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Prawn is a seafood that is found both in fresh as well as sea water. Prawns are basically a most popular variety of shellfish. The list of seafood recipes is incomplete without prawn recipes. Prawn recipes can be made with either shelled prawn or prawns without shell. Some of the most popular prawn recipes are chilly prawns, prawn risotto and prawn cocktail. The term prawn is also very often interchanged with shrimp that is generally used for very small prawns.

History of Prawns

Though the exact history of prawns is not known it is believed that the earliest fossil records of this shellfish are found in the rocks of Madagascar. These fossils were found around 250 million years ago.

Culinary Uses of Prawns

Prawns are regarded as a well-liked fish among seafood lovers. Prawns lend themselves to a variety of prawn recipes that can be served as appetizers, side dish as well as main dish. Prawns can be cooked in many ways and can be incorporated in soups, fried or grilled snacks. and also in curry, noodles and rice dishes.

It depends on the prawn recipes that the fish should be shelled or de-shelled. It can also be de-veined before cooking. Prawn is one such fish that is widely used to make cocktail. Prawns take very less time to cook and hence prawn recipes come under the category of quick recipes.

Popular Prawn Recipes

• Prawn cocktail – Prawn cocktail is one of the most unique prawn recipes that are well-admired in international cuisine. It is cooked with an assortment of sauces and served in cocktail glasses.
• Chili prawn – It is a hot and spicy dish usually served in Oriental cuisine.
• Prawn risotto – It is an Italian dish that is made with rice and prawns.
• Masala prawn – This spicy dish is a seafood specialty in Indian cuisine. In this dish various spices are used to give flavor to the prawns made in thick gravy.

Cuisines Commonly Making Prawn Recipes

Prawns are widely used fish in Oriental cuisine. Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines are famous for making prawn recipes including prawn fried rice, prawn noodles and chili prawns. Fried prawns are also savored in oriental cuisine with an assortment of sweet and sour sauces.

Indian cuisine is not far behind in using prawns in some of their seafood dishes. Specially, South Indians are fond of prawns and fondly incorporate them in their side as well as main dishes. Prawns curry and masala prawns are some of the popular Indian dishes.

American as well as European cuisines also make good use of prawns. Prawn cocktail, prawn soup and prawn risotto are some of the popular prawn recipes that are well-liked in these cuisines.

Preferred Methods of Making Prawn Recipes

Prawns can be cooked by the following methods:

• Boiled – Prawns can be easily boiled to make soups and other dishes.
• Grilled – Prawns are marinated and grilled in oven or an open grill to make barbeque dish.
• Fried – Usually prawns are coated in a flour mixture and fried to make an appetizer.
• Stir-fried – Prawns are very fast to cook hence stir-frying is the best method to make prawn recipes in order to avoid over-cooking.
• Baked – Prawns are often baked with butter gravy.
• Pickled – Pickling is also a very popular method of preparing prawn dish called prawn pickle.

Nutritive Value of Prawns

• Prawn is a very healthy food as it contains high amounts of protein and low fats.
• Prawn recipes are helpful in providing omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of heart diseases as well as other ailments.
• Vitamin B12 is present in high amount in prawns and minerals such as iodine, calcium and selenium are also found in this shellfish.
• Vitamin E that is beneficial for skin is present in abundance in prawns.
• Vitamins and minerals present in prawn recipes are helpful in the growth of bones and teeth.

Buying and Storing of Prawns

Prawns are available either in shells or without shell. It depends on the prawn recipes that which type of prawns you need. Always smell the prawns before buying; an intense fishy odor is not a sign of freshness. Flesh of prawns should be firm and whitish in color at the time of buying. Head and tail of the fish should be intact and firmly attached, if buying shelled and un-cleaned prawns.

Prawns should be cooked as and when bought. If prawns are not to be cooked in 24 hours then place them into freezer. It is recommended to eat prawns after 1-2 days of purchase.

Type of Prawns

• King prawns – These prawns are also known as ‘jumbo prawns’ due to their big size.
• Shrimps – Shrimp is a kind of prawn that is very small in size.
• Tiger prawns – This is the largest variety of prawns available in the world.

Prawns Trivia

• Prawns are not easily prone to any kind of water disease.