Tender, healthier oven fried shrimp tops ramen noodles with a deeply flavorful Thai coconut sauce.
A certain sit-down seafood restaurant chain that shall remain nameless ruined fried foods for me in my youth. Not having had a lot of experience with seafood, I ordered a sampler (consisting of, I’m sure, fried shrimp several ways, hush puppies, maybe some kind of white fish). It all tasted the same — rancid, oily batter (yum!). What little I could choke down sent me home with an upset stomach, and a new food aversion was added to my already lengthy list.
Fried food was not part of my family’s Austro-Hungarian culinary tradition, and my mom never fried anything at home, so, this aversion wasn’t any particular loss (and has given me a great excuse as an adult to veto that particular restaurant when deciding where to dine). But the experience did keep me from preparing deep fried foods, even later as a seasoned home cook (mostly I’m put-off by the concept of buying, storing, reusing, and discarding such vast amounts of vegetable oil. Yuck. Shallow frying, good. Deep frying, not so much).
That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t enjoy breading on things. Once I learned how to oven bake “fried” buttermilk chicken, there was no stopping me. Oven baked doughnuts. Oven fried sweet potato fries. Oven fried onion rings. And oven fried shrimp.
I won’t tell a salesman’s white lie to all you deep-fry lovers out there and claim that baking is just as good as crispy, battered somethings fried in oil, but I honest-to-goodness love the crunchy texture of a spiced crumb coating on oven fried food. And the no-mess clean-up can’t be beat.
Oven fried shrimp is crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, and tastes like shrimp all around — the perfect topping to a Thai-inspired bowl of ramen noodles.
One of the things I really love about ramen noodles is how easily they absorb sauces. They’re like long, twisty sponges that slurp up whatever seasonings you throw at them and hand it all right back in a delightful noodle package. I’m a huge fan of Thai cuisine, so, saucy Thai flavored ramen noodles with a little hit of fresh vegetable goodness tossed in for healthy measure is a total win-win.
Spicy, crispy oven fried shrimp over Thai ramen noodles in my favorite format — the bowl (food in bowls, yay!) — was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve had in a while. If you have yet to jump on the oven fried bandwagon, I hope you’ll start with this oven fried shrimp. So easy, so tasty. I think you’ll love it!
- 1 can coconut milk (about 14 ounces), well-shaken
- juice from 1/2 of a lime
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons red Thai curry paste
- 2 teaspoons finely minced lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed (or paste)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off (small or medium)
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup Thai coconut milk sauce (recipe above)
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup cornflake crumbs or regular bread crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive or peanut oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 serrano pepper, sliced (remove the seeds and ribs to reduce heat)
- 1 pasilla pepper, sliced (or use 1/2 of a small red bell pepper)
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large leaves kale, chiffonade
- Thai coconut milk sauce (above)
- 2 packages (3 oz each) ramen noodles
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 6-7 basil leaves, chopped (sweet, Thai, or lemon all work well)
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro (plus a few sprinkles for garnish)
- Add all of the ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. Keep refrigerated.
- Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Place in a bowl and eason with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of the Thai coconut milk sauce and turn to coat thoroughly. Let marinate in the fridge for one hour, if possible.
- Preheat oven to 425° and place a foil-lined baking pan inside for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and spray the foil with a baking spray (or olive oil spray).
- Combine the bread crumbs, coriander, chili powder, and salt and pepper in a wide bowl. Working in small batches, add some of the shrimp to the bread crumbs and turn to coat each piece. Place the shrimp on the hot pan. Continue with remaining shrimp. Bake the shrimp for 10 minutes (no need to turn, since the pan is already hot).
- In a large skillet or cassoulet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots become translucent (just 2 or 3 minutes). Add the peppers, green onions, and kale, and sweat them for a minute or two. Add the remaining Thai coconut milk sauce and let heat.
- In a small sauce pan, bring the stock to a boil and add the ramen noodles. Cook until the noodles just begin to separate. Use a spider or tongs to transfer the noodles to the skillet (don't worry about any liquid you transfer with the noodles). Gently mix the noodles into the sauce and vegetables (they'll finish cooking here and they'll absorb much of the sauce). Add the cilantro and basil and stir.
- Divide the ramen noodle mixture into two individual bowls. Top with the oven fried shrimp, and a garnish with pinch of chopped cilantro.