with paper towels sprinkled with a teaspoon of salt.
Arrange warm shrimp on a bed of lettuce. Serve with sweet and sour sauce and extra hot sriracha on the side.
Jumbo shrimp or prawns also work but may need another minute or two to cook.
To bread shrimp without tails, use one hand for dry ingredients (flour and coconutpanko) and the other for wet (eggs) to prevent batter from sticking to your fingers.
For another layer of flavor, sprinkle salt on fried shrimp right when they come out of the hot oil.
Use either dark or light brown sugar in the sauce.
For a completely smooth and glossy sauce, strain out garlic and ginger before adding corn starch. To use in a squeeze bottle, reduce over medium heat to thicken.
Sauce can be made a day in advance and keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days.