How to Cook Prawns

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Prawns can be cooked in a variety of styles.
Prawns can be cooked in a variety of styles. (Image: prawn image by ivan kmit from Fotolia.com)

Prawns are cooked in a number of ways. They can be cooked with or without their shell. They can be deveined. Popular prawn cooking methods include grilling, steaming, baking and sautéed or deep-frying. Boiling prawns is probably the most popular and easy method of cooking them. This method requires just a few minutes. Some stores even sell prawns that are already slightly cooked. The particular way you chose to cook your prawns depends on your taste and desired recipe. Choose small cold-water prawns, as these are more succulent and tasty. They do well for salads and sandwiches. Larger prawns are very rich in flavor and suit meals with strong spicy flavors, such as oriental dishes.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean cooking pots
  • Prawns
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Spice (optional)

Defrost frozen prawns to make them ready for cooking. There are two proper ways to do this. One method requires that you remove prawns from their pack and place them in a bowl. The bowl should be covered and placed in the refrigerator all night to defrost. The second method involves wrapping prawns in a tight waterproof packing such as cling film. The package should be placed in a sink or container of cold water. Using this method, you could defrost a pound of frozen prawns in an hour.

Boil water. Put a clean pot on the burner and put enough water to cover the amount of prawns you will add. Two tablespoons of salt should be added to the water as you bring it to a boil.

Twist the prawn heads and pull them off if you want to shell them. Pull off the legs and lift the shell back while holding onto the prawn tail. Scissors can be used to shell the prawns. Cut through the middle of the shell, peel off the shell from both sides and remove the head.

Put the washed prawns into the pot of boiling water. Reduce the heat and allow them to simmer for 3 to 6 minutes. When the prawns turn opaque or translucent and float on the boiling water they are cooked. You can cut a prawn in half to check.

Cool off the prawns. Remove the cooked prawns from heat and allow them to run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Some people may choose to serve and eat prawns as soon as they cool off.

Serve cooked prawns by themselves or with another dish. Many add prawns to other dishes, while some use prawns to garnish meals.

Tips & Warnings

  • The method outlined above used only salt to season the cooked prawns. Many other spices could also be used, such as garlic, olive oil and wine.
  • Small prawns require about 3 to 4 minutes to cook, large prawns 5 to 8 minutes and jumbo-sized prawns at least 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Be careful not to overcook prawns.

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