Food of the World is visiting island nation of Aruba. This is a small nation in the Caribbean sea, 18 miles from the north coast of Venezuela. Aruba is one the four countries that forms the kingdom of Netherlands and the residents of all these four countries are Dutch nationals. Aruba has dry climate and tourism is the main industry in the country.
There are very few online sources for Aruban food. I made coconut shrimp from visit aruba website. I do not know if this is an authentic recipe but went ahead with the recipe as I love shrimp and it was easy to prepare as well, with all the ingredients readily available in my kitchen. I used both jumbo shrimp and 30-40ct. shrimp. The recipe below is for 30-40ct shrimp. The shrimp in the above image are jumbo shrimp and in the below image are 30-40ct shrimp.
Source: Visit Aruba
Total Time: 35 – 40 minutes
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 – 30 minutes
Serves: 2 – 3
- 1 lb Shrimp peeled, with tail on
- 1 – 1 ½ tsp. Black Pepper Powder (I used 1 tsp. check note)
- ½ – ¾ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (this is my addition and check note)
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- ¾ – 1 cup Water (will need less than 1 cup water)
- 1 ½ – 2 cups Coconut Flakes
- Oil for deep frying
- I bought frozen peeled shrimp with shell on. Run the shrimp under running water or leave it in lukewarm water for few minutes to thaw the shrimp. Wash the shrimp, squeeze excess water. Pat dry the shrimp with paper towels.
- Sprinkle ½ tsp. pepper powder, ¼ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. cayenne powder on shrimp and mix well.
- In a bowl take flour, remaining salt, black pepper, cayenne powder and mix.
- Add water and make a batter. The batter should not be very thin. It should not be very thick but thick enough to stay on the shrimp.
- Take coconut flakes in a coffee grinder and pulse it once. I made one batch of shrimp with coconut flakes & did not like it much. I liked the ones with coarsely ground coconut.
- Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
- Once the oil is hot, dip each shrimp in batter, dap in coconut, lightly shake to remove excess coconut and drop in oil. Fry the shrimp on medium flame until shrimp turns brown on the outside and is cooked inside. Fry 5-6 shrimp at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan. Keep turning the shrimp for even cooking. This should take about 4-6 minutes per batch, depending on the size of the shrimp.
- Remove the shrimp and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
- Frying remaining shrimp and I had to do it in 6 batches. If using jumbo shrimp, 1 lb shrimp can be fried in 3 – 4 batches.
- Serve hot with some hot sauce or as it is.
- Spices: I used 1 tsp. of black pepper and felt I could have added more pepper for some heat. Or can add more cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper was not in the original recipe. I knew just black pepper would not be spicy enough for my palette and added some cayenne pepper. One can use chili powder instead of cayenne pepper.
- Oil: Fry the shrimp on medium heat and if the oil is very hot, lower the flame. Otherwise the outer coating will be over fried the shrimp will be undercooked. My first batch of shrimp were brown on the outside and shrimp was undercooked as my oil was very hot.
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