There is an Indonesian idiom ‘Ada Udang di Balik Batu’ which literally means “There is a prawn under the rock’ while figuratively referring to a person who is saying one thing, but harbors hidden agenda behind their words.
Well, I am not going to write about people who are having hidden agenda or ulterior motive here but it’s really and literally about PRAWN.
Prawn or shrimp?
First things first. What is a prawn and what is a shrimp? Are they the same or is there actually a difference between the two. Is a prawn a large shrimp or does the naming of this delicious crustacean just depend on where you live?
A prawn is sometimes called a prawn and a shrimp is called a prawn and a shrimp. Confused? You should be.
OK, let’s see what the experts say
The two words are used interchangeably in the markets and restaurants everywhere. Some people say the difference is size. In many parts of the country, small and medium shrimp are sold simply as shrimp, while large, extra-large, and jumbo shrimp are called prawns.
Believe it or not, there is actually a difference between prawns and shrimps. The difference lies in their gill structure. Prawns have a branching gill structure, whilst the gill structure of shrimps is lamellar.
There is also a difference in the way that the two brood their eggs. Prawns legs are longer than shrimps and the shrimp’s front pair of pincers is larger, whilst the prawns second pair of pincers is bigger.
Nutrional value of Prawns and shrimps
Prawns and shrimps are an extremely good source of protein, yet are very low in fat and calories, making them a very healthy choice of food.
Although shrimps and prawns have a high cholesterol content, they are low in saturated fat, which is the fat that raises cholesterol levels in the body and is bad for you. For this reason, there is no need to avoid eating shrimps or prawns, as the cholesterol in the food is not the same as the cholesterol in one’s blood.
Shrimps and prawns do contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, but these fatty acids are good for you and help prevent against heart disease, circulatory diseases and many other types of illnesses.
Prawns and shrimps also contains high levels of vitamin B12, zinc, iodine, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and iron and have smaller quantities of calcium, magnesium and sodium. Many of these vitamins are essential for healthy skin, bones and teeth.
Wow, for so long I thought it’s not healthy to eat prawns or shrimps as they have high cholesterol content. One of my favorite dishes is Spicy Prawns and Stinky Beans (please see my post Dangerously Delicious). Every time I eat this prawn dish, I always take Lipitor, a medicine for reducing high blood cholesterol. I should have known better.
Choosing and Buying Prawns and Shrimps
When buying fresh prawns or shrimps look for the following signs before making your choice:
- The shells should be firm and glossy and not broken or slippery.
- There should be no discolouration of the heads or the shells, as this is an indication that the meat is starting to go bad.
- They should smell fresh and salty. Avoid if there is any hint of a smell of ammonia.
- The eyes should be prominent and shiny and not shrunken inwards or missing.
If you are buying raw prawns or shrimps, do not be put off if they are translucent or a different colour than the typical pink prawn. Prawns and shrimp only turn this colour once they have been cooked.
Why under the Blanket?
My first encounter with ‘Prawn under the Blanket’ was a few months ago when I attended a meeting which was conducted in a Bistro near my home. During lunch we were served with a set menu. It started with the appetizer which was named “Udang Berselimut’, literally it means “Prawn wrapped in Blanket’. Yeah, indeed, the prawns were wrapped in blanket ….noodle blanket. It was such a unique and attractive dish and I loved it! I love the taste, the look, everything.
I was so curious on how to make the dish so I interviewed the staffs who served our lunch. One person seemed to know about the recipe and he described to me roughly how to make it.
Last week, I tried to cook this dish and I name it Prawn under the Blanket and here is my version of the recipe:
- 100 grams dried Noodle
- 10 big size prawns, peeled but leave the tail intact
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, finely sliced and fried.
- 2 eggs
- 2 spring onion, finely sliced
- Cook the dried noodle in a boiling water for around 5 minutes, then set aside.
- Add pepper, salt, garlic and spring onion. Mix well.
- Add egg into the mixture, stir well and leave the mixture for a while
- Take one prawn, roll the seasoned noodles around it
- Put it on a tray and leave it for a while
- Repeat this process for the remaining prawns.
- Heat cooking oil for frying. Fry the rolled shrimp until the noodle changes color into yellow-golden color. Remove and drain on paper towel.
Serve warm with sweet and sour sauce either home made or branded which can be purchased at supermarket.
The appearance of my “Prawn under the Blanket’ was not as good as the ones prepared by the Bistro but the taste was better and that’s all the matter.