Coconut Shrimp With An Unsweetened Coconut Rice

I seem to be on a quest to find the very best coconut rice ever! You will notice from all of the different ones I have blogged about, that I am still apparently on the hunt. Let’s be honest, I just simply LOVE coconut. On meat, in sides, cookies, cakes…hehe, what else could I possibly do with it? I may have just begun another ‘journey’ – sounds like fun…

So let’s get to the meal! We started on the Coconut Shrimp as it does require that 30 min. refrigeration time before cooking. Start a little early so that you can lower the temperature of the shrimp. (We also left just one with the batter only – minus coconut – so that we could taste the batter all by itself. The result, it is a pretty decent fry batter – it is tasty and crispy, but really light. May definitely try this on some fish or for a chinese style dish in the future!) At this point we started the rice which I’ll get to in a minute, but for the finish on the shrimp it was really great how quickly they really cook. And my best advice, when they are beginning to brown pull them! That light brown color may look undercooked, but bear in mind that it will continue to cook to perfection after you pull it out of the oil. You don’t want to end up with overcooked batter or overly chewy shrimp. Awesome! We cannot express what an amazing version of coconut shrimp this turned out to be!  Next time I’m thinking I may thinly slice some green onion to top it very lightly! We choose a sweet chili sauce for dipping, but they were good without as well!

The Coconut Rice is another Thai version of what is typically a sweet and sticky side. Looking over the recipe, the biggest thing I noticed as the lack of the usual sweeteners – the sugar specifically, and I won’t lie, I was a little nervous as to whether it was going to pass the taste test for everyone. Hubby also mentioned he was scared of this new unsweetened version, but we all came away very impressed with both the flavor and more importantly, the texture of this recipe. The unsweetened coconut lightly throughout the cooked rice was a new and pretty girthy add to the texture – and without all the sugar, the rice was not nearly as sticky as some of the previous versions. The BEST part was the toasted coconut  on top! The recipe indicates it is optional – I’m going to say it, just do it! It doesn’t take long at all and it adds so much nuttiness and texture to the rice that I cannot possibly imagine it without.

With our mango (I totally cheated, I used the stuff from the jar–it is quick and easy and we still get fruit (even though it could be better if we got it ripe and in season whenever we wanted to eat it), but this time instead of just some pure cinnamon on top, I decided to use the spice mix that is used in the Honey Spiced Butter. Bingo! It was so much more spiced and sweet and just an explosion of taste this time around. Note: I used very, very little just sprinkled over the top for a persuasion of spice. I feel like this is one of those mixes that can go from perfect to tears with just the smallest amount too much! This dinner turned out so incredibly filling and light and the taste while really subtle, was such an amazing dinner! We all gave it two thumbs up!

Added all of the ingredients and ready to simmer for a bit. We LOVED the steaming process where you leave it on the cooling burner with the lid on, very clever.

Added all of the ingredients and ready to simmer for a bit. We LOVED the steaming process where you leave it on the cooling burner with the lid on, very clever.

We did the toasted coconut ahead of time - this was a nutty and surprisingly sweet topping for the rice.

We did the toasted coconut ahead of time – this was a nutty and surprisingly sweet topping for the rice.

The coconut has been battered and is ready to go!

The coconut has been battered and is ready to go!

Into the fryer...The recipe tells how to do it in a pan with oil; if you eat fried stuff a lot, you may wish to consider a fryer. They are not too expensive and offer an even and shortened cooking time.

Into the fryer…The recipe tells how to do it in a pan with oil; if you eat fried stuff a lot, you may wish to consider a fryer. They are not too expensive and offer an even and shortened cooking time.

Leave them in there until you get the lightest overall browning of the shrimp and pull them out.

Leave them in there until you get the lightest overall browning of the shrimp and pull them out.

Perfectly cooked and pretty little shrimps!

Perfectly cooked and pretty little shrimps!

This meal was one of the very best we have put together so far!

This meal was one of the very best we have put together so far!

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