Coconut Macadamia Shrimp with Chili Lime Sauce

Five look good on a plate. You’ll want to eat more than that.

These shrimp are simple to make, delicious, and completely spirit-of-the-law paleo. If you want to eat these at every meal for the rest of your life, there isn’t a pretentious paleo guru in the world who’ll be able to say word one about it. Just eat a salad or something with them.

The sauce is mostly lime juice and spices, but it has a little honey for taste and a little arrowroot powder for consistency. Unless you mistake it for a beverage, you can pretty much have it any time and not worry about it. I definitely wouldn’t put it in the indulgence category.

Ingredients

Coconut flour is a little hard to find. Also, don’t mistakenly use sweetened shredded coconut.

For the Shrimp
1 pound peeled, de-veined shrimp
1/2 cup macadamia nuts (I used roasted and salted. If you use unsalted, you might need to add a little salt.)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/4 to 1/2 cup of coconut oil (for frying)

I know this picture only has three limes. That’s because I took it before I realized that I’d need five.

For the Sauce
Juice from 5 limes
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp honey
1 tsp arrowroot powder

Equipment
Food Processor
Two Small Plates
Small Bowl
Pan
Small Pot
Whisk
Tongs (to grab the cooking shrimp)
Some sort of draining rig (a draining rack or some paper towels on a plate work well)

The majority of the work in this recipe is in assembling the breading for the shrimp. Start by putting the macadamia nuts into the food processor and pulsing them until they look like coarse crumbs.

Food processors are absolutely key in the paleo kitchen.

Add the shredded coconut to the food processor, and pulse a few times, just to mix the coconut and macadamias together.

Do not over-process. You’ll make a weird coconut macadamia butter that will be useless for anything I can think of.
Break the egg into a small bowl and add 1 tbsp of water to it. Mix the water into the egg like you’re scrambling it. Place the coconut flour onto one small plate, and place the coconut and macadamia nut mixture onto another small plate.
If you put them in this order (flour, egg, breading), you can just go left to right with each shrimp. Fancy french people call this kind of thing “mis-en-place.”
You’re about to start frying the shrimp, so you need to put about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of coconut oil into a pan and start heating it over medium heat. It will become liquid as it gets hot.
You want enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of your pan about 1/4 inch deep. The actual amount will vary with the size of your pan. I trust you to do the right thing.
Bread the shrimp one or two at a time. 
For each one, do this: 
  1. Dredge the shrimp in the coconut flour – you want a very light covering, not too much
  2. Next, dip the shrimp into the egg.
  3. Dredge the egg-covered shrimp in the macadamia nut and coconut mixture. You want some to stick to the entire surface
  4. Put the shrimp into the pan

Repeat those steps until you have about six shrimp in the pan. Then it will be time to turn the first shrimp so that it can cook on its second side. Every few seconds, turn the next shrimp until all of them are cooking on their second side.

The three on the top have been flipped, and they’re good examples of the color you want to see on both sides when the shrimp are done.

When the shrimp are a nice golden color on both sides (you’ll have to lift them up to check the second side) take them out of the pan and put them either onto a draining rack or a paper towel to let any excess oil drain off.

Repeat the breading and frying steps until you’ve cooked all of the shrimp. Leave them to drain while you make the sauce.

There are only two steps to make the sauce.

  1. Put the lime juice, red pepper flakes, cumin, arrowroot powder, and honey into a small pot
  2. Heat the pot over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and clears up a little (it will take about 1 to 2 minutes)

Notes

  • If you cover the shrimp with too much coconut flour, the breading will separate from the shrimp. You want a very light dusting.
  • Because I used salted macadamias, I didn’t have to add any more salt to the breading. If you use unsalted nuts, you should probably add about 1/2 tsp of salt to the nuts when you put them in the food processor.
  • Be careful when processing the macadamia nuts. You should just pulse them about 10 to 15 times. If you go crazy with the food processor, you’ll very quickly end up with macadamia nut butter.
  • I had breading left over. It was probably enough to do another 1/2 pound or so of shrimp.
  • I’ve seen recipes similar to this one that said you could bake the shrimp. I haven’t tried it, but my guess is that you’d want to do it at about 400 degrees, and check the shrimp after about 10 minutes. That’s just a guess though.
  • Shrimp don’t take very long to cook. You’re looking for the meat to go from blue and translucent to pink and white.
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