Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo


Chinese coconut shrimp, shrimp coated in coconut flakes and panko, fried and served with a sweet chili mayo sauce.

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 / Reviews

  • 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!

  • jonathan

    Yum-a-licious. I like serving coconut shrimp with a pineapple salsa with a few finely minced Thai chilis thrown in for good measure. Just to remind everyone that life isn’t always so sweet.

    As far as breading, the rule of thumb I was taught was that to best make panko/batter/bread crumbs stick to your “protein” — fish, beef, poultry — never use a protein on another protein as a glue, e.g., chiken strips, then flour, then egg (protein) wash, then crumbs, etc.

  • Lynn

    Sounds great. I have been making coconut shrimp for some time and love the idea of adding the panko bread crumbs. I have been looking around for a good dipping sauce, yours sounds great. One thing I do is prepare my shrimp a day ahead to save time. I let it sit in the fridge overnight and that will set the coconut from falling off. I also saw a great idea for presentation. I cut a pineapple in half and core out the center and fill it with the dipping sauce, my friends are always impressed and it takes no time.

  • Home with Mandy

    This does look really great! if these were to be made as a party appetizer do you think the crispy panko would get soggy sitting out? Should they be consumed right away? What about adding sweetened coconut to the panko?

    The shrimp should stay crispy for a couple of hours ~jaden

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