The prawn: qualities and benefits

The seafood is one of the star meal ingredients for Christmas , but... what is a prawn? How is it different from other seafood? What qualities does it have?

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In gastronomy, seafood is a word that refers to edible invertebrate marine animals. This definition usually includes various groups of animals, but the most numerous and popular are molluscs (mussels, clams, octopus) and crustaceans (shrimps, king prawns, prawns, crabs, barnacles). So let’s take a look at the differences between king prawns, prawns or shrimps.

 King prawns, prawns or shrimps?

These three belong to the decapod crustaceans’ groups (those with ten legs). So what's the difference between them?

The most important differences are between shrimps and king prawns. The first thing that differs is the size of the king prawn's head, which is smaller than that of a regular prawn. The prawn's colour ranges from a pinkish off-white to an intense red, depending on its place of origin. King prawns on the other hand have a paler colour, although that also depends on their place origin. But differentiating the prawn from the common king prawn is more complicated.

Although it's more orange in colour than the other two, the main difference with the prawn is with the taste. It's very similar to that of shrimp, as compared to the intense flavour of the king prawn. As far as meat is concerned, we find that the prawn has a more tender texture and it also has much more meat than the shrimp.


These types of seafood have “a high nutritional value and low fat content, although their purine and cholesterol levels are relatively high,” according to the Spanish Nutrition Foundation, FEN. They provide proteins of high biological value, as well as being a source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine and selenium. And as for vitamins, their vitamin B12 intake should be highlighted.

They are suitable for all diets, except for those with high cholesterol problems, a sodium-restricted diet, and those with high uric acid.  ¡

How to cook them

Prawns can be eaten cooked: baked or grilled, or boiled for 3 minutes in saltwater, the time it takes for them to change colour.

In addition, if they are very fresh, they can be prepared tatar style. Simply peel each one and add a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, chives and salt, as if it were a tartar.

But the most common recipe is to cook it in the oven, which is quick, simple, free of fumes and retains all the flavour. A large amount can also be made at once, the reducing cooking time.

Recipe for baked king prawns

1. Trim the feelers off and put the king prawns in an oven dish.

Carefully coat them with extra virgin olive oil and distribute them well.

Chop some garlic cloves and put them on top and in the gaps.

4. With the oven evenly preheated at 190º, bake them for about 15 minutes.

5. Finally, take the dish out of the oven and paint them again with their own juices that were released as they cooked.