There are several ways to prepare and cook prawns, and many people think cooking them unwashed results in superior flavor. Despite a few anatomical variations, shrimp and prawn can almost always be substituted in recipes. You can get prawns in various forms, including raw, cooked, whole, fresh, and frozen. Although each has advantages, fresh, raw prawns with the head still on are by far the most flavorful choice because the liquids from the head give many shrimp dishes a good, punchy flavor.
Like any other type of seafood, prawns can be prepared in various ways. You can grill, broil, fry, or steam them. You can cook them with or without the vein, depending on your preference and flavor. It can also be prepared with or without the shell. They are used to prepare foods that are savory and are served with the main course.
What are Exactly Prawns?
The term “prawn” refers to a group of small aquatic crustaceans, some edible, with ten legs and an exoskeleton. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, and other Commonwealth countries, large swimming crustaceans or shrimp, particularly those with commercial significance in the fishing sector, are referred to as “prawns.”
The shrimp found in this group frequently come from the suborder Dendrobranchiata. The phrase is less frequently used in North America, typically for freshwater shrimp. Even the phrases “shrimp” and “prawn” are not considered scientific. The phrases have evolved and are essentially interchangeable in modern usage.
Prawns Nutrition Facts
- Prawns are a rich source of Selenium that prevents the growth of cancer cells in the body.
- Like fish, they are also a rich source of Omega 3 Fatty acids, which are very good for the heart and help reduce cholesterol levels and prevent heart diseases.
- They are also helpful for healthy bone teeth because they are rich in calcium.
- It contains vitamin E and so is very good for the skin. And the presence of Vitamin B makes it a valuable food source for good memory and cardiac health.
How to Cook Prawns?
Here are buttery chili Prawns:
- 25g butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Three garlic cloves, finely chopped
- One red chili, seeds left in and finely chopped
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- 12-20 large raw king prawns with shells
- juice one lemon, plus a few slices for a finger bowl
- ½ small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
- small loaf of crusty bread warmed to serve
- Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan together. Fry the garlic, chili, and paprika for 1-2 minutes, or until they turn golden.
- Increase the heat, add the prawns, stir-fry for a few minutes, or until all the prawns are pink after seasoning, and add the parsley and lemon juice.
- Grab a bowl for the shells, add some lemon slices to the warm water in the finger bowl, and dive right in with your fingers and pieces of crusty bread.
How to Choose the Best Prawns?
Purchase two times as many shell-on prawns as you would require shell-off prawns. Avoid any that seem dry or have cracked or broken shells. Fresh prawns should smell and look wet and not have a fishy flavor, whether cooked or served raw.
- Prawns can be bought either raw or cooked. When raw, they are a blue-gray color (sometimes called green prawns). Cooked prawns can be used in various ways and for different meals, even though they can be eaten cold.
- The most popular uncooked prawns to serve are large, juicy king or tiger prawns, either in their shells or without their heads (if the latter, they are called prawn tails). The smaller North Atlantic prawns are commonly marketed whole and uncooked.
- Cooking gives prawns a pink color. King and tiger prawns are both offered for sale cooked, frequently with no heads or shells (except the very tip of the shell). Also available for purchase are cooked North Atlantic prawns, either whole or decapitated; if headless, the shells are normally removed (aside from the very end of the shell).
- Prawns are sold already cooked and come in pink and brown varieties. It is best to select ones that have already been peeled because it is time-consuming.
How to Reheat Prawns?
Here are three different ways to reheat prawns:
- Microwave: It is simple to reheat prawns by placing them in a microwave-safe dish with a lid.
- Oven: A baking dish should be filled with prawns. To protect them, use aluminum foil or a cover. Thirty-five minutes at that temperature in the oven is how long to bake them.
- Stovetop: The pan or skillet needs to be heated up. After adding the prawns gently after the skillet is hot, cover it with a lid.
What are the Health Benefits of Prawns?
Here are the health benefits of prawns:
- A Useful Source of Vitamins: Prawns are a good B vitamin family source, including folate and B12. These vitamins are crucial for producing energy and regenerating red blood cells. About 22 times more vitamin E is present in prawns than in chicken or beef. This fat-soluble vitamin functions as an antioxidant and might offer protection from cancer and heart disease.
- A Source of Important Trace Minerals: Iodine, zinc, and Selenium are some of the most difficult-to-find trace minerals found in prawns. Iodine is required to promote the thyroid gland’s proper operation, and zinc and Selenium boost the immune system.
- A Source of Protective Antioxidants: Due to a substance called astaxanthin derived from the algae that prawns consume, prawns have a pink color. This substance has anti-inflammatory qualities, which may lower the chance of developing some chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. It also offers advantages for the health of the skin.
- May Support Weight Loss: Shellfish, like prawns, are a fantastic source of high-quality, easily digestible protein. It may be a helpful addition to a weight loss strategy because it is low in calories and fat.
- Constitutes One of the Recommended two Portions of Seafood Per Week: At least two pieces of fish or seafood each week, one of which should be an oily fish kind, should be part of a healthy, balanced diet. One of these advised portions includes shellfish, such as prawns.
What’s the Difference Between Shrimp and Prawns?
The shrimp and the prawn are among the least understood of all crustaceans. Some people believe they are the same thing, while others believe they differ in size or simply go by different names in other states, regions, or nations. But all of these folks are mistaken!
Prawns and shrimp are very different animals. Yes, they are both decapods, which means they have ten legs and external skeletons, but that is the only similarity between them. Prawns and shrimp both fall under the Pleocyemata suborder of the animal kingdom. Let’s investigate what this discrepancy signifies.
- Gills: Gills are designed in a way that maximizes their surface area, as you may recall from ninth-grade biology. Prawns have branching gills, where I assume the “branchial” portion comes from, while shrimp have plate-like gills made up of flat, layered patterns.
- Claws and Pincers: The front pincers of shrimp are the largest and have claws on two pairs of their legs. Three pairs of legs on prawns have claws, and the second pincers are larger than the front ones.
- Body Structure: The head, the thorax (the region directly behind the head), the abdomen (the “torso”), and the tail are the four unique parts of the body that these decapods have. Like shingles on a roof, the head and thorax of prawns overlap with the abdomen. In shrimp, the thorax forms a cummerbund-like overlap with the head and the abdomen.
- Habitat: Shrimps can be found in freshwater and saltwater, whereas prawns dwell in freshwater (though most species come from salt water). Fun fact: Shrimp are smaller the colder the ocean they come from!
- Size: Prawns and shrimp are often larger, although species might vary.
- Taste: Anyone who claims that shrimp and prawns taste differently is lying to you. Some prawns are sweeter than shrimp, and vice versa, but this varies per species rather than across all sub-orders.
Choosing Between Shrimp and Prawns
Choose shrimp or prawns depending on the size required by the recipe and whether they were captured or raised in an environmentally friendly manner. For instance, the U.S. fishery for wild-caught shrimp and prawns is well-managed. Additionally, compared to many others, American seafood farms use better methods.
Varied shrimp or prawns undoubtedly have different flavor profiles and attributes, making some kinds appropriate for particular cuisines, along with the size and how they got to the market. When you can, purchase fresh shrimp or prawns rather than frozen, as the latter can develop a rubbery, harder feel when cooked.
It makes sense that “shrimp” and “prawn” are frequently used interchangeably. Both shrimp and prawns are decapod crustaceans, which means they have ten legs and exoskeletons. They also both reside close to the bottom of the water body in which they are found, and their outward look and how they cook are extremely similar. You might be surprised that shrimp and prawns are unrelated to food species. While prawns are a member of the sub-order Dendrobranchiata, shrimp is a member of the Pleocyemata sub-order.
Both saltwater and freshwater are home to shrimp and prawns, although the majority of shrimp species are found in the former, while the majority of prawn species—especially those we buy to cook—live in the former. But what sets one apart is not only where they live.