Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo

Photography Credit: Jaden Hair

Please welcome guest author Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen as she treats us to fabulous shrimp coated with panko and coconut flakes. ~Elise

In my kitchen, there are a handful of Asian ingredients that I’m never out of. There’s the usual like soy sauce, oyster sauce and ginger, of course. But, there’s the other category of foods that are so versatile, they can be used in any style of cooking, whether Asian, Italian or Greek.

And at the top of that list is panko bread crumbs. Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb that really shouldn’t be named “crumb” but rather bread “flakes.” It’s incredibly light, airy and crisp/crunchy when fried.

What I like about panko is that it doesn’t absorb as much oil or grease as regular breadcrumbs and its super-thin flakes create an airy, lacy coating that you can’t achieve with regular breadcrumbs.

Making crab cakes? Use panko for a lighter, delicate result. Baked fried chicken is ten times crisper with a panko coating.

In this recipe, the coconut shrimp is coated in flour, egg/coconut milk and then a panko/coconut flake mixture.

Do you know why we have to coat the shrimp in all of those ingredients, in exactly that order? Well let’s work backwards. If you want a crunchy coating, whether it’s panko, breadcrumbs, crushed potato chips or crushed saltines – you gotta get it to stick to the food. Try taking a naked shrimp and patting panko on the surface. It doesn’t stick well. If you try to fry it, all the coating will come off into the oil.

But guess what? Panko sticks to egg!

So does egg stick to shrimp? Nope. It slides right off.

And hey, egg sticks to flour! Flour sticks to shrimp!

Now you get it?

Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost by placing in a bowl of ice water. Raw shrimp should always be kept chilled. Safety note regarding frying, always keep a lid for the pan close by, as well as ice.


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili-garlic hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 pound tail-on shrimp, shelled but leave tail on
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk (or regular milk)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Japanese panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • Oil, for frying


1 In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce and the chili-garlic hot sauce (optional). Set aside.

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2 With a paring knife, slice down deep at the middle of the back of the shrimp, but do not cut all the way through. Discard the black vein/tract.

3 Set three shallow bowls side by side. Place flour in the first bowl; whisk the egg and coconut milk in the second; and combine the panko and coconut flakes in the third.

4 Heat 2 inches of oil in a sauté pan over moderate heat until thermometer registers 350°F.

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5 As the oil is heating, bread the shrimp by dipping the shrimp on both sides in the flour and shaking excess off. Next dip in the egg/coconut milk mixture and then in the panko/coconut flakes, patting to ensure the coating sticks well.

6 Fry the shrimp in small batches for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on both sides. Serve with Sweet Chili Mayo for dipping.

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Jaden Hair

Jaden publishes recipes and drool-worthy food photography at Steamy Kitchen. Born in Hong Kong and raised in North Platte, Nebraska, Jaden's specialty is Asian cooking that's fast, fresh, and simple. Jaden's cookbooks are Healthy Asian Favorites and Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

More from Jaden

Showing 4 of 24 Comments

  • Jeniece

    THIS RECIPE IS AMAZING! Yes, I had to capitalise that. The shrimp are so easy to munch on the the sweet chilli mayo is my new favourite condiment. I could not stop eating this! I will make this again and again!

  • Jeniece

    This recipe is the bomb! SO good! The sweet chill mayo is now one of my top favourite dipping sauces and the shrimp are just so, so good. I served it with healthier rice and broccoli to feel less terrible about the calories but trust me when I say that the flavour is worth it!

  • rumgirl

    I made this tonight to go with my roasted tilapia and baby bok choy with a citrus sauce served over white rice. I used Pampered Chef’s spicy pineapple rum sauce to dip the shrimp in! We rarely fry anything but I thought I would make this as a special treat for the hubby tonight. I thought I made too much but somehow we devoured it all! This was a fantastic and easy recipe! Hubby wants me to make this for his mother!!! Thank you!

  • Omeghan

    For me the trick in using Panko as a breading is to do all of the dipping, flour, eggs, panko, etc…..

    Then, place the dipped items to set up a bit or the Panko tends to fall off in frying. Set the Panko items, covered, in the fridge 1/2 hour to an hour, at least, and then return items to room temperature before cooking. (works for shrimp, chicken, etc)

    The Panko absorbs the moisture from the egg and sets up and adheres better to the “food”. Less loss of crunch when cooking !!!. Enjoy !

  • Arielle

    WOW! I loved this recipe! The panko is so amazing. I had been making coconut shrimp with a beer batter and it was also good, but been wanting to try panko. I decided to combine 2 recipes. I used the beer batter and then dipped them in the coconut/panko mixture. It was delicious. I was very impressed with the dipping sauce! I usually use sweet chili sauce/pineapple/honey, but the mayo and chili sauce was so much better! Love IT !

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