Mastering the Art of Cooking Raw Peeled Prawns
Cooking prawns is one of the best ways to enjoy this delicious and nutritious seafood. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from appetizers to main courses. In this article, we’ll be focusing on how to cook raw peeled prawns. We’ll cover the different types of prawns available, how to select the best ones, and give you step-by-step instructions on cooking them perfectly every time.
Step 1: Choosing the Right Prawns
Before you start cooking your prawns, it’s essential to choose the right type. There are a few different types of prawns, and each has its distinct flavor profile.
The Different Types of Prawns:
- Tiger prawns
- King prawns
- Brown shrimp
- White shrimp
- Black tiger shrimp
- Gulf shrimp
When selecting your prawns, consider these factors:
Factors to Consider When Selecting Prawns:
- Freshness – Look for bright, clear eyes, firm flesh, and a clean smell.
- The source – Try to buy locally sourced prawns or ones with sustainable certifications.
- Type – Different types of prawns taste different and have different textures. Choose based on your preference.
- Cooking method – Certain types of prawns are better suited for specific cooking methods.
Tips for Purchasing Fresh Prawns:
- Buy from a reputable seafood supplier or fishmonger.
- Don’t buy prawns that smell fishy.
- Look for prawns that are firm, not floppy and slimy.
- Buy the prawns on the day you plan to cook them, or freeze them if you need to store them for longer periods.
Step 2: Preparing Prawns for Cooking
Once you have selected your prawns, it’s time to prepare them for cooking. This step involves cleaning and deveining the prawns, as well as removing their shells.
Cleaning and Deveining Prawns:
- Rinse the prawns under cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels.
- Locate the vein that runs along the back of each prawn and use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to remove it carefully.
Removing Shells from Prawns:
- Hold the prawn with one hand and use your other to grip the head. Twist the head off firmly.
- Peel away the shell, starting from under the legs and working your way up towards the tail.
- If the tail is still intact, gently grasp it by its end and tug firmly until it releases from the body.
Step 3: How to Cook Raw Peeled Prawns
Now that your prawns are ready to be cooked let’s dive into how to cook raw peeled prawns using various techniques such as grilling, boiling, stir-frying & sautéing.
Substep 3.1: Grilling Raw Peeled Prawns
Prawn grilling is quick, easy, and perfect for summer barbecues. Here’s how to do it:
Preheating the Grill:
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
- If you’re using a charcoal grill, wait until the coals have turned white before starting to cook.
Preparing the Prawns for Grilling:
- Thread the prawns onto skewers, or place them directly onto the grill.
- Brush the prawns with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper or any desired spices – garlic, cumin etc.
Grilling Methods Tips:
- Grill the prawns for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn pink and opaque.
- Keep an eye on them to avoid overcooking them. Overcooked prawns are tough and rubbery, which isn’t appetizing
Gauging Prawn Doneness on the Grill:
- The most reliable way to tell if prawns are cooked is by their color – they will turn pink once fully cooked.
- If you have a food thermometer, check that the internal temperature of the prawn has reached at least 145°F (63°C).
Substep 3.2: Boiling Raw Peeled Prawns
Boiling is another simple method of cooking raw peeled prawns that’s great for salads or when making soups.
Preparing Prawns for Boiling:
- Add salt in freshwater then bring it to boil in a large pot.
- Lower the heat and add the prawns to the boiling water. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes.
Boiling Methods Tips:
- Cook only until they turn opaque. Overcooking can make them tough.
- Once cooked, remove from the heat, drain and rinse under freshwater to stop further cooking.
Gauging Prawn Doneness through Boiling:
- If you’re using a timer, aim to boil them for 2-3 minutes maximum.
- An excellent way to check if they’re done is by their texture – if they are firm and elastic, they’re ready.
Substep 3.3: Stir-frying Raw Peeled Prawns
Stir-frying is an excellent method of cooking prawns quickly and retaining the flavors. You’ll need very high heat for speedy results in this method.
Preparing Ingredients for Stir Fry:
- Cut your desired vegetables into strips and set aside.
- Briefly marinate your peeled prawns with salt, pepper or any desired spices and seasonings – paprika, ginger or chili flakes work well here
Stir-frying Techniques & Tips:
- Preheat your pan or wok over high heat for at least 1 minute
- drizzle oil then add the marinated prawns to the pan and cook until they start to turn pink. Remove from heat.
- Next, Add the vegetables to the same pan and stir-fry them for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften but not overcooked
- Add the pre-cooked prawns to the pan and mix everything together until heated through.
(Note: You may need to cook the prawns in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and lowering the temperature)
Gauging Prawn Doneness through Stir-frying:
- The prawns are ready once they turn pinkish – orange color. Overcooked prawns will be rubbery and tough.
- Vegetables should be soft but still slightly crunchy. Overcooked vegetables will look mushy and lack in flavor.
Substep 3.4: Sautéing Raw Peeled Prawns
When you want your prawn dish to come together quickly, sautéing is an excellent method to use.
Sautéing Techniques Tips:
- Heat a large frying pan on medium heat with desired cooking oil for 2-3 minutes until hot
- Add the peeled prawns first, to cook on both sides for about 2-3 minutes until they start turning pink.
- Next, add any vegetables of your choice – like diced onions or sliced bell peppers – toss them together with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
- You may also sauté some garlic in butter/oil to add aroma if desired.
(Note: Ensure that you don’t overcrowd the pan because this could crowd the heat, in return making it difficult for them to develop that golden crust)
Preparing Prawns for Sauté t:
- Add salt and any other desired seasonings – cumin or paprika – and let them cook for another 2 minutes until everything is cooked through
- Remove from heat, and you’re ready to serve.
Gauging Prawn Doneness through Sautéing:
- Check for their color – remember that when they’re fully cooked, they should turn pinkish-orange.
- They should also feel firm to the touch, which indicates that they are done.
Step 4: Serving Cooked Peeled Prawns
Congratulations! You’ve successfully cooked your prawns using different cooking methods. It’s now time to serve them. When it comes to presenting the cooked prawns on your plate, there are a few ways to go about it.
Plating Ideas and Presentation Tips:
- Serve them on skewers as an appetizer or over grits, pasta or cauliflower rice as a main course.
- Garnish with fresh herbs such as dill or parsley for a pop of extra flavor
- Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over them before serving to elevate the taste.
Ideal Side Dishes to Serve with Peeled Prawns:
- Mixed greens salad with cherry tomatoes
- Balsamic grilled vegetables such as zucchini and eggplantsCreamy lemon risotto with asparagus
Cooking raw peeled prawns is not only easy but tasty too. We hope this article has given you useful insights into the process of choosing the right prawns, how to prepare them for cooking, and different methods of cooking peeled prawns. Remember to follow our tips and trust your instincts, and you’ll have perfectly cooked prawns every time! So next time you walk into a seafood shop or grocery store to pick a bag of raw peeled prawns, do not hesitate to try out these cooking techniques and ideas.
Can I cook raw peeled prawns immediately after thawing?
Yes, you can cook raw peeled prawns immediately after thawing. Thawing in the refrigerator overnight or placing them in cold water for a few minutes are the recommended methods.
What is the quickest way to cook raw peeled prawns?
The quickest way to cook raw peeled prawns is by stir-frying them. Heat a non-stick pan with a little oil, add the prawns, and toss them until they turn pink and slightly browned.
Do I need to devein the prawns before cooking?
It’s recommended to devein the prawns before cooking for hygiene purposes. You can slit the back of the prawn with a knife and remove the vein. Alternatively, you can also rinse them under cold running water to clean out any debris.
How do I know when my prawns are fully cooked?
When properly cooked, your prawns should be pink and opaque. The flesh should appear firm, rather than mushy or translucent. A good test is to cut one in half; if still slightly gray in the middle, they need more time.