Prawns Vs. Shrimp; Know The Difference
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When Forrest Gump meets Bubba in the popular movie, who lists off his business plan where he wished to open up a restaurant that served all kinds of shrimp dishes, it was a moment for food to shine in cinema. That said, most people tend to use shrimp and prawns as synonyms while referring to recipes or ingredients; in reality, although they might appear to be the same in appearance and a little bit, in flavour, prawns are really a fancier version of this beloved shellfish.

If you peek closely from a scientific point of view, prawns and shrimp have different gills and a different number of legs, thereby making the segments of their bodies intersect differently. Shrimp usually tend to be smaller and have a curvier shape compared to prawns, which are larger and straighter in form. A lot of places describe these forearm-sized shellfish as prawns when in reality, they are langoustines.

One of the other key differences between both – shrimp and prawns – is the environment they inhabit. Shrimp being smaller and mostly found in salt water sources, tends to have a delicate texture and flavour whereas prawns, which are sourced from freshwater, are known to be meatier in texture and sweeter in flavour. Unlike shrimp, that need barely any cooking time, prawns might take slightly longer to cook, although both have the capacity to overcook if not watched closely.

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Shrimp are also usually available in varying sizes of small, medium and jumbo whereas most prawns that we have access to are a standard size. Even though the terms to refer to both varieties of shellfish are used interchangeably, prawns are more expensive than shrimp, as they are difficult to come by in most land-locked places around India. However, feel free to use either prawns or shrimp as replacements for each other in recipes.

Typically using shrimp for light sauces, flash-cooking and even tossing in salads is ideal, because they take on the flavours of ingredients that they are mixed with unlike prawns, which usually demand to be the piece-de-resistance of a dish, scented with the flavours of the shellfish. Shrimp works beautifully in Asian food, curries and soups whereas prawns taste delicious in recipes like the Spanish paella or even biryani.