Honey walnut shrimp is a sweet & savory, deep-fried, mayonnaise-slathered shrimp dish popular in Cantonese-American restaurants. This is a Hawaii-influenced adaptation of that concept, using a crisp breading instead of batter, macadamia nuts instead of walnuts, and a rich matcha-infused coconut milk sauce instead of mayonnaise. The result is a lighter, more textured, and more complex dish that still captures the essence of honey walnut shrimp. For an iteration more true to its restaurant origins, use any mixture of Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise (which has a tangier, smoother flavor), sweetened condensed milk, and honey that is to your liking.
Roasted macadamia nuts can be made by stirring equal parts white sugar and water over medium heat to create a simply syrup, glazing the nuts, and then baking them. Alternatively, they can be purchased online – this is a brand that is popular in Hawaii and one that I’ve enjoyed on many occasions.
HONEY MAC NUT SHRIMP // GREEN TEA + COCONUT MILK
- 1 lb jumbo shrimp
- 1 cup panko
- 1 cup flour
- 1 eggs, beaten
Matcha coconut milk sauce:
- 2-3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp matcha, culinary grade
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ cup honey roasted macadamia nuts
Rinse, peel, and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail on. Bread sequentially with flour, beaten egg, and panko, and set aside in the refrigerator if preparing ahead.
Meanwhile, prepare one of two sauces.
- Matcha coconut milk sauce: Gently bring the contents of one can of coconut milk to a simmer. Pre-whisk 1 heaping tbsp of matcha in a small amount of water to avoid clumping, and stir this into the coconut milk. Similarly, whisk 2 tbsp of cornstarch into cold water and stir the slurry into the sauce. Briefly bring the mixture to a boil while stirring vigorously, and then lower the heat and allow the sauce to cool and thicken. Season to taste with sugar and honey.
- Honey mayonnaise sauce: Mix any proportion of Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise, sweetened condensed milk, and honey that is to your taste – approximately ⅓ cup each, erring on the side of more mayonnaise has worked well for me in the past. No heating is required, but the sauce can be briefly microwaved before serving.
When ready to cook the shrimp, heat 2″ of cooking oil until the breading sizzles when tossed in the pan, and deep fry until golden brown – about 3-4 minutes.
Arrange the shrimp on a platter with honey roasted macadamia nuts, minced parsley, and dipping sauce. Serve immediately. If desired, reserve a portion of the sauce in a plastic squeeze bottle to drizzle over the platter. Roasted macadamia nuts may be prepared by glazing with a simple syrup, which can be made by whisking 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water over medium heat, and then roasting for 20 minutes in the oven at 300F until golden brown, or just purchasing commercial honey roasted brands.