A number of the larger species, including the white shrimp Penaeus setiferus, are caught commercially and used for food. Recipes utilizing shrimp form part of the cuisine of many cultures: examples include jambalaya, okonomiyaki, poon choi, bagoong, Kerala and scampi.
Preparing shrimp for consumption usually involves removing the shell, tail, and "sand vein" (a euphemism for digestive tract). As with other seafood, shrimp is high in calcium, protein and low in food energy.
Shrimp and prawns are versatile ingredients, and are often used as an accompaniment to fried rice. Common methods of preparation include baking, boiling and frying. As stated in the movie Forrest Gump:
- "Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sautee it. There's, um, shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple shrimp and lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich..."
People that catch shrimp are 'shrimpers', and the act of catching shrimp is called 'shrimping'. Strikers are the crewmen on the boat that set up and strike the nets.
Common methods for catching shrimp in the United States include otter trawls, cast nets, seines, and shrimp baiting. Trawling involves the use of a system of nets. Since by-catch is often an issue with trawling, conscientious commercial fishing boats use TEDs (Turtle Excluder Device) and BRDs (Bycatch Reduction Device).
"Shrimp baiting" is a recreational shrimping technique. It involves using bait patties, which are a time-release bait, typically concocted of at least fishmeal and clay, though shrimpers sometimes have a secret concoction for their bait patties. You then put the bait patties in the water, wait a little while for the shrimp to show up, and then throw cast nets over the shrimp to catch them. These nets are typically anywhere from 4 to 10 feet in length when they are unfurled and have a ring of lead weights around the bottom. A lantern is usually placed over the spot where the bait patties have been set out. This helps to attract more shrimp and some of them will even swim up to the light.
Prawns are a widely consumed and enjoyed form of seafood seen in Chinese, Japanese, American, Indian, and French-Cajun cuisines. Dishes using prawns in Chinese cuisine include kung-po prawns (a spicy dish containing chile peppers and peanuts), sweet and sour prawns (a dish composed of sweet sauce tossed with prawns, bell peppers, onions, and pineapple), and fried king prawns in batter. In Japanese cuisine dishes that use prawns include tempura and sushi. In French-Cajun and southern American cuisines prawns are commonly fried in a cornmeal or beer batter. These deep fried prawns are frequently served along side hushpuppies, french fries, macaroni and cheese, southern-style coleslaw, collard greens, and corn-on-the-cob. Fried prawns are also placed on a French-style bun with a spicy sauce (po-boys). The most frequent Cajun use of prawns is in gumbos and jambalaya. In Indian cuisine prawns are most frequently used in curries. Depending on the state in India you are in, is depending on the ingredents used and the method of cooking.
To prepare the prawns for cooking it is always a wise idea to "de-vein" them by slicing their backs down to the tail, then taking off the dark vein running down the back. This helps the texture of the prawns and makes them more enjoyable.
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