Coconut Shrimp with Watermelon and Fennel Salad
Janine Booth's Coconut Shrimp with Cilantro Key Lime Aioli + Watermelon Fennel Salad
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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Coconut shrimp is a crowd favorite and this particular one of the most popular dishes on our menu at Stiltsville Fish Bar. Because the shrimp are fried in coconut oil they have a beautiful flavor and makes them a little bit healthier. The salad is the perfect refreshing summer salad and so quick to throw together!

Technique tip: Use a candy thermometer to make sure the coconut oil to the correct temperature for frying. 

Swap option: Swap key lime juice for lemon or regular lime. You could use mint instead of cilantro or basil. You can also use agave instead of honey in the both sauces.


  • Coconut Shrimp

    • 1 box kataifi shredded filo dough
    • 12 Royal Red or Key West pink shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
    • 1 quart coconut oil
    • Sea salt
  • Cilantro-Key Lime Aioli

    • 1/4 cup key lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
    • 1 handful cilantro leaves, picked
    • 1 handful basil leaves, picked
    • 1½ cups mayonnaise, cold
  • Citrus Dressing

    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup lime juice
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Watermelon and Fennel Salad

    • 2 cups cubed watermelon
    • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced half
    • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly shaved
    • 1/4 cup marcona almonds or slivered almonds, toasted
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radish
    • Fennel fronds
  • Garnish

    • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
    • Lime slices
    • Cilantro leaves


For the coconut shrimp:

Separate the kataifi removing about 4-5 dozen strands and roll them around the shrimp like a mummy from top to bottom and back again. Place on paper towel lined tray until ready for cooking.

In a large fry pan heat approximately 1/2-inch amount of coconut oil at approximately 350°F over high heat. Carefully add 6 shrimp and pan fry for about 1 minute until golden and flip over and pan fry for about 45 seconds until crispy. Repeat these same steps and fry the remaining 6 shrimp. Season shrimp with salt while hot.

For the cilantro-key lime aioli:

Using a high-powered blender add lime, honey, oil, salt, cilantro and basil. Turn blender on medium-high speed and blend until smooth. Add the cold mayonnaise and blend again until the aioli is bright green and smooth, about 45 seconds.

For the citrus dressing:

Place all ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar and shake vigorously until well combined.

For the watermelon and fennel salad:

In a large bowl, toss watermelon, orange segments, tomatoes and shaved fennel with citrus dressing. Transfer to serving bowl and top with almonds, radishes and fennel tops.

To serve:

Place the hot shrimp on a plate and sprinkle heavily with the toasted coconut. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime slices. Serve the key lime sauce on the side for dipping.

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Summer recipes: Make Janine Booth's coconut shrimp

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