Deep-fried coconut prawns

If you have been anywhere by the sea in the Yucatan peninsula you will have had these deep-fried king prawns with a coconut batter. Curiously to me, they often come with an apple sauce, but less frequently they’re served with a papaya and habanero dipping sauce, which I like. The other problem is the batter is often too sweet, so this is my version with no sugar.


  • 24 raw king prawns, peeled, tails on (about 600g/1lb 5oz frozen raw shell-on prawns)

For the batter

  • 175g/6oz plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 150ml/5fl oz ice-cold water
  • 60g/2¼oz panko breadcrumbs
  • 60g/2¼oz unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 600ml/200fl oz corn oil, for deep frying
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the papaya dipping sauce

  • 1 large papaya, skin and seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • ½–1 habanero chilli, stem and seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 banana shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 thin slices fresh root ginger, skin removed
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 orange, juice only
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 large pinch ground allspice
  • ½ tsp salt
Deep-fried coconut prawns

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