We tend to limit our consumption of prawns to the times we go out for dinners (especially Chinese food), but why? They are infinitely delicious, super quick to prepare and absolute crowd pleasers.
One thing to keep in mind when making prawns is that it’s okay to use frozen prawns if you can’t easily find fresh. Since prawns need to be kept at a cold temperature, even the fresh ones are most likely frozen and thawed.
Here are a few restaurant favorites that you can easily put together at home:
Herbed spaghetti with olive oil and prawns
This spicy, garlicky dish is so delicious that one really doesn’t miss the cheese element. The following recipe will make enough for 2-3 servings.
12-15 medium sized prawns (shelled and deveined)
12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp. red chili flakes
3 tbsp. tbsp. butter
3-4 tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. spaghetti, boiled
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
Parsley, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese, to garnish
In a large frying pan, skillet or wok, heat the butter and olive oil until just melted.
Add chili flakes and garlic until fragrant, don’t let the garlic brown.
Prawns go in next, make sure you don’t over-cook them, 2-3 minutes are enough depending on the size you use.
Add cherry tomatoes, salt, freshly ground black pepper and a dash of garlic powder. Sauté for a minute before adding the boiled spaghetti. The olive oil and butter should nicely coat each noodle.
Now add fresh parsley and sprinkle some parmesan for garnish.
If you’ve ever been crabbing, you would have tried the famous Keamari prawn karhai. It is bursting with flavor and the ambience makes the experience irreplaceable. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try and recreate the recipe.
My tip here would be to use your favorite chicken karhai recipe, minus the chicken. Add prawns, more tomatoes and here’s the game changer- ½ tsp. of kalonji. Do not add extra water to the dish- it’s best served dry-ish. Serve with crispy fried naan.
Red Thai Curry With Prawns
This is my go-to dish any time I visit a Thai-food restaurant. The creamy but spicy curry and the succulent prawns are a sure win. I tried making this at home a few times and it comes super close to the original.
10-12 medium sized prawns (shelled and deveined)
2 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. Red Thai curry paste
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup coconut cream
Fresh basil leaves
¼ cup Bamboo shoots
Red chilies, halved
½ tbsp. fish sauce
Heat oil, add the curry paste and stir fry until fragrant. Now add the prawns and saute until cooked through. Add the coconut milk and cream and simmer for 3 minutes. Mix in the basil leaves, fish sauce bamboo shoots and red chilies. Serve with soft jasmine rice.
Aha, did you think I wouldn’t add this to the list? No way! It’s the best thing created since mozzarella sticks. Dynamite prawns are basically crispy fried prawns coated in an sriracha-mayo based sauce on a bed of fresh iceberg lettuce.
Marinate the prawns in salt, pepper, sriracha, an egg and ½ cup each of flour and corn flour. Now dip them in a dry mix of flour, cornflour, salt, pepper and red chili powder. Deep fry until golden.
For the sauce: ½ cup mayo, 3 tbsp. sriracha, 1 tbsp. tomato ketchup, 1 tbsp. honey, red chili powder, 1 tsp. lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix these together and adjust spice level to preference.
Coat the hot prawns in the sauce and serve on top of thinly sliced iceberg lettuce.
Spicy Grilled Prawn Tacos
Prawn tacos are popping up on menus all around town and it’s no surprise why. Mexican flavors very closely resonate with the Pakistani palate and these tacos (especially the soft shell ones) are not out of place on any table. You can either grill the prawns or fry them (using the recipe for dynamite prawns). If you wish to grill, then use a larger size of prawns and marinate with ginger garlic paste, salt, pepper, lemon juice, red chili flakes, and a dash of cumin powder. Grill them on a grill pan, atop a bbq or you can skewer them and bake in the oven.
You can skip out guacamole considering avocados are not easily available, and are SO expensive with no guarantee of whether they’ll ripen or not. Fill your small, soft tortilla with sliced iceberg, red cabbage, store-bought salsa, grilled prawns and dynamite sauce.