Prawns, shrimps, gambas, basically they are the same animal, or crustaceans to be perfectly correct. When you feel a Paul Hogan kinda moment coming on, prawns are perfect for chucking on the barbie on a hot arvo having a few funnies with good mates. Prawns are just so pretty, sweet and sort of like tiny piles of dragons. Interestingly enough, all prawns are born and reproduce as males for a season or two before transforming into females. Apparently they mate just after the females molt and get if on by having a roll in the seaweed, a bit of live sushi going on there.
In Biblical times, some old bloke wrote a book called Leviticus where it is declared that the flesh of marine animals that do not have scales or fins are “unclean” and are an “abomination”. Along with eating any animal which walks on all fours and has paws (which is good news for cats), sleeping with another man’s slave and getting tattoos. There you go…….not too sure whether the Lord will just be angry at everyone or you will be stoned to death. I’d certainly take the chance of enjoying a delicious tapas of prawn happiness that is known as Gambas al Ajillo. I never knew God hated prawns.
Bonza little shellfish though, high in protein, low in calories, easy to prepare and tastes great,
Extremely low in calories, but higher than average amounts of cholesterol but they don’t lead to higher cholesterol levels in the body due to their healthy fat profile.
They can be time consuming little buggers with all that shelling and de pooh lining you have do which is really rather disgusting. And what’s more I find it quite alarming the dubious pleasure some people get out of eating prawn heads. I’m talking about carefully peeling the prawn to reveal the succulent nugget of white flesh inside, yum, yum…….anticipation overload, only to find your fellow diner pulling off the head and sucking all the brain juice out. Sucking prawn heads is right up there with eating pigs feet, lamb’s brains and anythings testicles.
But, dear Islanders we love em, eh? I hope you can have a bit of enjoyable frolicking in the galley with the following recipes…..
Spicy Prawn Carpaccio
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1.2kg uncooked large prawns, peeled, deveined. Heads and shells reserved for prawn oil
Juice and thinly peeled rind of 1 lime
1 long red chilli, finely chopped Prawn oil
1 cup (250) grape seed oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in small saucepan over medium heat, add onion, celery and garlic stirring occasionally until tender (4- 5 mins), chuck in the tomato paste. Stir occasionally until paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Add your prawn heads and shells breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon until coloured. Add bay leaves, peppercorns 250 ml of water, bringing them to a simmer, then add remaining oil and simmer until well flavoured and infused (1 and a half hours) ladle oil from surface into a jug (discard liquid and solids), then strain oil through a fine sieve.
Refrigerate until chilled. Prawn oil will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks.
Then dry roast the coriander seeds for about 30 seconds or when they begin to crackel and
become fragrant. Set aside to cool. Slice those prawns very thinly lengthways and arrange on a serving plate (a black slate dish would look fabulous). Finely cut the lime rind, scatter over the prawns, then squeeze lime juice all over. Now scatter this elegant masterpiece with the coriander seeds, chilli and sea salt. Flamboyantly drizzle a little prawn oil over and wait for the applause. Beautiful.
Spicy Prawn Soup
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
300g crunchy stir fry veges
140g shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
400g coconut milk
200ml fish stock
300g medium straight to the wok noodles
200g large raw prawns
Heat wok, add oil, then stir fry the veg and mushrooms for about 2 – 3 mins. Set aside. Chuck curry paste in and fry for a minute. Pour coconut milk and stock in. Bring to boil, drop noodles and prawns in then reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes until prawns are cooked. Easy peasy…..
Yummy Coconut Prawns
8 large king prawns, peeled, deveined, tails intact
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole egg mayo
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
Using the palm of your hand, slightly flatten prawns. Place flour in a bowl. Add prawns.
Toss to coat. Now, whisk egg and 2 tablespoons cold water together in a shallow bowl. Combine coconut and breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip 1 prawn in egg mixture, then breadcrumb mixture. Place on a plate.
Repeat with remaining prawns, egg mixture and breadcrumbs.
Heat oil in a large frying pan and shallow fry prawns for 2 minutes on each side until golden
Make aioli by placing mayo, garlic and lime rind in a bowl, mix
Malai Prawn curry
1/8teaspoon cardamom seeds
6 whole cloves
2 inch cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons verge oil
8 whole cloves
8green cardamom pods
2 onion, grated
3 teaspoons ginger paste
3 teaspoons garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup finely chopped tomato
1 cup water
2 cups coconut milk
1 kilo tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon ghee
In a coffee grinder blitz the cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks to a fine powder. Set aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the 8 cardamom pods, the cloves and
cinnamon and fry for a few seconds. Stir in the grated onion and reduce heat to medium low. Cook and stir inti, the liquid dries – about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic paste and cook for about 2 mins, stirring all the time.
Stir in the turmeric and cayenne pepper. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 5 mins. Pour in the water, cover and cook for a further 5 mins.
Then pour in the coconut milk and stir well. When the mixture is just below boiling, stir in the
prawns. Sprinkle the mixture with almost all of the garam masala, stir gently to combine. As soon as the prawns are pink and cooked they – 3 – 5 mins. Remove pan from heat. Sprinkle over reserved garam masala and serve. Verily nice.
On a last note, you may think I’m coming the raw prawn with you, but in my mindless searching on the internet I found an amusing slang meaning for prawn, namely a person with a hot body but a revolting head – ya eat the body and throw the head away.