Sesame Fried Shrimp


This is an old recipe from the Low Country. As you probably know, Low Country cuisine includes lots of shrimp recipes because of the proximity of the coast and the abundance of prawns. You’ll also notice other ingredients common to southern food in this recipe for deep fried shrimp, including buttermilk, cornmeal, and sesame seeds. Surprised to read that sesame seeds are an important ingredient in southern food? The seeds were brought over by African slaves, who were accustomed to eating sesame in a variety of ways. The seeds were also worn in amulets to bring good luck and to ward off evil. When the slaves arrived in the Deep South, they planted the seeds in their small garden plots in order to still be able to enjoy the taste of their homeland.


  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  •  1/3 cup cornmeal
  • Peanut oil

Directions: Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs and buttermilk and add sugar, red pepper, black pepper, garlic salt, paprika, and onion powder.

In a large plastic food bag, combine flour, sesame seeds, and cornmeal. Shake until ingredients are well mixed.

Heat five inches of peanut oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven, over medium heat.

Dip shrimp in egg and buttermilk blend and shake in flour coating. Shake off excess breading.

Fry shrimp at around 360 degrees until light brown – about two-three minutes.

Drain on wire racks or paper towels.