The Panamanian SLAWB ™ with Sweet Caribbean Slaw and Coconut Fried Plantain Shrimp


What’s a SLAWB ™, you may ask? Read about it here!

I was forced to love certain things when I moved to Panama, like humid-shirt-sticking-to-your-back weather, crazy dirt roads, and lots of fresh produce and fish (yes I know, I had a really difficult life.)

The fruit was super delicious there, especially the mango and coconut. While walking to the school’s kitchen, I would often reach up to a nearby tree to grab a mango to snack on the journey. Isn’t that kind of nuts and absolutely wonderful? The coconuts, not as easily eaten, were sold in the form of chichas, cold fruit drinks, along the side of the road.

And of course there were plantains a plenty! They are prepared every which way, but my favorite was in the form of patacones, or fried green plantains.

I also can’t think about Panamanian cuisine without my mind directly going to fish. I mean, the whole country is nearly surrounded by water, and two different oceans at that! Shrimp and sea bass are huge down there, but all the fish are incredibly fresh and yummy.

So naturally, when developing a Panamanian version of the SLAWB ™, I had to include those three ingredients. The slaw is a great flavor representation with the mango and coconut. And because of the USA influence over there, I thought it’d be fun to add raisins, which adds a bit more needed sweetness and contrasts the hint of spice from the cayenne pepper.

Plantains are blended into a rich and creamy batter for the shrimp, which are ultimately covered in coconut before pan-frying. Pair the decadent shrimp with the sweet slaw, and you’ll have a little taste of Panama!

Panamanian SLAWB ™
with Sweet Caribbean Slaw
and Coconut Fried Plantain Shrimp

Serves 4

For the Sweet Caribbean Slaw:
– 1 lb. napa cabbage, sliced very thin
– 1 medium mango, peeled, pitted and cut into small bite-size pieces
– 1/2 cup raisins
– 1 Tbs. chives, sliced thin
– 1 individual sized container of coconut Greek yogurt (5.3 oz), like Chobani
– 1/8 tsp. chili powder
– dash of cayenne pepper (adjust to your desired heat)
– pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix until yogurt and spices are fully incorporated.


For the Coconut Fried Plantain Shrimp:
– 1 yellow matured plantain, peeled *
– 2 Tbs. water
– 2 tsp. cornstarch
– pinch of chili powder
– pinch of cayenne powder
– 1/8 tsp. salt
– 16 raw jump shrimp, peeled and devained
– 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
– 2 Tbs. coconut oil

Put the plantain, water, cornstarch, spices, and salt into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Remove the blade.

Plantain Batter

Lay out the coconut on a dish. Dip the shrimp in the batter until lightly coated, then dredge it through the coconut.

Heat the coconut oil over medium heat, and in batches, fry each side of the shrimp until the coconut is toasted, about 45 seconds on each side.

Fried Plantain and Coconut Shrimp

* Plantains are eaten both in their green “unripened” state and in their more mature, yellow state. When they’re green, they are starchier, and when yellow, they become softer and sweeter.

To Assemble the Panamanian SLAWB ™ :

Slice your 4 rolls in half (I used Portuguese rolls) and scoop a hefty portion of sweet slaw. Top with four coconut and plantain fried shrimp, and take a bi ol’ bite!