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Whole Shrimp


Jamie Lee
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I just opened a box of "whole" shrimp fron my newly discovered Asian market.

I hoped for the rare, but prized "head on" shrimp... what I got was WHOLE shrimp! :raz: Yes, I'm an idiot.

These monsters have anntena(e), heads, tails, shells, and two "arms" with lobster-like claws.

I've got them frozen in individual bags, but how do I clean them, cook them, eat them?

Help?

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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Jamie, I've never seen any shrimp at my local Asian market that didn't have heads on them!

I'm not sure what you're aiming for, but if you mosey on over to Ah Leung's Chinese Food pictorials, you see some good ideas of Chinese things to do with these beauties, and several of the dishes are actually cooked with the heads and shells on (great flavour).

But, if you go down to the Imperial Shrimp dish, he gives some nice instructions on how to peel and head these babies, but if you do so, remember to save the shells to make a stock. Shrimp stock is good to have in the freezer, and is very quick to make (you don't cook it for a long time).

Another direction, if you are craving Asian, would be a nice Thai Tom Yum Koong.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I live in Thailand, and as such every market is an Asian market! Shrimp are generally sold complete here, and it's no big deal to clean them. Make a slit through the back of the tail to devein, and then just chop off the antennas, give em a good rinse and Bobs yer uncle.

All that extra shell, and head and claw (although the shrimp we get don't have much in the way of claws...I'm not sure why??) adds great flavor to any soup or stir fry, and here anyways, the shrimp are almost always served on the plate whole. It's easy to to take the heads off at the table with a spoon and fork, and then just make a little pile on the side of the plate as you eat.

If this sounds unappetizing to you (It is a different way to eat) then I'd just clean the shrimp completely, and reserve all the extra for stock.

Good luck, and I'd love to hear how you make out!

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It sounds to me like you got either langoustines or crayfish, not shrimp.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Yahoo!! Shrimp boil! Throw in some fresh corn and new potatoes, and your all set for a messy, yummy, finger-lickin good time. :wub:

Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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I don't think they are Mantis Shrimp. I need to replace my dig camera, will post beauty shot as soon as I do (seems like a good excuse to buy a new camera!

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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Susan: Thanks for the link to the chinese food pictorials... I'm thinking one of the sauteed dishes with plenty of hot stuff!

The mystery of what I have has been solved! (You can find anything on the Internet!)

They are large, male freshwater shrimps (aka freshwater prawns)!

From Wikipedia:

"There are three different morphotypes of males. The first stage is called "small male" (SM); this smallest stage has short, nearly translucent claws. If conditions allow, small males grow and metamorphose into "orange claws" (OC), which have large orange claws on their second chelipeds, which may have a length of 0.8 to 1.4 their body size. OC males later may transform into the third and final stage, the "blue claw" (BC) males. These have blue claws, and their second chelipeds may become twice as long as their body."

Mine have very long blue chelipeds and claws. I will still post a pic when I get my new camera.

Thanks to everyone for their input!

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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It sounds to me like you got either langoustines or crayfish, not shrimp.

If they have claws on, bright blue when raw and are frozen in an Asian grocer they are more then likely farmed fresh water shrimp Macrobrachium rosenbergii. These are appearing everwhere and on several USA TV programs (including Iron Chef America) I have seen them described as "Langoustines", which they aren't and also for sale in Australia as "Scampi" which they also aren't.

Many supermarkets in the UK have been selling them as shell on or off tail meat, you can identify them from the way that the taper much more quickly to the tail them marine species and by the way that the tail shell segements overlap.

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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I used to get freshwater shrimp -- claws and all, like you describe -- in Indiana. Up here, I see them pretty often, but with just the head.

Anyway, in both cases, they don't take well to boiling -- the texture tends to be a little funny. I saute them, and there's a lot of liquid that cooks off. I've got a pound in the freezer right now that I was thinking of putting in a Savu smoker bag, but we'll see.

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If they have claws on, bright blue when raw and are frozen in an Asian grocer they are more then likely farmed fresh water shrimp Macrobrachium rosenbergii. These are appearing everwhere and on several USA TV programs (including Iron Chef America) I have seen them described as "Langoustines", which they aren't and also for sale in Australia as "Scampi" which they also aren't.

Adam, your research is consistent with mine... There are also of lots of "farm raised FW shrimp" hits in the US - in mostly southern states - Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisianna, Florida.. and more.

Mine are a "product of Vietnam". Makes sense, production in Vietnam is only preceded by China, India and Thailand.

So now, can you help with prep ideas? Cook head on, or off. Use scissors to trim all those antennae and claws - will they add anything to a stock made with shells/heads? Some websites implore one to de-head them asap, as some enzyme (?) in the head will make the tails mushy...

What's everybody's take on "deveining"? I've read posts where we "fiddlely" Americans make too much ado about ridding our shrimp/prawns of their intestinal tract. Is it different if the shrimp/prawns are wild or farmed? Domestic or imported?

Mine are individually frozen and are definitely "U8s" (Under 8 to a pound), and maybe even larger.

It's all so interesting! TIA for any help! I haven't cooked them yet because I'm out of all staples (garlic, basil(s), certain thai sauces, greens/herbs of every persuasion), and I don't know if I'm up to a grocery/asian market rampage right now.

<--- Yes, I'm a newbie food geek :laugh: Thanks for all your experienced input!

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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I used to get freshwater shrimp -- claws and all, like you describe -- in Indiana.  Up here, I see them pretty often, but with just the head.

Anyway, in both cases, they don't take well to boiling -- the texture tends to be a little funny.  I saute them, and there's a lot of liquid that cooks off.  I've got a pound in the freezer right now that I was thinking of putting in a Savu smoker bag, but we'll see.

Ktepi:

I have read the same on boiling - not recommended by a number of sites. What do you saute them in? What herbs/sauces/spices do you add? Head on? Shell on?

Do tell!

What is a Savu smoker bag?

ETC: Stupid spelling error - why did they put the "R" so close to the "E"? :raz:

Edited by Jamie Lee (log)

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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Ktepi:

I have read the same on boiling - not recommended by a number of sites.  What do you saute them in?  What herbs/sauces/spices do you add?  Head on?  Shell on?

Do tell!

What is a Savu smoker bag?

ETC:  Stupid spelling error - why did they put the "R" so close to the "E"?  :raz:

I take the head and shell off, but I'm not sure you need to -- I just do it so that I can use the shells for shrimp stock, without getting the seasonings from the shrimp in the process.

A Savu smoker bag is an interesting little gadget -- it's this Finnish foil (I think) bag that you put food in and then pop into the oven; the wood chips (shavings? I don't know) in the bag smoke the food without getting it all over your kitchen. It's been a fun thing to play with since the closest place I'm allowed to use a grill or smoker is way too far from my kitchen.

Anyway: I just quickly (3-5 minutes or so? depending on how big they are, and mine run about as big as yours by the sound of it) saute them in a hot pan with a little butter. Usually I wind up making a shrimp poboy: after the shrimp are cooked, I toss them in a sauce of Worcestershire sauce, Louisiana hot sauce, shallots or scallions, a little reduced beer, and butter, and then put the whole thing on a section of baguette. (I can't get proper poboy rolls here, but at least a baguette is French.)

I'm sure they'd be just fine in stir-fries and things like that too -- I thought I might try some in a spicy Thai basil dish at some point, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

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A Savu smoker bag is an interesting little gadget -- it's this Finnish foil (I think) bag that you put food in and then pop into the oven; the wood chips (shavings? I don't know) in the bag smoke the food without getting it all over your kitchen.  It's been a fun thing to play with since the closest place I'm allowed to use a grill or smoker is way too far from my kitchen.

http://www.savu.fi/english/index.htm

Karen Dar Woon

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If that's not the coolest thing! (Maybe another thread should be started by someone who has used one! It's intriguing for those of us with no smoker, grill or outdoor space...)

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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If that's not the coolest thing!  (Maybe another thread should be started by someone who has used one!  It's intriguing for those of us with no smoker, grill or outdoor space...)

May i ask..what is the size?

( How many..per pound?)

If they are large enough...split them shell on lengthwise from head to tail.

Place them shell side down on a skillet.

Sprinkle with a bit of olive oil, Herb De Provence, Black Pepper and salt.

Cook until the flesh turns from translucent to almost white ( do not turn or flip).

Add a bit of butter.

Serve with salad.

Or add long pasta..spagetti, fettuccine ot tagliatelle with chopped flat leave parsley!

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May i ask..what is the size?

( How many..per pound?)

If they are large enough...split them shell on lengthwise from head to tail.

Place them shell side down on a skillet.

Sprinkle with  a bit of olive oil, Herb De Provence, Black Pepper and salt.

Cook until the flesh turns from translucent to almost white ( do not turn or flip).

Add a bit of butter.

Serve with salad.

Or add long pasta..spagetti, fettuccine ot tagliatelle with chopped flat leave parsley!

Oh, they are big enough - They were marked "2-4" - and packed in a kilo box. There are six of them, at least six inches long (not counting antennae or claws).

Thanks, iii_bake - this sounds like the best opportunity yet! (I don't have access to a grill, or I would probably try that as well.

Camera should be here today, I do "before and after" pics!

Thanls a lot!

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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I picked up a box of these guys, marked 8/12 size from Thailand. The first few I grilled whole on skewers (to keep the tails straight) and ate barbarically with my hands. The next three I cut up for a stir-fry with snow peas. I have 8 to 10 left in the freezer, waiting for me to think of something to do with them. I was going to simply boil them and eat as a cocktail, but now that I read above that they don't take well to boiling, I'm thinking of garlic prawns or something along those lines.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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Okay, I'm an eGullet newbie with a new dig camera... so don't expect much!

The beasts... arms fell off while frozen, so the full impact:

gallery_51818_4950_10546.jpg

After cleaning, the stock stuff:

gallery_51818_4950_42319.jpg

More to follow, after I figure out this camera, and the crazy upload/display process!

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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Okay, I'm an eGullet newbie with a new dig camera... so don't expect much!

The beasts... arms fell off while frozen, so the full impact:

gallery_51818_4950_10546.jpg

After cleaning, the stock stuff:

gallery_51818_4950_42319.jpg

More to follow, after I figure out this camera, and the crazy upload/display process!

So...they are Thai River Prawn.

It is best grilled ( splited as mentioned), Make Tom Yum or Thai Pepper Garlic Sauteed.

The Best part of this type of Prawn is the tomall(e)y ( the orange/yellow creammy part in the head).

To peel : you take of the shell on the body first....this is to avoid losing the tomally.

Then gently pull the pointed head shell off...make sure that the tomally is in place.

Then pull of the gill ( the "chin"part ). When finish you'd have the head n the body parts.

If you cook Thai...the tomally does make difference in the dish.

Even with the pasta dish i suggested... the tomally does enhance the Prawn Flavour!

These prawns are really good...hang in there and you'd love them!

:smile:

Edited by iii_bake (log)
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gallery_34302_4963_123017.jpg

gallery_34302_4963_489225.jpg

I happened to go to Ayudhya, a province in Thailand famous for its river prawn and i found these alive n kicking prawns sold at the market.

Notice the yellow roes at the tummy and how they look so translucent.

gallery_34302_4963_244594.jpg

Splitted and grilled....notice the yellow creamy tomalley on the head part!

( I have photos for the preparation of the prawn...but these photos are so big...Can anyone advise on how to make them smaller so i can post the series like DEMO??)

Edited by iii_bake (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

I didn't get to thank all who tried to help me figure out what beasts I had procured - Thanks!

A special shout-out to iii_bake, who nailed the proverbial shrimp on the head! Thai River Prawns it is!

I've not yet prepared them per his instructions, nor eaten the yellow "tamale" as he employs, but (as seen in previous pics above), I cleaned a few, made curry with the tails, and used the heads, shells and arms/legs for a killer shrimp stock. And killer it is...

I don't think I've ever made a better shrimp stock! I only added chinese celery, a few extra shrimp shells... but I know the incredible flavor is due to the rich addition of the heads. WOW. It so totally rocks. I am just dreaming up the best way to use this liquid gold.....

Thanks to all contributors.

Jamie :wub:

Jamie Lee

Beauty fades, Dumb lasts forever. - Judge Judy

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