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A perfect treat for the palate!

Introduction to Prawns:

Prawns are large, versatile shellfish belonging to the shrimp family. They have an elongated body, ten legs, and are found in both freshwater and saltwater. Known for their delicate flavour and tender texture, prawns are popular in various cuisines worldwide. They can be grilled, boiled, fried, or used in soups and salads. Prawns are a good source of protein, low in fat, and provide essential nutrients. Sustainable harvesting practices are crucial for their environmental impact. With numerous species, prawns feature prominently in international dishes, such as Asian stir-fries and Western-style grilled or cocktail recipes.


Types of Prawns:

There are various types of prawns, each with its own unique characteristics. Some well-known varieties include:

  • Tiger Prawns: Known for their large size and distinctive striped pattern on the shell, tiger prawns are popular in many cuisines. They have a sweet and robust flavour.
  • King Prawns: Recognized for their large size and succulent meat, king prawns are commonly used in upscale seafood dishes. They have a slightly sweet taste and a firm texture.
  • Whiteleg Prawns (Vannamei): These prawns are widely cultivated and are known for their mild flavour and tender texture. They are often used in a variety of cooking methods.
  • Rock Prawns: Found in rocky coastal areas, these prawns have a unique, slightly sweet taste. They are smaller than some other varieties but are prized for their flavour.
  • Spot Prawns: Native to the Pacific Northwest, spot prawns are known for their sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture. They are often enjoyed in the United States and Canada.
  • Northern Prawns: Also known as cold-water prawns, these are found in northern seas and have a sweet and delicate taste. They are commonly used in European cuisine.
  • Brown Shrimp: These smaller-sized prawns have a distinctive brown colour and are often used in traditional dishes such as shrimp cocktails and salads.
  • Deep-Sea Prawns: Found in deep-sea environments, these prawns are known for their large size and sweet flavour. They are often used in high-end seafood dishes.

These are just a few examples, and the availability of prawn species can vary based on geographical location and local fishing practices. The taste, size, and texture of prawns can differ among these varieties, providing a diverse range of options for culinary enthusiasts.

Health Benefits of Prawns:

Prawns offer several health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Here are some of the key nutritional advantages:

  • Rich in Protein: Prawns are an excellent source of high-quality protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues, maintaining muscle mass, and supporting overall growth and development.
  • Low in Calories: Prawns are relatively low in calories, making them a good option for those looking to manage their calorie intake while still enjoying a protein-rich food.
  • Low in Fat: While prawns contain some cholesterol, they are generally low in saturated fat. They provide a healthier alternative to some other protein sources that may be higher in saturated fats.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Prawns contain omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are beneficial for heart health. Omega-3s are known to reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular function, and support brain health.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Prawns are a good source of essential nutrients, including vitamin B12, which is important for nerve function and the formation of red blood cells. They also contain selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties that supports immune function.
  • Low in Carbohydrates: Prawns are naturally low in carbohydrates, making them suitable for low-carb or ketogenic diets.
  • Boosts Iron Intake: Prawns contain iron, a vital mineral that plays a crucial role in oxygen transport within the body. Consuming prawns can contribute to meeting daily iron requirements.
  • Aids in Weight Management: Due to their high protein content and low calorie and fat content, prawns can be a satisfying and nutritious addition to a weight management or weight loss diet.

It’s important to note that while prawns offer these health benefits, moderation is key, especially for individuals with specific dietary restrictions or allergies. Additionally, the method of preparation, such as grilling or steaming instead of deep-frying, can further enhance the health benefits of prawns. As with any food, it’s advisable to enjoy prawns as part of a varied and balanced diet for optimal nutrition.

Uses of Prawns in Cooking:

Prawns are versatile seafood that can be used in a variety of cooking methods and dishes. Here are some common uses of prawns in cooking:

  • Grilling: Marinated prawns can be grilled for a quick and flavourful preparation. Grilled prawns are often served as appetizers or as part of main dishes.
  • Sauteing: Prawns can be quickly sautéed in a pan with garlic, butter, and herbs. This method enhances their natural flavour and is often used for pasta dishes, stir-fries, or standalone appetizers.
  • Boiling: Boiled prawns are commonly used in salads, sandwiches, or as a standalone dish. They can be served cold with a dipping sauce, such as cocktail sauce.
  • Frying: Prawns are often breaded and deep-fried for a crispy texture. This method is popular in various cuisines and is used for dishes like tempura or breaded prawn snacks.
  • Stir-Frying: Prawns are frequently used in stir-fries with a mix of colourful vegetables and flavourful sauces. This method ensures a quick and tasty preparation.
  • Curries: Prawns are a popular addition to many curry dishes, such as Thai red curry or Indian prawn curry. They absorb the rich flavour of the spices and coconut milk used in these recipes.
  • Skewering: Prawns can be threaded onto skewers and grilled or roasted. This method is often used for appetizers, barbecues, or kebabs.
  • Risotto and Pasta: Prawns can be incorporated into creamy risottos or pasta dishes, adding a seafood element to these comforting and flavourful meals.
  • Soups and Stews: Prawns are commonly used in soups and stews, adding a rich seafood flavour to the broth. They pair well with a variety of vegetables and aromatic herbs.
  • Ceviche: In ceviche, prawns are “cooked” by marinating them in citrus juices. This refreshing and tangy preparation is often served as a cold appetizer.
  • Sushi and Sashimi: Prawns are a popular ingredient in sushi and sashimi, either served raw or lightly cooked. They add a sweet and succulent element to these Japanese dishes.
  • Prawn Cocktails: Chilled prawns are often used in classic prawn cocktail recipes, served with a tangy cocktail sauce and presented as an appetizer.

Whether you’re preparing a light salad, a hearty curry, or a quick stir-fry, prawns contribute a delightful seafood element to a wide range of dishes. Their versatility makes them a favourite ingredient in many global cuisines.

Recipes using Prawns:

Indian Recipes

Prawn Curry:Ingredient

  • 500g prawns, cleaned and deveined
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a pan, sauté onions until golden brown.
  2. Add ginger-garlic paste, tomato puree, and spices. Cook until oil separates.
  3. Add prawns, coconut milk, and salt. Simmer until prawns are cooked.
  4. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice or naan.

Prawn Biryani:Ingredient

  • 500g prawns, cleaned and deveined
  • 2 cups basmati rice, soaked
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon biryani masala
  • Ghee for cooking


  1. Cook rice with whole spices until 70% done. Drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté onions until golden, add prawns, tomatoes, and spices.
  3. In layers, assemble rice, prawn mixture, mint, coriander, and yogurt.
  4. Cook covered on low heat until rice is fully done. Serve hot.

Prawn Masala Fry:Ingredient

  • 500g prawns, cleaned and deveined
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Curry leaves and chopped coriander for garnish


  1. Sauté onions until brown, add ginger-garlic paste, and tomatoes.
  2. Add prawns, spices, and cook until prawns are done.
  3. Garnish with curry leaves and coriander. Serve as a spicy appetizer.

Continental Recipes:

Garlic Butter Prawn Pasta:Ingredient

  • 300g linguine or spaghetti
  • 300g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Sauté prawns in butter and garlic until cooked.
  3. Add cream, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Toss with cooked pasta.
  4. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Prawn and Avocado Salad:Ingredient

  • 300g cooked prawns
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine prawns, avocados, tomatoes, and red onion in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over the prawn mixture, toss gently, and garnish with cilantro.

Prawn Risotto:Ingredient

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 300g prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, heated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sauté onions and garlic in butter until translucent.
  2. Add rice and cook until it becomes translucent at the edges.
  3. Pour in the wine and cook until mostly evaporated.
  4. Gradually add hot broth, stirring frequently until rice is creamy and al dente.
  5. Stir in prawns, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Garnish with parsley before serving.


In conclusion, prawns stand out as a versatile and delicious seafood choice, lending their unique flavour to a variety of global cuisines. Whether featured in traditional Indian dishes or continental recipes, prawns bring a blend of taste and texture. With high-quality protein, low fat content, and essential nutrients, they offer both gastronomic delight and potential health benefits. Sustainable sourcing is vital for the longevity of marine ecosystems. Whether grilled, sautéed, boiled, or fried, prawns add sophistication to any dish. Explore the diverse world of prawn recipes for a culinary experience that is both delightful and indulgent.

Dr. Kaviraj Khialani- Celebrity Master Chef, is a Mumbai based food- health & lifestyle consultant. With around 25 years of quality experience with hotels, airlines, consultancy – training & development he is a recipient of several national awards & global recognitions. Chef Kaviraj is specialised in over 33 international cuisines and loves fusion cooking, creating new recipes and sharing his experience with foodies around the globe. He has also been featured on star plus & colors television on several food shows. He may be contacted via email: / WhatsApp- 9820939336.


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