Frozen wild-caught shrimp was on sale at Lidl last week, so I grabbed a couple of bags for later. I was hungry for something a little less wintery yesterday, so I used it to make a quick batch of this air fryer coconut shrimp. It's fast, easy, and tastes like a tropical vacation. It's also totally gluten free and Whole30 and Paleo-compliant. If that's not your thing, don't worry--I've included instructions on how to substitute any unfamiliar ingredients.
Here's what you need.
- Peeled & deveined jumbo shrimp with the tail on. The tail makes it easier to handle the little guys, so I highly recommend you get shrimp that still have their tails. You can peel and devein your own shrimp if you prefer, but I usually take the easy way out. Fresh or frozen work.
- Tapioca flour/starch. Tapioca flour is made from cassava root and is often used in gluten-free baking. You can usually find it in the baking aisle or with the other gluten-free flours. I usually buy Bob's Red Mill, but any brand will work. If you're not gluten-free/Whole30/Paleo, you can substitute an equal amount of all-purpose flour.
- Unsweetened shredded coconut. This is usually in the baking aisle at the grocery store. If you're following a Paleo/Whole30 diet, make sure the only ingredient is coconut. If you're not following one of those diets and would prefer sweetened coconut, you do you--the addition of sugar does make the outside coating crisp up a little better.
- Pantry ingredients/spices: paprika, ground cayenne, salt, and black pepper
Here's how you make the shrimp.
If your shrimp is frozen, de-frost it before getting started. I usually fill a bowl with hot water and let the shrimp sit in the bowl for a few minutes. Once they're de-thawed, I pat them dry with a paper towel.
Next, arrange three medium-sized bowls in a line. Put tapioca flour in the first bowl, eggs in the second bowl, and coconut in the third bowl. Add paprika, ground cayenne, salt, and black pepper to the flour and mix to combine. Then whisk the eggs.
One at a time, dip the shrimp into the tapioca flour, then the egg, then the coconut. It's easiest to hold the shrimp by the tail. I find that the coconut sticks best if you hold the shrimp over the bowl and sprinkle it with your spare hand. As you finish one shrimp, place it onto a plate and move onto the next.
Once all of the shrimp are coated, place them into the bottom of the air-fryer without overlapping them. Depending on the size of your air-fryer, you may have to work in batches. Air fry them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, flipping halfway.
That's it! Serve the shrimp with one of our suggested dipping sauces below or by themselves.
Suggested dipping sauces:
- When we aren't eating a Paleo or Whole30 diet, we love dipping these in Thai sweet chili sauce, or a 1-1 combination of Thai sweet chili sauce and apricot preserves.
- Sriracha mayonnaise (make sure Whole30/Paleo-compliant if you're following those diets)
- A simple cilantro jalapeño aioli is also a favorite with these. We combine 1 cup of cilantro, ½ cup of Whole30 compliant mayonnaise, ½ of a large jalapeño, 2 cloves of garlic, the juice of 1 lime, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and black pepper in a food processor until smooth.
- Your favorite cocktail sauce. Primal Kitchen has a Whole30/Paleo-compliant cocktail sauce.