How Long to Steam Prawns: A Quick Guide – Seaco Online
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How Long to Steam Prawns: A Quick Guide

If you're a fan of seafood, you might be wondering how long to steam prawns for the perfect texture and flavour.

Steamed prawns are a simple dish that can be prepared quickly and easily, making them a great option for a weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch.

Whether you're cooking for yourself or for a group of friends, steamed prawns are sure to be a hit.

Prawns steaming in a pot of boiling water. Timer set for 3 minutes. Steam rising from the pot

To prepare the prawns for steaming, you'll need to clean them thoroughly and remove the shell.

This can be a bit time-consuming, but it's an important step to ensure that the prawns are cooked evenly and have a great texture.

Once the prawns are cleaned and shelled, you can start steaming them.

The cooking time will depend on the size of the prawns, but generally, you'll want to steam them for around 5-8 minutes over high heat.

If you're new to cooking seafood, you might have some questions about how to steam prawns.

Don't worry, we've got you covered. In the following sections, we'll go over everything you need to know to prepare delicious steamed prawns.

From cleaning and preparing the prawns to steaming them to perfection, we'll walk you through the process step-by-step. So let's get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Steaming prawns is a quick and easy way to prepare a delicious seafood dish.
  • To steam prawns, you'll need to clean them thoroughly and remove the shell before cooking.
  • The cooking time for steamed prawns will vary depending on the size of the prawns, but generally, you'll want to steam them for around 5-8 minutes over high heat.

Preparing the Prawns

Prawns being placed in a steamer, steam rising around them

Before you can steam your prawns, you need to prepare them properly. Here are the steps to follow:

Selecting Quality Prawns

When selecting prawns, look for ones that are firm and have a bright, translucent shell.

Avoid prawns with black spots or a slimy texture as these are signs of spoilage. If possible, choose fresh, wild-caught prawns over farmed ones as they tend to have better flavour and texture.

Deveining and Cleaning

Before steaming, you need to devein and clean your prawns.

Deveining involves removing the dark vein that runs along the back of the prawn. To do this, use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to make a shallow cut along the back of the prawn and remove the vein.

Next, rinse the prawns under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris.

If you prefer, you can also remove the shell at this point, but leaving it on can help protect the delicate flesh and enhance the natural flavours.

Butterflying for Enhanced Flavour

Butterflying is a technique where you split the prawn down the back and flatten it out. This not only makes it easier to eat, but also allows the flavours to penetrate the flesh more evenly.

To butterfly your prawns, use a sharp knife to make a shallow cut along the back of the prawn and then press down gently to flatten it out.

Now that your prawns are properly prepared, you're ready to steam them to perfection.

Steaming the Prawns

Prawns are being steamed in a pot, with steam rising from the boiling water. The prawns are turning pink as they cook

When it comes to cooking prawns, steaming is a popular method that is quick and easy. Steaming preserves the natural flavour and texture of the prawns without adding any extra fat or calories.

In this section, we will guide you through the process of steaming prawns, from setting up your steamer to determining the cook time.

Setting Up Your Steamer

First, you need to set up your steamer.

If you have a bamboo steamer, line it with parchment paper or cabbage leaves to prevent the prawns from sticking. If you're using an electric steamer, fill the reservoir with water according to the manufacturer's instructions.

The Steaming Process

Once your steamer is set up, it's time to start steaming the prawns.

Bring the water to a rapid boil before adding the prawns. Be sure to use high heat to generate enough steam to cook the prawns through.

Determining the Cook Time

The cook time for steaming prawns depends on their size.

As a general rule of thumb, you should steam prawns for no longer than 3-4 minutes, or until they turn pink and opaque. Overcooked prawns will be tough and rubbery, so be careful not to steam them for too long.

To determine if the prawns are cooked through, you can cut one open to check the colour and texture. Cooked prawns should be pink and firm, not translucent or mushy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prawns steaming in a pot of boiling water, steam rising, timer set

What's the best duration to steam prawns while they're still in their shells?

The ideal time for steaming prawns that are still in their shells depends on their size.

As a general rule of thumb, small to medium-sized prawns should be steamed for 2-5 minutes, while larger prawns should be steamed for 5-7 minutes.

If you are unsure about the size of your prawns, it's best to err on the side of caution and steam them for a shorter time.

For tiger prawns, what's the ideal steaming time?

Tiger prawns are larger than most other types of prawns, so they require a longer steaming time.

To cook tiger prawns in a steamer, you should steam them for 7-9 minutes, depending on their size. Be sure to check them regularly while they are cooking to avoid overcooking.

What's the cooking time for king prawns when steamed?

King prawns are similar in size to tiger prawns, so they require a similar steaming time.

To cook king prawns in a steamer, you should steam them for 7-9 minutes, depending on their size. Again, be sure to check them regularly while they are cooking to avoid overcooking.

How can you steam shrimp without them getting overcooked?

To prevent shrimp from getting overcooked when steaming, it's important to keep a close eye on them while they are cooking.

Start by bringing the water to a boil, then add the shrimp to the steamer basket or on top of the boiling water.

For fresh small to medium-sized shrimp, steam for 2-5 minutes, and for larger fresh shrimp, steam for 5-7 minutes. If using frozen shrimp, add an additional 2-3 minutes to the steaming time.

Be sure to remove the shrimp from the steamer as soon as they are cooked to prevent them from continuing to cook in the residual heat.

What's the proper length of time to steam spot prawns?

Spot prawns are similar in size to small to medium-sized prawns, so they require a similar steaming time.

To cook spot prawns in a steamer, you should steam them for 2-5 minutes, depending on their size. As with other types of prawns, be sure to check them regularly while they are cooking to avoid overcooking.

Is steaming prawns preferable to boiling them, and why?

Steaming prawns is generally considered to be a better cooking method than boiling them. This is because boiling can cause the prawns to become tough and rubbery, whereas steaming allows them to retain their natural texture and flavour.

Additionally, steaming is a healthier cooking method than boiling, as it doesn't require the use of any additional fats or oils.