Prawn Cocktail [His Favourite Crunchy Prawns]

Prawn Cocktail

Prawn vs shrimp, what do you call it? In Malaysia, the large ones are called prawns and small ones are called shrimps if I am not wrong. There are differences between prawn and shrimp but not so easy for consumers like us to distinguish them. To me, I only know to cook and eat both of them without worrying which is which.

T is obsesses with the so-called crunchy prawns (like those in char-kuey-tiao) we used to have when living in Sydney. It was pre-packed shelled tiger prawn from the freezer. All I needed to do was to thaw and throw them in my cooking and they turned out crunchy like magic. Since we moved back here, we were searching and tried many types of frozen prawn but none of them have the same texture. Thus, I decided to try out methods suggested by online cooks to make prawn crunchy.

Many people suggested baking soda, marinate shelled prawns with baking soda for half an hour then rinse thoroughly under running water to get rid of the after taste. As baking soda tenderised the prawns, I found that a little bit of "massage" helps in firming up and give them crunchy texture. The detailed explanation about the baking soda and pH thing is available on Rasa Malaysia.

Prawn Cocktail

Most wet markets in Penang are still using unit measurement of kati which is equivalent to 600 grams for a kati, prices stated are also based on this measurement. For easy calculation and my budgeting purposes, I always stick to kati.

600g prawn with shell, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp baking soda
Enough water to submerge prawn


  1. Mix and marinate prawns with baking soda for 30 minutes, either in the fridge or drop in some ice cubes.
  2. Rinse prawns under running tape water for about 10 minutes or till water running clear. Drain well.
  3. Add in seasoning such as pepper, tapioca starch and salt (according to your recipe).
  4. Mix in SAME direction for few minutes, this step will firm up the prawn a little bit giving them more crunchier texture.
  5. Marinate for further 30 minutes (at least) or keep in the fridge till you need it. I usually prepare in bulk then divide into few small portion before storing in the freezer.


Last but not least, cocktail with thousand island dressing recipe as follows:

Ingredients (2-3 servings):
1 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp lime juice
A pinch of salt

6-8 large prawns
Some salad


  1. Sauce: In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients till well blended. Cover with cling wrap and keep in the fridge till needed.
  2. As for the prawns, drop them in a pot of boiling water. When water starts to boil again transfer and submerge prawns in iced water. Pat dry with paper towel, arrange on a bed of salad and drizzle the sauce over the top.

Updated on 28 July 2011:
I find that tiger prawn and green prawn are best with this recipe.

Comments :

Carmina said...

A great addition to my collection. Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to try this especially for my family.

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