I love prawns or shrimps, be it a prawn cocktail, my prawn spring rolls recipe or salt and chilli prawns. You can normally buy frozen prawns or ready to eat prawns in a wide variety of shops and fish mongers. Here I’m going to explain the process of preparing frozen prawns
Over the years, I’ve tried a wide variety of different prawns from local supermarkets and ethic food shops.
Some of the pre-packed, ready to eat prawns, I’ve found to be disappointing as when you go to cook them, they shrivel up to have their size. If I’m preparing a nice prawn dish, I’ll typically buy frozen prawns that are still shelled. There are a variety of frozen options you can go for, like full prawns that still have the head attached or frozen prawns that have been deveined and de-shelled.
The one that I typically go for is the frozen, headless shelled prawns. You can find these in most Asian supermarkets freezers and they cost between €10 to €20 per 500 grams depending on quality and size. The measurement of size is typically the number of prawns in the box, for instance, 26 to 30 prawns or 31 to 45 prawns per pack. Obviously, the lower the number within a pack, the bigger and juicier the prawn! I will normally buy the 26 to 30 size. They’re a perfect size!
The only thing with frozen prawns is preparing them! I do get lazy and will buy the ready to eat prawns if I’m in a rush but if I have time and am planning a nice meal, I’ll go for the frozen prawns and prepare them myself.
This blog post is about sharing my methods of preparing these frozen prawns, please note that it is a bit of effort, but once you’ve done it a few times, you get used to it. I also prefer frozen prawns as I find them nicer and more flavoursome.
Here is my typical routing of preparing these prawns! Hopefully if you decide to use the frozen prawns next time, you’ll find this blog post useful!
Defrosting the Frozen Prawns
Obviously, being frozen, the first thing to do is to defrost them. You can leave them in the fridge the night before so that they’re ready the next morning. They take about 8 to 12 hours to thaw out. Make sure to put them in a bowl so that the water/ice doesn’t leak all over your fridge!
Once they are thawed out, put them in a colander and run them under the cold tap for a few minutes, give the prawns a rinse to make sure that any residue on them is removed.
Removing the Shell from the Prawns
Once your prawns are defrosted, you’re going to have to remove the shells, unless you plan to cook them with the shell on, at which point, all you’ll have to do is devein them. This part can take a while, so leave on some of your favourite music in the background and just get stuck in. Theres two ways I’ve found that works well, start from the top of the prawn and use your nail to separate the shell from the flesh and pull off or else squeeze the tail and pull the entire shell away from the flesh. It can be time consuming but make sure you get rid of all of the shells from each piece so that you don’t end up with some nasty surprises in your final dish.
Deveining the Prawns
There is a little vein which runs through the inside part of the prawn, you’ll see it as it will contrast with the rest of the prawn or shimp flesh. To remove this, you can either run a knife along the vein and scrape it out or else you can use a tooth pick to tease it out. You can put the tooth pick just behind the flesh and then run it down the length of the prawn. This will bring the vein with it. Another trick I find useful is to run it under a cold water tap to flush out the vein using either method.
Drying the Prawns
After removing the shell and deveining the prawn, just use some kitchen paper to dry them off so that they’re not soaking in water. Once dry, leave them in a bowl covered in cling film in your fridge until you’re ready to use them.