My favorite seafood recipes are cooked with shrimp and I have collected several here on this page.
But first of all, what is the difference between shrimp and prawns? Although technically they belong to different
biological categories, the terms shrimp and prawns are used interchangeably in the English language. Sometimes the
word shrimp is used to refer to saltwater version and the word prawn might be used only when labeling freshwater
shrimp. Other times, the word prawn refers to much larger shrimp that the term “jumbo shrimp” also describes. “Prawn”
is used more in the UK. and Commonwealth countries like Australia while shrimp is more a North American term.
Whatever you call them, they are delicious when prepared properly by baking, boiling, frying or grilling.
Many cultures around the world use shrimp often in their cuisine. Dried shrimp paste commonly used as a
curry flavoring and as for a soup base in Asian cuisines. Fried shrimp is probably the most popular way shrimp is
cooked in North America. Shrimp dishes are very popular in Europe in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian cooking.
You have to be very careful when you are cooking shrimp since they are so easy to over cook. Overcooking
shrimp is like overcooking the white meat of a chicken – it happens so fast and the shrimp will be very tough and lose
its delicate sweet flavor. You need to add your shrimp to any dish near the end of the cooking process so that they
do not spend too much time under heat. Cook your shrimp only until they turn from their gray translucent color to an
opaque pink. When boiling, shrimp will turn pink and float to the top of your pot when done.
The same care is needed when defrosting frozen shrimp. They should never be defrosted in hot water, by
room temperature or be re-frozen, to prevent growth of bacteria and to ensure that you don’t get soggy shrimp.
Never use a microwave to thaw shrimp as the timing is too difficult to control, you will get bits of cooked shrimp and
you will have moisture and consistency problems. The best way to defrost shrimp is to thaw them in the refrigerator
overnight in a bowl of cold water. That way, you control their moisture content when they are ready. Slow and steady
defrosting is best.
I was surprised how much shrimp flavor comes through by simply cooking with empty shrimp shells. I learned
this from my Thai cooking school teacher when she taught me how to make Thai lemongrass soup with shrimp. You
could actually skip the shrimp in this soup recipe, and discard the shells after simmering them in the lemongrass
broth, and still appreciate a full shrimp flavor in the soup.
Making spring rolls by hand is very labor intensive, but the rewards are great. I get my daughter to help me
make the filling and stuff my shrimp spring rolls so it becomes a fun job that we can do together. We sometimes
make these with no meat, or sometimes with some ground pork, but when we add some ground shrimp to the filling it
really makes a big taste difference.
I guess when I think about it, all of my shrimp recipes are Thai recipes. Don’t pass by my shrimp pad Thai
recipe which you can make with either chicken or shrimp. The rice stick noodles and the Asian fish sauce are the
only special ingredients that you need, and they can be found in any Asian grocery or online. The same goes for my
Thai glass noodle salad recipe, the one that uses those neat translucent bean flour noodles.
Please choose a shrimp recipe to try from the menu bar listing on the left side of this page.