Apricot-Ginger Dipping Sauce:
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 jalepeno pepper, seeds discarded, minced
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lime juice
Coconut Shrimp Lollypops:
- 1 coconut, or 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup beer
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 egg
- 12 shrimp (16 to 20 count) shelled and deveined
- 12 bamboo skewers, approximately 5 inches
- 3 to 5 cups peanut oil, or vegetable oil
Pierce the soft eye of the coconut and drain the coconut water. Reserve.
Crack coconut in 1/2 using the back of a cleaver.
Separate the coconut meat from the shell. Use a pairing knife to remove the brown skin from the meat. Using the finest part of your grater, grate 2 cups of coconut .
Pour coconut water in a measuring cup and if necessary top off with beer until you have 3/4 cup of liquid. Reserve. If you are using store-bought shredded coconut (and consequently do not have any coconut water) replace mixture with 3/4 cup of beer.
In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut water/beer mixture, baking soda, salt, cayenne, and egg. Beat until it is smooth. Add a bit more flour or beer, if necessary, so that the batter has the consistency of thick pancake batter.
Tightly wrap each shrimp like a pinwheel (with the tail end of the shrimp on the outside) and skewer 1 shrimp on the end of each skewer. Use a paper towel to pat the shrimp dry.
Pour oil into a small, tall pot until it is 3 inches deep. Heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees F (see oil dissertation below).
While oil is heating, dip each shrimp into the batter, then dredge into the coconut shreds so that the entire "lollypop" is covered in coconut shreds.
When oil is ready, submerge 4 shrimp at a time into oil (with the skewers sticking out of the pot). Fry for approximately 1 minute, or until coconut is a golden brown, rotating the top of the skewer once or twice. Remove and place lollypops on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Skim any wayward coconut shreds from the oil. Adjust heat so that it is 350 degrees F again and continue with next batch. Serve with apricot dipping sauce. For a creative presentation, stick skewers into an upturned pineapple or melon 1/2 and/or serve the dip in a coconut 1/2 (the side without the hole!)
*An important note on cooking with oil:
Oil temperature is very important. If it is too high, food burns, too low and it turns out greasy. if you do not have a thermometer, stick a 1/2-inch cube of bread on a skewer and dip it in the oil. If the oil bubbles, but the bread doesn't brown, continue heating oil. If the bread browns instantly, the oil temperature is too high. If the bread turns into a golden crouton in 5 to 10 seconds, you are set to fry.
Hot oil is very dangerous. Never leave it unattended on the stove and do not heat over a high flame for an extended period of time. The best way to put out an oil fire (God forbid) is to smother it with a tightly fitting lid.