If a recipe calls for prawn or shrimp, and you don’t know how to clean them, then you might be considering pre-cleaned store-bought shrimp instead. But that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Store-bought shrimp is usually not fresh, and it isn’t packed with flavor the way that shrimp from the fish market is.
Fresh shrimp from the fish market is delicious and versatile, and even though cleaning is a time-consuming task, once you learn how to do it, you’ll never go back to store-bought shrimp again.
Did you know?
Shrimps have more than 2,000 different species worldwide which are invertebrates; which means they don’t have a back bone. But shrimps have a hard shell which is transparent and colorless making the shrimp slightly invisible under-water, this shell is also known as Exoskeleton.
It is very important to buy seafood which is not contaminated, infected or damaged. One should be very careful in inspecting the shrimps while buying good quality prawns; one must make sure that the shell of the prawn is translucent, greyish-pinkish tan or light pink. If the skin of the shrimp has black spots on it this indicates that the prawn is not of the best quality.
You can also determine the quality of the prawn by its smell. Prawns should have a natural, ocean-like, salty smell. If the prawn smells overwhelmingly fishy then it is probably spoiled.
DIFFERENT SIZES OF PRAWNS AND SHRIMPS
Prawns are usually classified by three sizes: small, medium or jumbo. Shrimp, on the other hand, can be classified in many sizes and types such as giant tiger prawn, caramote prawn, white leg shrimp, pandalus borealis, and Indian prawn. It is important which size or type your recipe calls for.
CUTS OF PRAWNS
- De-veined tail-on: De-veined tail-on prawns are commonly used for tempuras, since the tail makes it easy to hold onto it and dip it into batter. Sometimes the tail is left on to add visual appeal in the presentation of the dish.
After removing the skin and legs, de-vein the prawn by making a slit alongside the back of the prawn, and pull out the black vein with the tip of your knife or a toothpick.
Butterfly cut is made by dissecting the prawn from the middle and opening it precisely. This cut can be used in garlic prawns, cheesy prawns or battered prawns.
DE-VEINED WITHOUT TAIL
Deveined prawns which are normally used without the tail are an essential ingredient for chili prawns, gravies, coconut prawn curries, pulao etc. The tail of the prawn can easily be removed by breaking it from the joint.