A younger Mr. N enjoying Florida’s Gulf

To Miss A that is. We held off on shellfish for both of the kids until they reached the age of three. It’s a highly allergenic food to which we have a family history, but now that she’s nearing her third birthday we’re making the slow introduction of shellfish starting with dad’s stateside pick for the night – Florida.

Dad really wanted to make alligator bites tonight, but unfortunately (Read: Shwoo!), we couldn’t find alligator. So we decided to use this as an opportunity to give Miss A a taste of shellfish – something we dined on quite a bit in the Sunshine State. We wanted a tropical kind of selection too, so we chose Coconut Shrimp with an Orange Dipping Sauce (It’s Florida – we have to incorporate oranges!). The kids, both big fans of Florida even though Miss A’s never been there (except when she pretends she’s flying there in her Nana’s kitchen cabinet), were on hand and excited to help tonight, especially with the dipping.

For our breading we used a blend of panko crumbs and wheat germ, an egg and milk mixture, and sweetened coconut flakes.

We started by dipping the shrimp in the eggs, followed by the panko mixture.

Next we did a light dip into the eggs again followed by the coconut.

It’s a messy process, but the kids had fun with it and the shrimp coated evenly.

Next dad took care of heating up some coconut oil.

He fried the shrimp about 2 minutes per side while the kids and I worked on the orange dipping sauce.

Mr. N took care of the spicy batch which used a reduced sugar orange marmalade, stone ground mustard, honey, lemon juice and red pepper flakes.

Knowing that the kids wouldn’t take too kindly to a spicy dip, we had Miss A whip up a mild batch with the orange marmalade, honey dijon mustard, lemon juice and honey.

We then garnished the dips with an orange slice – the kids thought that was fancy.

The shrimp browned up really well, and the aroma – ah…took me to the beach. 

As for the results, the coconut shrimp and dips earned 3 spoons from everyone. Miss A took some coaxing to get her to eat the shrimp, but once she took a bite, she quickly gobbled up the rest of it. Dad thought the coconut flavor was a bit too strong. I thought it was perfect, and would have given them 4 spoons if it wasn’t for the fact that these just won’t become a regular meal option for us. Mr. N liked them a lot, but prefers regular fried shrimp.

The orange dipping sauce was a hit all around as well, and a great match with the shrimp. As for the shellfish allergy issue, Miss A appeared to do well with the shrimp, but we’ll give her a few more shellfish dinners before we consider her allergy free. Now one of these days we’ll have to really get her to Florida.

Print this recipe: Coconut Shrimp

36 comments on “Introducing…Shellfish

  1. A_Boleyn says:

    RE: Sushi

    One of my favourite rolls has crispy bacon and strips of omelet inside as well as avocado (instead of the cucumber strips that are more common).

  2. spicegirlfla says:

    I admire your children’s openness to trying new things. It definitely comes from the parent’s, this is really a great blog for families…but then again, it’s a great blog for everyone as I’m looking forward to testing this out!!

    • A_Boleyn says:

      I agree and having introduced my own nephew to a number of dishes/cuisines that his parents would not have attempted (namely dim sum and sushi) I’m enjoying the vicarious experience of seeing Miss A and Mr N’s reaction to these recipes.

      I think they’d really like the visuals of Japanese sushi … the hand rolls (like ice cream cones with rice and whatever you can think of inside) are great.

      And, when they’re ready for restaurants, take them somewhere where they bring around the dim sum dishes on carts or trays carried by young wait staff. :)

      • ChefMom says:

        What a great idea! We’ve never taken them for dim sum. They’ve gone to a Chinese restaurant with their grandparents and love it, so I have no doubt they’d find that totally fun. We’ve tried the sushi with them too. Mr. N isn’t to excited about it, but Miss A loves it. Her favorites are the miso soup and the ginger. She pops ginger like it’s candy. She also likes the veggie and fruit rolls; not to mention eating with chopsticks! We’ve never ordered hand rolls though – maybe I’ll try those out on Mr. N next time. He might find those more fun. Hopefully Miss A will be restaurant ready soon. Mr. N has always been fantastic in restaurants – since he was 1 he’d just sit for hours and be content coloring or eating. He was just amazing. Miss A, our perpetual motion machine, is a bit more challenging though. LOL. :)

    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks Linda! The kids are really so brave. Certainly a lot more so than I was as a kid.

  3. I added these to my Holiday Round-Up today! Happy almost Fourth of July!

  4. These look so good! I’m allergic to shellfish but not so much to shrimp. I can eat one and I’m fine- although I can feel my throat close up a little and once in awhile I’ll get a hive or two. Feed me a scallop though and I’ll be in the ER…

    • ChefMom says:

      That’s how my grandma was, but the shrimp got to her too. I can’t even imagine. Have you always had the allergy or did it develop as you got older? You can easily make this same recipe with chicken too. It might just take a little longer to grill on each side. :) Thanks for visiting and commenting. Happy 4th!

  5. TasteFood says:

    These shrimp look beautiful. The coconut crust sounds amazing – I love how you included wheat germ.

  6. Caroline says:

    I didn’t start eating shellfish until about 3 years ago. I guess my parents never really exposed me to it, so I always thought I hated the taste. I’m so glad I eventually did, because it’s delicious! Mr. N and Miss A did a great job breading the shrimp. Looks like so much fun. :)

  7. Both the Shrimp and the sauce look like a gourmet treat or something served at a nice restaurant….. looks gorgeous and delicious!!

    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks so much! This was a fun recipe to make. Despite it being kind of a messy process, it was quick and easy! And the kids loved how fancy it all looked.

  8. That looks great. I love shrimp. Doing Florida and California have got to be so fun, with all the fresh ingredients. But you make every state look great!

    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks Greg! When we started this whole thing we were so excited about international recipes, little did we realize we’d have so much fun with state nights too! :)

  9. Mary says:

    Not only does the shrimp look delicious – it’s so lovely seeing your kids having so much fun cooking!

  10. My kids adore coconut shrimp and this recipe looks like a good one. That dipping sauce sounds delicious too. My five year old has multiple food allergies, but luckily shellfish is not one of them. I love the idea of your blog too. It sounds like your family really does have fun in the kitchen. That is something that is very important to me too!

    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks so much! We’re having a lot of fun with it and I’m loving (and surprised by) how much the kids get into this with us. It’s been a fun way to spend time together and I love that the kids are learning more about food as well as different cultures. Food allergies are definitely not fun. I was allergic to dairy as a child and remember having to eat cheeseless pizza while missing out on mac and cheese and milk and cookies. Fortunately I’m over all of that now. I hope that your little one grows out of some of them as well! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  11. A_Boleyn says:

    As I’m not a fan of the coconut/shrimp combination (tried the Red Lobster ones) I’d give it one spoon but kudos on the shellfish introduction to the Little Miss. :) Yeah for the regular fried shrimp.

    Have you thought of fried clam strips … yummy with tartar sauce, and it may be easier to source than the alligator.

    • ChefMom says:

      Oh fried clam strips sound good! I think the kids and Mike would agree with you – they all prefer regular fried shrimp. I love the sweetness of the coconut shrimp though, but I have to say my favorite way to eat shrimp is either as a scampi or cold in cocktail sauce. :)

      • A_Boleyn says:

        I eat shrimp in as many ways as I can … hot over fettucine or linguine in alfredo or a pesto sauces, or in seafood chowder, both hot (tempura) and cold in sushi rolls, and then cold in summer rolls (wrapped in rice paper with noodles, bean sprouts, basil leaves etc). The cocktail sauce is always a great treat and I’ve scarfed down a dozen or so at time one handed while reading.

        Ok, I’m drooling now so I’ll stop.

  12. I’ve never tried coconut shrimp, this recipe sounds like something my family and I would like. I saw that you snuck in some wheat germ! I sneak wheat germ or flax meal all the time in my breadings.
    Your photo’s are beautiful of the step by step directions and most importantly of your cute kids!

    • ChefMom says:

      LOL! I did sneak it in there. I needed some for a recipe and now have a huge jar of the stuff. Figured I should use it. ;) I like the coconut shrimp a lot, but it’s very coconutty (is that a word?), so it’s not for everyone.

  13. Kelly says:

    Look at the gorgeous colour of that shrimp! What a success. Coconut is so yummy but the orange dip takes the gateau for me :) Meanwhile, your kids are too beautiful…

    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks Kelly. :) I thought the shrimp looked great too. Mike was a little more critical of himself and thought they didn’t look so good. I think he’s nuts. They looked and tasted good to me. :) The orange dip was fantastic – and can be kicked up if you want as well.

  14. Love coconut shrimp and I love this recipe. It’s really cool how you’re introducing shellfish to Miss A. I hope she won’t be allergic because she will enjoy shellfish a lot more when she’s older. And might I add, Mr. N kooks adorable in that photo above. Beautiful family.. beautiful food.

    • ChefMom says:

      So far so good…I know shellfish is so much fun. I remember the first time I had shrimp. Sooooo good! My grandma introduced me to it even though she couldn’t eat it. She was allergic, but developed the allergy later in life. She loved the stuff before she couldn’t eat it and I think was happy to introduce it to me.

  15. Charles says:

    How wonderful these look, and those are some fabulous looking shrimps Shrimp is a good one to start kids off with I guess, before diving into the world of things like mussels and so forth – if nothing else the taste is relatively “normal” as shellfish goes, instead of being too fishy (scallops), too much tasting like sand and seawater (mussels) etc. Is there not a test you can have done which tests children for allergies though? I’m sure I read about something which involved 5 small needles and testing for all the main allergy problems – shellfish, peanuts etc.

    • ChefMom says:

      Ah yes, the scratch test. I had that when I was a kid. I’m not sure when the doctors order that – I think to confirm an allergy. In the meantime, we just have to introduce foods one at a time with the little ones. So far so good though – they don’t seem to have any food allergies. Mike and I don’t either, although I was allergic to dairy products when I was a kid. Thank goodness I’m not allergic to them anymore! I’m not sure what I would do without cheese. Shrimp is a good one to start with I think too. So versatile and you’re right so “normal” tasting. Mr. N is also a big fan of scallops and mussels. Oddly he doesn’t like lobster though. We’ll see how Miss A does on our vacation this summer…I’m sure there will be lots of shellfish. :)

  16. Dawn says:

    What a beautiful and colorful dish!!

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