I still remember my first dinner date with my husband. He took me to a small Chinese restaurant and ordered a plethora of delicious dishes, including honey walnut shrimp. I never had honey walnut shrimp until that night, and boy, did I love it. It’s actually a quite simple dish, just stir-fried shrimp with walnuts. But the crispy battered seafood coated in a sweet sauce was so satisfying. It was memorable enough that now I always crave the dish. In honor of the original dish, I put my own “healthier” twist on to create honey walnut coconut shrimp. It’s different from the original recipe but still equally delicious!
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The original honey walnut shrimp requires you to fry shrimp and toss it in a mayonnaise and condensed milk sauce with candied walnuts. When I first discovered that there was condensed milk in the dish, I gasped. It was no wonder the shrimp was so good! But this realization also made me think twice about regularly ordering the shrimp. And so, here we are, vamping up the seafood to make it healthier.
To make this honey walnut coconut shrimp, first, make the walnuts. I added sesame to the mix just to make it a little fancy. Toast the walnuts and sesame seeds in a pan with honey and water, stirring until the nuts are toasted and browned. Immediately transfer the nuts to wax paper, spread them out, and let them cool. You can also make the nuts days in advance.
Next, make the coconut sauce. To make this recipe healthier, I swapped out the condensed milk for coconut cream and decreased the amount of mayonnaise. Whisk the two together with a touch of honey and set it aside.
Now for the shrimp. Make the batter by whisking together egg whites and cornstarch until well combined. Pat dry the shrimp to ensure that the batter will stick and dip it in the egg white mixture.
Instead of deep-frying, we’re going to pan-fry the shrimp. Cook them on high heat until pink on both sides, then toss the shrimp in the honey coconut sauce. Finish the dish with more sauce if desired, top with the sesame walnuts, and sprinkle chopped scallions.
So what is the verdict on this honey walnut coconut shrimp? I’ll be frank, it’s not like the original honey walnut shrimp. It doesn’t have that rich mayo-condensed milk sauce that coats your mouth BUT the honey and coconut sauce works beautifully with the lightly battered shrimp. Plus, the sesame walnuts add that touch of sweetness, complementing the shrimp perfectly. I would gladly eat this any day over the original recipe!
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