Spicy Coconut Political Shrimp

Well, John Oliver did a pretty great segment on this a few weeks ago. Definitely watch it if you haven’t already.

In it, he illuminates the fact that the United States and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that don’t offer mothers any paid maternity leave.

I don’t love getting political on this site—partly because it always takes more time than simply saying: This was delicious! You should make this! But when I saw this recipe hailing from Papua New Guinea right around the time the John Oliver piece aired, it felt like a no brainer, classic, recipe-as-political-statement opportunity.

Whenever I get really worked up about this issue, I always think of Luisa’s Motherhood Monday interview on A Cup of Jo. It’s called, “20 Surprising Things about Parenting in Germany” and if you want to cry in frustration, you should read it!

This is the line that really makes me want to become a German citizen: “Self-employed women can take up to 12 months off, at approximately 60% of the previous year’s income.” All I can say is: Dude! That would have been so helpful for me and my family.
As for the shrimp themselves, they were enjoyed by my whole family—even Teddy liked them, though I think the bit of cayenne in the batter gave him a moment’s pause. Maybe I’m just growing up, but I was also surprised at how easily it came together. I associate deep-frying with making a huge mess. But that wasn’t the case with these shrimp.

Oh and lastly, this is another recipe from that issue of Food and Wine I loved so much.

In closing, I would like to announce my candidacy for president of the United States.

I remain,

Your public servant in food and life,


Spicy Coconut Political Shrimp via Food and Wine
serves 4

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined (Unlike I did, get them with the tails still on!)
Canola oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving

In a shallow dish, whisk the flour with the cayenne and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. In a second shallow dish, mix the 
panko with the shredded coconut. Add the coconut milk to a small bowl.

Season the shrimp with salt. Working with 1 shrimp at a time, dredge it in the flour mixture, then dip it in the coconut milk, letting the excess drip off. Coat the shrimp in the panko mixture. Transfer to a plate. Repeat to coat the remaining shrimp.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. In 2 batches, fry the shrimp over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp and cooked through, about 
3 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve hot 
with lemon wedges.
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Matthew said...

I loved these almost as much as Teddy loved helping you cook. xoxo

NicoleD said...

I love that John Oliver took this issue on. I first realized how the US maternity/paternity policies are so different from other countries when David and Luise from Green Kitchen Stories had Elsa a few years ago and travelled for 8 months or so with their new baby. I was like, whaa? That's incredible! Maybe John Oliver's piece will make a big difference. He kinda took down FIFA, right? :)

The Kale Project said...

SO agree! I also feel the same about nursing. We're told to nurse nurse nurse it's best for baby, etc but the US (and western society in general) is so not set-up to support mothers in developing and nurturing a successful nursing relationship w/ their baby. How can you nurse until 6 months if you have to go back to work at 6 weeks? And these look delcious and I will be making the recipe next week!

Amelia Morris said...

@NicoleD I LOVE how he is taking on FIFA too!! The death rate of the immigrant workers in Qatar is beyond sad.

@The Kale Project Amen!! It's so messed up! I had a whole part in there about nursing but I took it out because I didn't have the patience to word it like I wanted. :)

Rebecca Altman said...

I can't vote, but if I could, you'd have it...

Lydia said...

I laughed so much in the post. And John Oliver is so great. Man, that video boils my blood. There's maternity leave in Canada but not for freelancers (that's next level).

Dani Elis said...

Again, Teddy steals the show! :) his expressions are the best!
(you also either have amazing sunlight in your kitchen or use a fancy light :) you're photo's are always lovely)

I also read Luisa's interview and was amazed at the system in Germany!

And these prawns look delicious! Wish we got 'Food & Wine' magazine here, guess I'll just have to enjoy the recipes you share :)

Leslie Chauncy said...

I will go back to watch the document by John and read the article by Luisa but had to stop, RIGHT NOW, to tell you that Teddy is #1 adorable, #2 really involved in what you are doing and #3 has his mom & dad's love of food - it's obvious! Just received my copy of your book that I purchased on Amazon. My husband and I are devouring it. And, Honey Girl, you can make any ol' comments you want - it's YOUR BLOG!

Hugs to all 3 of you! A big fan in California, Leslie

fashion and food said...

Thanks for posting this! I've never commented here but feel compelled. I love John Oliver (as everyone else has mentioned, his takedown of FiFA was so great, and he also really opened my eyes to horrors of fast fashion). I am an American living in Germany, and although I desperately miss home so much, there is no question to leave until I've had children that are of the age to be in school full time. What would definitely be considered perks in the US are normal and deserved rights for mothers AND fathers here. And Germany is even behind Scandinavia in the wonders of parental leave. Once I became an expat I realized both how American I really am, but also how America is so far behind.

Kate Ramos said...

Thank you for sharing that video. You don't realize how ridiculous it is until someone out right explains it. Those shrimp look pretty damn good too. :)

The Wednesday Chef said...

You don't even have to be a German citizen! You just need to live here! Tempting?!? Teddy and Hugo could be BFFs! xo

Mary Anne said...

So do you want to move to Germany with me?? Alternatively, I'll be your running mate!

Sara said...

Yeah, the US really needs to figure this out. Going back to work after 3 months seems insane to me (that's usually what women in my field have). I'm very grateful to be starting my career in Canada. The shrimp look amazing, by the way. And that was a (rare) good issue of F&W.

Jennifer Campisano said...

Haha, I would totally vote for you for President! (But seriously, who would want that job?) And these shrimp might be just the thing to get me to finally take a break from Italian food for a minute.

jackiejenny said...

Your photographer is fantastic! And the food looks incredible too. How do you get such a small child to at least appear to be patiently helping? For my own sanity, I'm hoping that's in appearance only ;)

Amelia Morris said...

@Mary Anne I would love for you to be my running mate! BUT WHO WILL BE MY CHIEF OF STAFF??

@jackiejenny hahahahhaaa His patience is definitely in appearance only! We're going to try and shoot a video this weekend so I will ask Matt to get some of his tantrums on film, just for you! :)