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Friday, February 19, 2016

You say shrimp, I say prawn!

So who's correct? Besides knowing they are yummy edible 10-legged critters that end up in your curries and salad, do you know the difference between a prawn and a shrimp? C'mon, 'fess up!
 Like most Malaysians, I had always thought that shrimps were small prawns until I shared a prawn curry recipe in a previous post and noticed the confusion when my American pallies referred to them as shrimps in their comments. I had specifically listed 'large prawns' as the main ingredient!  I googled for an explanation.Turned out I wasn't exactly wrong 'cos culinarily, many people distinguish between shrimps and prawns on the basis of size. Prawns are considered to be larger, while shrimps are smaller.  But then again, there are those who argue that prawns can be small and shrimps can be big. Confused? Hmm...maybe these decapods are just interchangeably used depending on which part of the world you live? Wrong again!  Believe it or not, there is in fact, a very BIG difference between the two!
Image credit - Ya Da Chef
So what makes a shrimp a prawn or vice versa? The difference is in their gill structure.
Prawns and shrimps are both decapods and crustaceans, and all that this means is they both have exoskeletons and ten legs. Once cooked and on a plate they are nearly impossible to discern because their main difference is the construction of their gills (or a part usually removed in the preparation and cooking process). They are classified in suborders based on gill structure. The prawn’s is branching (named dendrobranchia), but is lamellar (flat or plate like, pleocyemata) in shrimp. Also, prawns usually have claws on three pairs of their legs, while shrimp only have claws on two; and finally unlike almost all other decapods, prawns do not brood their eggs on the pleopods (legs along their tails) but release the eggs into the water after fertilization.

Source - http://www.finemainelobster.com/difference-between-prawns-shrimp/

Remember the OCD Jacques (Finding Nemo)? He is a Pacific cleaner shrimp.
Australians, however, invariably use the word prawn rather than shrimp.
If you say "put another shrimp on the barbie," Aussies will just roll their eyes because they NEVER say that!  No Aussie except Paul Hogan has ever said it! It all  started back in the '80s by Paul Hogan as part of an American advertising campaign for Australian travel. Australians say "prawns." Apparently Hogan changed the phrase to "shrimp" because the commercial was commissioned for broadcast in the United States and the change was made to limit audience confusion.

A shrimp/prawn recipe to share.....

Love the subtle, lemony taste (from the lemongrass) of the sauce that's bursting with zing!

1 pound prawns, shelled (leave tails intact) and deveined
2 stalks lemongrass (chopped)
1 chili,chopped
1 green chili, chopped (optional)
3 pips garlic, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon chili sauce
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
cooking oil

1. Scald prawns in hot oil until the prawns turn opaque. Do not overcook. Remove the prawns and keep aside leaving about 1 tablespoon of oil in pan.
2. Saute chopped shallots and garlic until fragant. Add the chopped chilies and lemongrass and stir-fry for another minute.
3. Add water, ketchup, chilli sauce, fish sauce and sugar and bring to a boil.
4. Lower heat and let the sauce simmer for another minute.
5. Turn off heat and mix in the scalded prawns.
6. Serve with rice

This week's cookies

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. That's interesting! I like shrimp, but don't eat them as much as I used to.

    We've had disagreements between an alligator and a crocodile during a work lunch. Everyone was trying to look up the differences on their i-phones and laptops. We all knew that they were different, we just wanted to know the differences.

  2. mmmmm...I'll try to remember your description of the difference between prawns and shrimps while champing on that! Looks so delicious!

  3. This is an argument my family has been having forever! LOL! Thanks for clearing it up!

  4. Hi, stopping by from the Thursday Blog Hop. I'm your newest follower. Stop by sometime at www.bigfoottribe.blogspot.com


  5. That is very interesting! I had always thought we say shrimp in American and prawn is said in other parts of the world.

  6. Wow,never tasted those but I heard they are real good-send me one!!(ha, ha)What is the difference between those and langusta ,which is tastier?
    We eat chicken ,pork or cow meat,all sort of fish....
    Send you our loving ....heat feelings!
    hugs and cheers

  7. Found you on the bassgiraffe blog hop... personally, I don't like em whatever you call em!!

  8. I am a new follower from the Thursday blog hop and just wanted to say hi.


  9. British people tend to say 'prawn' instead of 'shrimp' as well, regardless of size. It's interesting to hear that it depends on the gill structure of the crustacean what they should be correctly called! Your recipe sounds delicious too - the lemongrass and spices you have used sound wonderful.

  10. Oh I would love to be able to try this but I have a shellfish allergy - boo! It looks really great though :-) Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  11. Looks really yum! I love prawns/shrimps whatever it is, to me they taste the same and differs only in size which I initially thought until I've read your post. Thanks for sharing this recipe. #KCACOLS

  12. Well you learn something new every day... Never knew the difference between a shrimp and a prawn! Your recipe sounds delicious... I love prawns and lemongrass yummm! #KCACOLS

  13. Wow! I never knew this! Thank you for sharing! I love prawn and shrimp so I'll try this recipe. I've never cooked with lemongrass before! #KCACOLS

  14. Very interesting, I have to admit to not being a fan of eating shrimp/prawns but I also wouldn't know the difference you learn something new everyday hey! Thanks #kcacols

  15. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe at the #RecipeSharingParty! I hope to see you next week. Pinned and Yummed. Please visit #OverTheMoon on Sunday or #ThursdayFavoriteThings for more sharing fun! Don't forget to Comment your link #'s so I can be sure to visit and you get a chance to be featured!

  16. Thanks for educating us on the difference between a shrimp and a prawn. The recipe looks delicious. I'm not familiar with lemon grass or a pip of garlic, lol. I'll have go in search of the lemon grass at my local Farmer's Market or the grocery store. I'm assuming a pip is a glove? As usual, your cookies are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.