It’s a question that is probably discussed to death pretty much all over the shrimp eating world. The opinion is evenly divided for both points of view. Most frozen shrimp / prawn is usually head and shell off with the tail left on and usually “de-veined”. If the shrimp / prawn is head-on shell on, then more often than not, the “vein” would still be in there. This “vein” that we are talking about it is one that runs along top of the shrimp / prawn.
What is strange and NOT discussed that often is whether or not to “de-vein” the one on the underside of the shrimp / prawn. This is almost always left in. No matter where live you on the planet.
Why this dichotomy? Well the simple answer is – it doesn’t have a gritty mouth feel like the “vein” on the top side of the shrimp / prawn. The more detailed answer what this post is about.
The top “vein” is actually the Alimentary Canal or intestine that runs along the top of the shrimp, from the mouth of the shrimp all the way down to the tail (where the “bum” is located). On the dorsal side of this “vein” runs the Supra-Intestinal Artery supplying blood (a translucent color so we actually never really see the artery) to the intestine and the abdominal muscles. These are both removed together – they are pretty much stuck to one another so when one is removed the other comes with it.
Anatomy of a Crustacean
Given the shrimps’ method of eating, a lot sand (if sea catch) or mud (if pond catch) goes in with the food. Some of it gets flushed, some of it just sits there in the intestine when the shrimp is caught or harvested. Some poop might be left in as well. The sand/mud is what gives us a gritty mouth feel and the poop can add a slightly bitter after-taste to food. So the two main reasons for removing these are really just that – we DO NOT wanna eat poop and the sand/mud texture in the mouth is terrible. Also, leaving the “vein” in increases the risk of the shrimp going bad faster as poop will decay quicker.
These are too small to “devein”.
It’s important to note here that only 50% of the people actually remove this! The shrimp is eaten as is! I have personally eaten shrimp both ways and maybe I’ve been lucky, but I have not been able to tell the difference. Do I “devein” shrimp when I cook? Yes, I remove the intestine every time IF its possible i.e. the size of the shrimp has to be large enough to do that. I mean if I’m making a Prawn Fried Rice and using tiny shrimp (100-200 per kg) there is no way I am going to sit and spend hours doing this delicate procedure when I can barely hold on to the little fellas! I mean really, it’s hard enough to get them outta their shells!
That brings us to the bottom “vein”.
Its NOT a vein
Its NOT an artery
Its NOT part of the digestive tract
Its NOT cartilage
What the devil is it then?
Its the Central Nervous System of the shrimp – the main nerve cord!
It runs along the dorsal or underside of the shrimp. Unlike most mammals, shrimp / prawns do not have a spine to protect the central nerve. The shell and legs perform that function.
Nowhere in the world will frozen shrimp that is labelled “de-veined” ever have this removed. In India, even our local fishmonger never removes this until specifically asked to and then too she/he will probably make a fuss about it. I have never ever removed and I do not personally know any one, in my circle of friends and family, who remove it. Why?
It does NOT contain poop
It does NOT contain blood
It does NOT have any sand/mud in it and therefore NO gritty mouth feel.
Peeled & Deveined Prawns from Fishvish
With the shrimp / prawnsFishvish sells, the top “vein” is always removed. The bottom never removed. This is a process followed by every shrimp processing factory in the world! We source all our products from such export factories and they all follow mandated processes that are certified by not only India’s FDA but also USFDA, EU FDA, Australia FDA and Japan’s equivalent to the FDA.
Deveining the bottom vein.
In closing, I’d like to say that, yes, the top “vein”, at least India, is usually removed by the overwhelming majority. The bottom one – almost always NEVER removed. It’s pretty much cosmetic anyway and I haven’t seen even high end, fine dine restaurants remove this bottom “vein” either. Still, its a personal choice and those that like to remove it, it’s simple enough – make a shallow cut along the bottom length and use a toothpick or the pointy end of a knife to pull the “vein” out. Just be careful, it’s delicate and will break easily.
Don’t let something that’s so trivial stop you from enjoying your shrimp / prawns. Even if you’re not buying them from Fishvish!
Ok, so it has some pasta and other things too but its chicken and corn all the way!
Sweet Corn Chicken Soup was a childhood favourite of mine. Might have been for a lot of you. For me its also a comfort food, giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling. There are days where we wall have just about had it and want something quick, no fuss yet yummy and to give us that warm and fuzzy feeling.
This dish is actually inspired from another but for the life me I have not been able to find that video again. So from what I remembered and then just going with gut feel, this is what I ended up with. The original had called for a slow cooker and some broth (beef or chicken, I forget) and I didn’t have either on hand hence the oven bake in a covered baking dish.
The pasta too was a last minute addition since there was just that much in the pantry but figured it would add some body to this dish and lo and behold it pretty much completed the dish.
It’s simple, really. Bring out a baking dish, layer it with ingredients – yes all of them – and slow bake in the oven. Warm and fuzzy right there!
8 Garlic cloves, chopped (add more if thats how you like it)
15-20 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
Salt, Black Pepper and Red Chili Flakes as per your preference.
500 gms Fishvish Chicken Breast
1 can Cream of Corn
60 ml Milk
200 gms button mushrooms sliced
Butter – a few small dollops (dont need to but it tastes so good with it)
Shredded Cheese (Cheddar or Monterey Jack)
150 gms Pasta (farfalle or fusili is best, but use anything you want)
Spread the onions on the base of the baking dish and then start with the other ingredients – garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, half the dried basil and oregano and season with some salt, pepper and red chili flakes. Randomly drop the butter dollops across the dish.
Layer 1 – with onion, mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic
Places the chicken breasts over this across the length of the baking dish and season more with salt, pepper and red chili flakes and the remainder of the dried basil and oregano.
Layer 2 – Chicken
Mix the milk and the entire contents of the can of Cream of Corn and pour to cover everything in the baking dish.
Layer 3 – Cream of Corn & Milk
A dash more salt and pepper and sprinkle a healthy layer of the shredded cheese and you’re ready to bake.
Here’s the interesting part – we’re going to cook it covered, low & slow, for a longish period – 140°C for 70 minutes (pre-heated oven of course). I had a cover for this baking dish but you can simply use alumnium foil or parchment paper. We’re just trying to keep as much moisture in as we possibly can.
Once the baking was done, I took the dish out of the oven and pulled only the chicken breasts into another dish. Using a couple forks, I went to town shredding up the chicken. It was juicy and soft and came apart very easily. Returned the shredded chicken back to the baking dish and with it tossed in the already cooked pasta.
Now everything needs a really good mix at this stage and then a more than healthy sprinkling of shredded cheese – turn up your oven to its highest setting and pop the dish back in – this time without the cover. Just 5-8 minutes or until the cheese turns gooey yet just starting to brown – and you’re ready to serve.
I wasn’t allowed to use too much cheese so it don’t look too gooey or brown but it tasted heavenly.
It’s simple, fairly quick and its all done in one dish, well two if you were paying attention back there, but you get the idea. A low fuss yet satisfying and oddly comforting meal and tastes absolutely divine.
I would very strongly recommend a sprinkling of fried bacon bits before popping it back into the oven the second time – it will take this dish to a whole new level of yum!
The name of dish (in English): Garlic Chicken breast with Cream of Corn (sounds so exotic in Italian huh?)
Bijal Patel Co-Founder Fishvish Mellowing hardcore food junkie, loves to cook for his wife.
Bubba’s big shrimp love spills over from last week
Kabob, kebob, kebab, kabab may mean different things in various parts of the world, but more often than not, the grilled meat connotation seems to be all-pervading. In case of the USA, the term ‘kabob’ is used for meat skewered on a stick (the term popular in India for such food is ‘tikka’).
These shrimp/prawn kabobs are marinated in Italian salad dressing; the dried herbs and slightly sweet tanginess punctuated by fruity olive oil impart a lot of flavour to the crustaceans and other vegetables. The recipe calls for onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and green bell peppers, but you could also use other bell peppers, zucchini etc. The marinating time is essential for the flavours to soak in, and if you don’t want to light up the grill, that’s okay. A hot oven will work in a pinch.
“Shrimp Creole originated in South Louisiana where gulf shrimp are plentiful”, the recipe introduction tells us. At its most basic, this dish is another variant of one of those stews served over rice. That’s not all though; this one is packed with flavour in the form of spices and shrimp stock. We’re talking aromatics, bay leaves, hot sauce and signature Creole seasoning made with ground spices mixed with dried herbs.
This version by Emeril Lagasse, well-known for his Cajun and Creole food expertise and recipes, uses a flour and water mix to thicken the stew; there are other versions that use cornstarch. Either way, it’s the vegetables, spices and large prawns that make the dish the delight it is. Serve over long-grained white rice for the best meal experience.
“Bubba’s Shrimp Gumbo”, Paula Deen calls this recipe. The ‘Bubba’, however, is not our favourite Pvt. Benjamin Buford Blue, best mate to Forrest Gump, however; it’s her brother whose recipe she shares. Every gumbo, even the ones made with chicken etc. needs to have okra, and this one does too; the okra also helps thicken the stew, as Paula informs us.
Lots of butter, shrimp stock and clam juice (skip this if not available), and those fragrant spices in Cajun seasoning make this hearty and delicioso. The sausage renders deep, smoky flavours, therefore do not skimp on that one. Like most stews, this one is great over rice (with a dash of butter), and even better the next day.
Pineapple and shrimp may not be the first pairing to come to your mind; not like butter and shrimp or garlic and shrimp, but if you think about it, the fruit augments the saline sweetness of the seafood with its fragrant mellowness. This recipe adds more sweetness, and smoky spice in the form of BBQ sauce, and we know the great comradeship BBQ sauce and prawns share. The awesome threesome come together in a stir-fry dotted with crisp bits of onion, garlic, and bell pepper; you could even toss celery bits in the butter with the other veggies.
A touch of hot green chilli pepper will even out the square of flavour, and the 3 lead stars get to shine brighter. A great supporting cast does just that.
Pineapple may be the new good friend to prawns, but let’s not forget the original fair-and-foul-weather besties who’ve always been there, ever ready to boost and bring out the best in our favourite seafood, and also rescue the saddest prawn dish. All hail the three stalwarts, prawns’ knights in shining armour—lemon, butter and garlic, a.k.a. Those-Who-Can-Never-Go-Wrong.
Some people like to marinate their prawns in a squeeze of lemon and freshly cracked black pepper, or even a touch of cayenne, so that is a great tip to use for a change. Also, feel free to sub a splash of wine for the water. If you really love your lemon flavours, you may want to consider adding a bit of grated zest to the pan. Serve over pasta, as recommended, or on bruschetta, with or without the tomato and basil.
Coconut shrimp or prawns in India may bring to mind a masala stir-fry with coconut slivers, curry leaves and lots of heat, or a coconut-laced fragrant curry. Bubba, however, was possibly talking about coconut-crusted fried shrimp, crisp on the outside, melting within.
The recipe is fairly easy, and calls for few things—6 ingredients in all, not counting salt and pepper—, but is one of those dishes that give you more for very less. Skip the sweetened coconut in favour of unsweetened, if you so desire. Either way, the “awesomesauce” the author recommends—1 part Thai chilli sauce to 2 parts orange marmalade—sounds like the perfect accompaniment to this crunchy appetizer.
A simple recipe like this calls for great prawns to begin with. Find them here
Prawns stir-fried with just salt and pepper are comforting in a way only the simplest, most flavourful ingredients can be. Like cheese, or butter, or chocolate. This dish takes the flavours in its deceptively simple name several notches higher, with the addition of Sichuan peppercorns and a fresh red chilli. The prawns are crunchy thanks to the seasoned cornstarch rub at the beginning. The fried prawns are tossed with ground Sichuan pepper and chilli bits. Serve with chopped coriander, and a squeeze of lime if needed.
This one comes from a “restaurant” in California that has a single dish on the menu—shrimp soup. For an establishment that focuses on doing one dish, and doing it best, the name “Killer Shrimp” is surely justified. The list of ingredients is not very long, but the cooking time of 3 hours may put you off. This, however, is essential to the “slaying” ability of the dish; the first hour sees the clam juice (or prawn stock), broth, butter, rosemary and spices simmer gently; the latter two hours asks for the addition of wine and occasional stirring.
The last 3 minutes of cooking time is when the eponymous ingredient makes an appearance, and yet receives top billing—talk about star power! The soup gets its colour from the tomato paste, and the unhurried hours of simmering. Serve with the crusty French loaf as instructed, or inside a bread bowl; your meal is ready.
There’s shrimp Creole and Cajun-style Gumbo, and there’s real Southern-style Cajun shrimp stew with a rich shrimp stock base simmered and brought to perfection in a couple of hours. This comes with potatoes which add body to the broth, and also add to the heartiness. The roux made with oil and flour (can use butter instead of oil) adds deep flavour and thickness; combined with onion, and sometimes green pepper, forms the base of many a Cajun stewed dish.
Serve with rice, or eat with a side of thick loaves. And remember to never overcook your shrimp; it hates heat, as much as a Polar bear does.
You can almost imagine Southern ladies serving this cold prawn salad alongside pitchers of cold ice tea for lunch on a hot day, followed by some pie maybe, for dessert. Or making sandwiches with it. You could even devise wraps with it, makes for a cooling meal, especially in the sweltering summers, when no one wants to spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen. This is best served cold, so account for the chilling time; this also brings the flavours together, and you end up with a bowl of creamy mayo-slathered prawns with the crunch of vegetable bits.
Old Bay seasoning is good to have around, and you could also make your own. For a serving variation, fold the salad onto each lettuce ‘cup’. Serve immediately.
The shrimp and potatoes in this dish are seasoned with curry powder and cooked separately. A final toss in the skillet brings the aforementioned ingredients together, with salt and pepper making the final connect.
The olive oil adds freshness, but you could try using the same amount of butter to cook the prawns; prawns and butter revive their old relationship and bring the potatoes in on the camaraderie with equal enthusiasm. The curry powder bestows flavour blessings on the union of the trio, the spring onions are the final garnish at the celebration.
A dash of lemon at the finish wouldn’t be amiss either. Bring out the wine to round up the festivities.
The Old Bay mayo returns for another round of Southern gastronomic adventure; this time as one of the protagonists in Shrimp Burgers with Old Bay Mayo. Another reason why you need to have some lying around, and there are plenty more. The prawns, meanwhile, get the royal burger treatment; some coarsely chopped, some processed with bread crumbs, egg and seasoning and formed into patties.
Fried in a skillet, the crisp patties sit on top of Old Bay mayo-slathered bun halves and are topped with avocado, lettuce and tomato. Add a slice of cheese while frying, if the whole cheeseburger experience is what you love. The burger is brilliant, either way, and may just become your new go-to burger.
We will assume Bubba meant a shrimp Po’ Boy when he was talking about a shrimp sandwich. What better way to put crunchy, full-on flavoured prawns between slices of crusty and soft baguette? Of course, the bread needs to have a remoulade slapped on—this is no ordinary mayo, it has spicy Cajun genes, mustard and horseradish in its DNA.
The crunchy shrimp isn’t the usual bread crumb-crusted affair either. The staple of the American South, cornmeal makes a dashing appearance as the breading ingredient of choice. Lettuce and tomato slices make sandwich complete. And follow the recipe to the T, especially when it says “Serve at once with hot sauce and a beer.”
“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.”
Out of all the characters in Forrest Gump, Pvt. Benjamin Buford ‘Bubba’ Blue may be remembered most for his culinary contribution; in sixty two words, Bubba gave millions of shrimp fanatics the succinct recipe and cooking inspo guide to everything you could do with shrimp. The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Chain of restaurants came about as a result of Bubba’s love for shrimp that was extended to other seafood and meats.
Of course, nitpickers will mention shrimp curry, mousse, braised shrimp etc. that Bubba doesn’t touch upon at all. But as Forrest’s “best good friend” says, more or less, “That- that’s about it.”
Here is the first part of recipes inspired by Bubba’s shrimp love. Now you may not always get your hands on shrimp, so there’s prawns you can forever count upon to step in. The difference between shrimps and prawns is not really just size, contrary to popular belief. It’s mostly anatomical, and since they are both incredibly tasty, one can be substituted with the other at all times.
No better time to get the prawn cooking apron cracking than the weekend; order all prawn sizes here
Bubba’s Shrimp Recipe Ideas:
Both Forrest and Bubba were from Alabama, (“not relations”, even if Lt. Dan thought so), so the love of BBQ would be as deep ingrained as the presence of iced teas and mint juleps. And this is not your regular BBQ sauce-smothered grilled meat we’re talking about; this one has plenty of butter, bay leaves, even Worcestershire sauce and that old Southern spice rack staple, Old Bay seasoning. If Old Bay seasoning can’t be found at your local store, it’s pretty easy to put together yourself. This shrimp or prawn dish is best served with a side of crusty bread.
No no, this is not boiled shrimp added to bland pasta or stuffed inside pastry dough. The crawfish boil from Louisiana has a shrimp version, which has the same blend of Cajun spices and seasoning and the deliciousness of jumbo crustaceans. The ingredient list may read a little long, but you’ll easily find the ingredients around in your pantry. A squeeze of lemon makes the dish roar into throbbing life.
When a recipe is called ‘Outrageously Good Broiled Shrimp’, you better believe it. Big-sized shrimp (or prawn) are brushed with butter, so the seasoned bread crumbs and chopped parsley will stay put. A daub of more butter and the pan-ful of prawns goes under the broiler, to be broiled until lightly charred. Since these cook really quickly, this dish can be put together at the last minute, when you need a quick appetizer or have unexpected company over. A squeeze of citrus is optional, but really recommended to bring out the garlic and parsley flavours.
Ok, so this may have all the usual prawn-friendly favourites of garlic, butter and parsley, but never underestimate what white wine and a buttered panko crumb topping can do to good quality prawns. A total time of 20 minutes, including prep and cooking, is what you’ll need to put this together. How much more quickly it disappears is another question entirely. Serve with a salad or stir-fried/roasted veggies, or maybe tomato-rubbed toasts for a satiating meal. A glass of white won’t be out of line either.
This simple dish of prawns tossed with garlic, herbs and red pepper flakes is great on its own, and even better when served atop a simple spaghetti aglio olio or tagliatelle cooked with tomatoes and garlic. Be careful not to overcook your prawns; there’s nothing worse than biting into a forkful of perfectly seasoned rubber that smells of the sea.
Don’t be too surprised if this one skillet dish becomes a summer favourite the very first time you make it. Easy to put together and quick to cook, it’s what you need to stay out of hot kitchens chilling with cold brews. This calls for both dried oregano and snipped fresh basil, and don’t skip the squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil on top.
Frying and prawns go together, just like Forrest and Jenny, “peas in a pod”. Shrimp popcorn has always held its own, against regular popcorn or even chicken nuggets, for that matter. The panko bread crumbs in this bring on next-level crunch. XXL-sized prawns are the best contenders for deep-frying, opt for smaller-sized ones only if you need to. Crispy prawns don’t need too much by way of dips, but most people like to serve tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, BBQ or even ranch dressing. A light aioli won’t be too outré either; after all, ketchup needs a worthy companion too sometimes.
Jumbo prawns are stir-fried with garlic and olive oil and set aside. Next, veggies like grape tomatoes, zucchini chunks and corn kernels are tossed in the same pan, with the prawns thrown in the last few seconds of cooking. Everything gets turned in onto a platter, and chiffonaded basil, freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of lemon on top gives it its Italian flavours and freshness. Great on its own, you may want to serve it over rice too.