Quinoa Crusted Coconut Shrimp, with fiery red pepper sauce

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(Quinoa Crusted Coconut Shrimp with Feiry Red Pepper Sauce)
Wow, have I been making a lot of desserts lately, or what? It’s about time we had a little savory on our plates!

To balance out all of the sweet treat indulgences, I’ve actually been craving a lot of acidity – things like pickles, and sauerkraut. To me, that means things like tuna salad, and Reuben sandwiches. But these things are not interesting to talk about. So instead, I bring to you this hot little recipe I threw together a while back. The perfect thing to punch up the ordinary, impress your friends, and fire up your taste buds.

Having never made coconut shrimp before, I was quite pleased with myself when I made this. My only mistake was to under-season it slightly, so I’ve noted in the recipe to add salt and pepper to the dredge as well as the sauce.

The only other thing that might make this better would be a coconut-rum cocktail, or other tropical drink. Something sweet to balance the warmth of this dish. Alas, if only I had one!

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Quinoa Crusted Coconut Shrimp with Fiery Red Pepper Sauce
(Makes 4 servings)

1 lb. shrimp, shelled but with tails on
2 eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened, full fat
1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, separated
3/4 cup quinoa
Salt and pepper
1 cup coconut oil, for frying (or other neutral oil)

For the red pepper sauce
3 red bell peppers
3 Fresno chilis (or other fresh red chilis)
3-4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4-12 tsp. sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Extra coconut milk, for garnish (and to add balance to the sauce)

Shell, rinse, and dry shrimp, or thaw and pat thoroughly dry if frozen. Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, along with a pinch of salt and pepper (perhaps a 1/4 tsp. of each), until finely powdered. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut milk. Set aside.
In another dish, toss together the remaining coconut flakes and quinoa. Set aside.

Dredge shrimp in the powdered coconut mixture, then dip into the egg and coconut milk. From there, toss lightly in the coconut and quinoa, and set aside on a plate.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet until glistening. Gently lay 4-5 shrimp in the pan, and let cook for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until golden brown on one side. Flip, and cook for another minute. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, and repeat with the rest of the shrimp.

For the red pepper sauce:
Preheat oven to 425f.

Remove the stem and seeds from the bell peppers, and slice in half. Press each half flat with the palm of your hand, and lay skin side down on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.
Do the same with the chilis, removing the seeds as you feel necessary – remember, that’s where most of the heat is. Remove them all and there will be little to no heat, but leave them in for a kick.
Note: be careful not to touch your face/eyes while handling chilis! I recommend wearing gloves to avoid any unwanted burning sensations.

Place baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the skins have begun to char slightly.
Transfer the roasted peppers to the food processor, and add the garlic and cilantro. Blend until smooth, then add seasonings (and extra hot sauce if you’d like) to taste.

Serve with a drizzle of coconut milk.

And a tropical coconut cocktail, if you have one.

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37 Responses to Quinoa Crusted Coconut Shrimp, with fiery red pepper sauce

  1. Kat April 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    I love the chilis (and amount thereof) in the recipe. The photos are drool-worthy, as always (drooling right now).

    I’m the same way – whenever I make dessert (and taste it), moments later I crave sour cabbage (sometimes even anchovies!) A total 180 on the taste buds but I love it.

    • Willow April 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Indeed, my cravings are all over the place, too! I love that I can enjoy such a wide range of things. :)

  2. Jen @ Juanita's Cocina April 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Me and shrimp go together like…uhhhhh…shrimp and fiery red pepper sauce.

    I want to dip my finger in that sauce now. I want to slather it on everything I ever eat again.

    • Willow April 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Heheh – let me know how that goes. ;)

  3. Teena Mary April 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Gosh!! Loved the shrimp recipe & the spicy sauce!!! I’m definitely gonna try this out :)

    • Willow April 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      Great, I hope you like it!

  4. Soni April 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Gorgeous!!!I love the idea of coconut milk in the batter and the hot red sauce looks very very tasty!!A must try :)

  5. Cassidy April 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Wow! This looks totally amazing. What a fun use of quinoa!

    • Willow April 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      Thank you – that was my goal, trying to find new ways to use quinoa. :)

  6. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes April 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Look at you gettin’ all fancy with the shrimp and quinoa – it is quite a beautiful dish, I think it is hilarious that you just “threw this together a while back” only you could whip up and take gorgeous photos of a beautiful meal in minutes you are like the super hero housewife of the 50’s :)

    • Willow April 18, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

      Haha – that’s such a huge compliment! I wish I were a super hero housewife of the 50’s!

      Unfortunately, I can’t ‘photograph in minutes’ yet. I still fiddle around for ages, curse the lighting, switch lenses, and end up eating cold dinners almost every time. But at least the results look good! :P

    • Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes April 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Thank goodness I am not the only one!

      Before I forget too, I have passed on the Very Inspiring Blogger Award to you- check it out in today’s post! xoxo


    • Willow April 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      Thank you SO much! I’m literally grinning ear-to-ear right now. You made my day. :)

      Great post, too… I am definitely going to have to try that pudding!

  7. Abby April 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    OMG in the first photo I just want to reach out grab one of those shrimpies by the tail, dip it in some sauce and NOM! Looks oh so good!

    • Willow April 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      Heheh – thanks, Abby!

  8. Eileen April 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    I love the quinoa crust idea! I can totally see making a big batch of these as a cocktail snack and just keep eating them until they officially became dinner.

  9. Meg April 19, 2012 at 2:39 am #

    absolutely stunning photography on this site. good job!

  10. From Valeries Kitchen April 19, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    This is a gorgeous dish! I love coconut shrimp and your sauce looks divine.

    • Willow April 19, 2012 at 11:20 am #

      Thanks, Valerie!

  11. JL April 20, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    I came across your nice little corner of the internet last night and was reading some older posts and saw the one about The Spice House in Geneva. First off, LOVE that place (I go to the one on Old World Third in Milwaukee often) and while you might not have one near you did you check to see if you have a Penzeys Spices near you? They were started by the same family, they keep the same grinding practices, and look almost identical, BUT Penzeys happens to be scattered further around the country!


    Sorry for the little late night ramble, just thought you might like to know in case there is actually one in your area!

    • Willow April 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      Wow, thank you so much! It’s good to know people are still reading my older posts, and not losing interest because of the low-quality photos and writing. :P

      I do know about Penzeys, and there is one closer to me than Chicago, but it’s still about an hour away from here. Luckily another fairly local spice shop just opened up in town, which is nice when I need things right away. :)

  12. Ashlae April 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Great recipe, Willow! I’m not a meat eater, but my boyfriend is – and he prefers eating seafood to land animals any day. So, when I can find some great shrimp, I’m going to try this for him. Beautiful photos, as always.

    • Willow April 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      Thanks! I hope he likes it. :D

  13. Dee Kitchen April 25, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    Quinoa and coconut as a crust, tied in with coconut milk and oil – genius! I made a modified red pepper sauce to serve with this dish. Beautifully executed.

    • Willow April 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      Thank you – so glad you liked it! :D

  14. Carole April 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Hi there, this is a really nice post about fish/seafood. It would be great if you linked to it in my Food on Friday series. This week it is about all things fishy and seafoody. Food on Friday

    • Willow April 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

      Thank you so much for inviting me once again, Carole! I’m so happy to participate. :)

    • Carole April 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

      You are such a star for putting up the link. Thank you very much. Soon we well have a nice collection of all things fishy!

  15. The Gloria Record April 27, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    I have some quinoa in my pantry..will possibly make this! looks awesome


    • Willow April 27, 2012 at 3:34 am #

      Thanks – I hope you like it, if you do!

  16. Anonymous May 24, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

  17. Carrie's Experimental Kitchen October 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Good morning! I have featured this recipe on my blog today for my weekly seafood round-up and have linked this recipe to your original post so that my readers will be forwarded to your site. Thank you for allowing me to share! Here is the link: http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/10/seafood-frenzy-friday-week-37.html

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