Chinese Coconut Shrimp Recipe Easy Buffet Style

Chinese Coconut Shrimp is a beloved dish that captures the essence of Chinese cuisine with a tropical twist. Rich and creamy, this recipe promises to deliver a delightful blend of textures and flavors, all wrapped around succulent shrimp. Its popularity at Chinese buffets is a testament to its universal appeal, making it a sought-after choice for a comforting meal that offers a taste of indulgence.

A wok sizzles with golden coconut shrimp, surrounded by vibrant green scallions and red chili peppers. A bowl of tangy dipping sauce sits nearby

In crafting this dish, I focus on balancing the sweetness of the coconut with the right amount of savory elements to create a harmonious flavor profile. The shrimp serve as the perfect canvas for the creamy coconut sauce, which achieves a luxurious consistency without overwhelming the delicate seafood. A quick and easy recipe, it is ideal for those evenings when I crave something special without spending hours in the kitchen.

Essential Ingredients

In my experience perfecting the Chinese coconut shrimp recipe, two key ingredients set the foundation for an authentic flavor and texture: the shrimp you choose and the type of coconut cream you use. Managing these components effectively ensures a dish that’s true to its roots and satisfies any discerning palate.

Choosing the Right Shrimp

Size Matters: The choice between large shrimp and jumbo shrimp often comes down to personal preference, but I find that jumbo shrimp provide a more satisfying bite and a visually appealing plate. However, when it’s about flavor and ease of eating, large or medium shrimp are just as good.

Freshness Is Key: Whether using raw shrimp or fresh shrimp, freshness is non-negotiable for that sweet, oceanic taste. If fresh isn’t available, properly thawed frozen shrimp can be a good substitute. But remember, the quality of shrimp is paramount, and fresh will always give you the best flavor.

Understanding Coconut Cream

Coconut Cream: This is the thick, rich extract derived from the flesh of mature coconuts. It lends a velvety texture to the sauce that’s essential for the dish.

  • Flavor Enhancers: For added depth, I suggest incorporating coconut oil to sauté the shrimp, which complements the creaminess of the dish.

  • Additional Coconut Products: Ingredients like coconut flakes, coconut milk, and coconut sugar can adjust the texture and sweetness of the sauce. They can be used in tandem with coconut cream to amplify the coconut flavor without overpowering the shrimp.

By focusing on these fundamental ingredients, I ensure every batch of Chinese coconut shrimp is as rich and tantalizing as the last.

Preparation Techniques

A chef mixing coconut milk and spices with shrimp in a bowl

In crafting Chinese Coconut Shrimp, precision in preparing the shrimp and creating the right coconut mixture are paramount to achieving the authentic flavor and crisp texture. I’ll ensure these processes are approached with care to elevate the dish.

Shrimp Cleaning and Prepping

To start, I select a few fresh shrimp and lay them out on a clean surface. With a sharp paring knife, I carefully remove the shell and devein each shrimp, ensuring they are thoroughly cleaned for a pleasant eating experience. I use paper towels to pat all of them dry, as any excess moisture can interfere with the frying process. Once cleaned, I set the shrimp aside in a small bowl.

Making the Coconut Mixture

Next, I focus on creating the perfect coconut mixture that will coat the shrimp. This process begins by whipping egg whites in a bowl until they are frothy. This provides the base for the mixture to stick to the shrimp. I then combine corn starch, a customized flour mixture, a dash of soy sauce, and some cold water to achieve the desired consistency for the batter. The final step is to incorporate shredded coconut into the batter, carefully folding it in to form the trademark coconut mixture that gives the dish its distinctive texture and taste.

Cooking Methods

A wok sizzles as coconut shrimp fries in hot oil, surrounded by chopped vegetables and aromatic spices

In preparing Chinese Coconut Shrimp, I focus on two main techniques: frying the shrimp to achieve a crisp texture and creating a sauce that complements the seafood’s flavor perfectly. I use specific cookware and adhere to precise temperatures to ensure the dish turns out just right.

Frying the Shrimp

I start by heating coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. This ensures the shrimp get a nice sear without absorbing too much oil. Once the skillet is hot, I carefully add the shrimp, making sure they’re not crowded to achieve an even golden brown crust. I find that hot oil is key to frying the shrimp perfectly; it cooks them quickly and prevents a greasy texture.

Creating the Sauce

For the creamy coconut sauce, I switch to a saucepan and gently warm it over medium heat. I take care not to overheat the oil as this can alter the delicate flavors of the sauce. I prefer a sweet coconut sauce or a creamy coconut milk sauce, which I simmer over low heat to properly meld the flavors. I gently stir the sauce to achieve that smooth, velvety texture which is integral to the dish.

Serving and Presentation

When I serve Chinese Coconut Shrimp, I focus on creating a balance of flavors and eye-catching presentation. Choosing the right side dishes and garnishes can transform it from a regular meal to a memorable feast.


For my Chinese Coconut Shrimp, I often opt for coconut rice to complement the creamy, tropical taste of the sauce. However, for those who prefer something lighter, cauliflower rice is an excellent low-carb alternative that still absorbs the dish’s bold flavors. I also like offering basmati rice which has a lovely fragrance that pairs nicely with the richness of the shrimp.


Garnishes should be more than just an afterthought, as they add both flavor and visual appeal. A sprinkle of fresh lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice brighten the dish instantly. I also add green onions and sesame seeds for a contrasting color and a slight crunch. Occasionally, I’ll include a few slices of red bell pepper for a sweet, crisp freshness and torn fresh basil leaves for a strong burst of herby aroma.

Recipe Variations

A wok sizzles with shrimp, coated in a creamy coconut sauce. Surrounding it are bowls of spices and ingredients, ready to be added to the dish

In personal experience, the versatility of the Chinese coconut shrimp recipe allows for numerous customizations. These variations cater to different dietary needs and flavor preferences without compromising the dish’s integrity.

Dietary Adjustments

When I prepare this dish for those looking for a lighter option, I opt for reduced-fat coconut milk. It delivers the same creamy sweet flavor without the additional fats. To store any leftover milk, I make sure to use an airtight container; it keeps the milk fresh for future use. For those with gluten sensitivities, I substitute regular flour with a gluten-free blend, ensuring everyone can enjoy this delightful meal.

Alternative Flavors

I like to experiment with flavors. Adding a teaspoon of curry powder brings a warm, spicy touch to the dish. When I want a little zest, grating in some fresh ginger adds a lively kick. If a subtler sweetness is desired, a dash of vanilla extract pairs surprisingly well with the creamy coconut. For those who enjoy a bit of heat, I suggest a drizzle of sweet chili sauce on top. On the other hand, a splash of fish sauce can bring out the seafood flavors and add a depth of umami that complements the shrimp exquisitely.

Post-Cooking Tips

After perfecting my Chinese Coconut Shrimp Recipe, I know the importance of proper storage and reheating to maintain the dish’s quality for future meals. Here’s how to ensure your shrimp stays delicious whether it’s for a busy weeknight dinner or a special occasion.

Proper Storage

I always ensure to store any leftover shrimp in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out or absorbing unwanted flavors from the refrigerator. I blot excess oil with paper towels before storing, as this helps to keep the shrimp crispy when I reheat them next time.

Reheating for Best Results

When it comes time to reheat, I opt for the oven to help maintain the shrimp’s crispness. A quick blast at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes typically does the trick. I avoid the microwave as it can make the shrimp soggy. For an even crunch, I sometimes use a wire rack on a baking sheet to allow heat circulation around the shrimp.


When creating the perfect Chinese coconut shrimp, I ensure I pay attention to two key aspects—achieving that golden brown, crispy texture of the shrimp and nailing the creamy sauce consistency. Below, I’ll address common issues and guide you on how to resolve them.

Common Issues When Frying Shrimp

Shrimp Not Crispy: If the shrimp aren’t turning out crispy, it might be due to the temperature of the oil. I ensure that my oil is hot, typically around 350°F, before adding the shrimp. A cornstarch mixture coating can help achieve a golden brown finish. I always coat the shrimp evenly and shake off any excess before frying.

Shrimp Overcooking: To prevent rubbery texture, shrimp should be cooked briefly. I fry them for about 2-3 minutes each side depending on size until they are golden brown. It’s important to remember that shrimp will continue to cook slightly after being removed from the heat due to carryover cooking.

Sauce Consistency Problems

Sauce Too Runny: A common issue I’ve faced is a sauce that’s too thin. I usually start by bringing the sauce to a full rolling boil, then simmer and allow it to reduce to the desired thickness. If it’s still too runny, a cornstarch mixture—a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of water—can be stirred in and cooked until the sauce reaches a silky smooth consistency.

Sauce Too Thick: Alternatively, if the sauce thickens too much, I gradually stir in additional liquid such as coconut milk or broth until the sauce is creamy and smooth. It’s essential to add liquid bit by bit, so as not to make the sauce too thin.

In both frying and sauce preparation, patience and attention to timing and temperature are my keys to success.

Recipe Insights

In exploring the delights of an authentic Chinese coconut shrimp recipe, I’ve noticed that homemade versions often provide a fresher and more tailored eating experience. Now, let’s dive into the culinary context and the benefits of crafting this dish at home.

Culinary Context

The Chinese creamy coconut shrimp recipe stems from a tradition of sweet and rich flavors prevalent in certain regional Chinese cuisines. When I create this dish, I aim to replicate the combined tastes of coconut and succulent shrimp that are often a highlight at a local Chinese buffet or Chinese restaurants. Typically, the recipe involves frying shrimp and coating it in a creamy sauce that harmoniously blends coconut milk with aromatic spices.

  • Ingredients: Usually, the shrimp are first battered or dredged, often using ingredients like cornstarch for a light, crispy texture before being fried to perfection.

    • Batter: A simple mix of cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
    • Frying Oil: Coconut oil is preferred for its high smoking point and flavor.
  • Cooking Method: Shrimp should be fried until golden brown, usually taking around 2-3 minutes per side.

Benefits of Homemade

One of my favorite recipes for homemade coconut shrimp allows for customization. I find that when I prepare the creamy Chinese coconut shrimp recipe at home, I can adjust the level of sweetness or creaminess to my liking, which isn’t always possible when dining out.

  • Freshness: There’s something to be said about the quality of ingredients I choose, ensuring the shrimp is fresh and the sauce ingredients are top-notch.
  • Healthiness: Making this dish at home allows me control over the oils and sugars, potentially lowering the calorie count without compromising taste.
  • Satisfaction: There’s a sense of accomplishment in creating a dish that rivals a restaurant’s offering which for me, enhances the dining experience.

In crafting my rendition of this easy recipe, I closely monitor the sauce’s consistency and adjust the seasoning in real-time, something chefs at a brisk buffet may not have the luxury to do. This personal touch not only enhances the flavor but also ensures the dish resonates with the nuanced palates of those gathered at my table.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I’ll cover some of the most common questions about making a delicious Chinese coconut shrimp dish. Whether you’re curious about ingredients, preparation methods, or pairing suggestions, you’ll find straightforward answers here.

What ingredients are needed for a traditional Chinese coconut shrimp recipe?

To create a traditional Chinese coconut shrimp recipe, you’ll need shrimp, coconut milk, and a selection of aromatics like garlic and ginger. Additional ingredients include cornstarch for battering, and various seasonings such as soy sauce and sugar to enhance the flavor.

Dish NameIngredientsCooking TimeDifficulty Level
Classic Coconut ShrimpShrimp, shredded coconut, flour, eggs30 minutesEasy
Spicy Coconut ShrimpShrimp, shredded coconut, flour, eggs, chili flakes35 minutesMedium
Sweet & Sour Coconut ShrimpShrimp, shredded coconut, flour, eggs, pineapple, bell peppers40 minutesMedium

How do you make a simple and easy Chinese coconut shrimp dish?

Making a Chinese coconut shrimp dish involves coating the shrimp in a cornstarch mixture, frying until golden, and then simmering in a sauce made from coconut milk and selected seasonings. It’s a quick process that results in a flavorful dish perfect for busy weeknights.

What type of coconut milk is best used in a Chinese coconut shrimp recipe?

For Chinese coconut shrimp, using full-fat coconut milk is recommended because it provides a rich creaminess necessary for the sauce. Light coconut milk can be used if you’re looking for a less rich sauce.

How can one prepare Chinese coconut shrimp to reflect buffet-style servings?

To serve Chinese coconut shrimp buffet-style, prepare it in larger quantities and keep it warm in a chafing dish. The shrimp should be coated in sauce and ready to serve, making it easy for guests to help themselves.

What are some side dishes that pair well with Chinese coconut shrimp?

Steamed rice or noodles make excellent sides for Chinese coconut shrimp. The mildness of these options complements the dish’s rich flavor. Stir-fried vegetables or a light salad can also be great accompaniments.

How can I make a creamier sauce for Chinese coconut shrimp?

To achieve a creamier sauce for your Chinese coconut shrimp, consider adding a touch of heavy cream or a spoonful of cornstarch slurry to the coconut milk sauce. This will thicken the sauce and add a luxurious texture.

Chinese Coconut Shrimp

Recipe by kitcheneasylifeCourse: DinnerCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Juicy and fresh shrimp coated in a sweet and crunchy batter and fried to perfection!


  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 cup shredded coconut

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Oil for frying

  • For the dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce


  • In a bowl, mix together the sweet chili sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce to make the dipping sauce. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with salt and pepper.
  • Place the shredded coconut and cornstarch in two separate bowls.
  • Dip each shrimp in the cornstarch, then the egg mixture, and finally coat with shredded coconut.
  • Heat the oil in a deep skillet or pot to 350°F.
  • Fry the coated shrimp in batches for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove the shrimp from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  • Serve the coconut shrimp with the dipping sauce on the side.

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