Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Habanero Chutney

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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For the chutney:

1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
pinch salt
2 cups small diced pineapple
1/2 cup small diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced habanero
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. water

For the shrimp:

2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cup grated fresh coconut
1 cup ice-cold soda water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails left on
1-1/2 Tbsp. Essence or other creole seasoning
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves


For the chutney:

n a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions. Season with salt and saute for 2 minutes. Add the pineapple, red bell pepper and habanero. Continue to saute until the pineapple is soft, about 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the vinegar and the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water and whisk until smooth. Stir the slurry into the pineapple mixture and return the mixture to a boil. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

For the shrimp:

Preheat a fryer to 350F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, egg, coconut and soda water. Mix the ingredients well to make a smooth batter. Season with salt.

Season the shrimp with 1 Tbsp. of Essence. Holding the tail of the shrimp, dip it in the batter, coating it completely and shaking off any excess. Fry the shrimp in batches until they are golden brown, about 4-6 minutes. Remove the shrimp and drain them on paper towels. Season with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. of Essence. Mound some of the Pineapple-Habanero Chutney in the center of each plate. Lay the shrimp around the chutney and garnish with cilantro.

Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.