Cooking the raw prawn is a delicately-balanced art form. One that can have grown men and women cry. Why? If, the much anticipated succulent, lightly-salted, tender prawn isn’t a pleasurable dining experience, then you’d cry too.
Expectations is everything when it comes to enjoying a perfectly-textured, flavour-filled prawn.
This family recipe comes from a seasoned prawn connoisseur, who has been around boats, trawlers and the like for over five decades. This recipe has never failed, even when I was entrusted to cook this delicacy. I’m passing on the baton and entrusting you to this sacred ritual.
It takes time and patience to cook raw prawns, so your focus must be entirely on the job to ensure its success. A lot has to do with timing. Allow 1- 1.5 hours to create the ultimate prawn-gasim. However, an overcooked prawn will lose its texture and flavour — creating no such -gasim.
Pre-Hints for Success
- Prawns must be thawed to cool – not frozen
- Salt keeps kitchen sink water colder when added to ice
- When adding prawns to big saucepan – don’t overcrowd prawns in water
- Small quantity of prawns allows room for prawns to float as single layer
- Remove floating prawns immediately into cold water — to stop cooking
- Also cold salted water doesn’t wash out salt from cooked salted prawns
- Water must be reboiled between each lot of prawn cooking
- When storing cooked prawns in fridge, use glass bowl to keep freshness
- 5kg raw prawns (2-8people)
- 2kg bag of ice
- 1 cup salt
- 1 very big saucepan
- 1 large saucepan with colander
- Thaw prawns
- Fill big saucepan with water
- Bring to boil
- Add 1/2 cup salt, dissolve
- While water re-boiling – fill kitchen sink 3/4 water
- Dissolve 1/2 cup salt in sink water
- Add bag of ice to sink, let sit
- Once water boiled – Add only 1-2 handfuls of prawns from colander
- Raw prawns will sink to bottom
- As prawns cook (3-4-5min – depends on size), they float to top
- Remove each prawn as it floats with tongs
- Immediately place in ice-cold water
- Reboil water in saucepan before adding raw prawns again
- Place next small quality of prawns into reboiled water.
- Repeat steps until all prawns cooked.
- Leave in icy-cold, ice-cubed water until ready to serve. It will easily hold for 1-2 hours before serving. But do not add water to sink. Wash hands in bathroom if needed – after taste testing
- Place required amount in colander, drain and serve on platter for dinner with salad or on fresh bread with butter.