Prawns, commonly known as “Sode” in the western coastal region of India, come in various sizes, ranging from tiny prawns to large tiger prawns. Although similar in appearance to shrimp, prawns have more meat. To prepare them, you need to remove the shell, head, tail, and most importantly, the sand vein (i.e., deveining). The sand vein is the digestive tract, resembling a black thread running along the prawn’s body. Prawns can be cooked either fresh or dried under the sun and used in curry preparations. They are available year-round.
Prawns are an excellent source of high-quality protein and make for a healthy diet due to the vitamins and minerals they contain. This makes them one of the healthiest foods globally. A 100g serving of prawns provides about 24g of protein, which satisfies 50% of the daily protein intake for the human body, and is also rich in selenium.
The nutritional content of prawns is as follows:
- Calories: 99 Kcal
- Protein: 24g
- Fat: 0.3g
- Carbohydrates: 0.2g
- Potassium: 259mg
- Cholesterol: 189mg
- Calcium and iron make up 7% and 2%, respectively, of the daily required quantity for our body.
The high protein content in prawns is comparable to the amount found in chicken. Being a natural catch from the sea, prawns are free from any injectable chemicals. The protein in prawns helps build, strengthen, and repair body tissues.
Prawns have very low calories and fat content, with only about 99 to 115 calories per 100g. They also contain zinc, which is excellent for body growth. The extremely low fat content makes prawns heart-friendly.
Selenium, a rich antioxidant found in prawns, reduces inflammation and enhances immunity. This mineral is vital for maintaining healthy cells and improving the body’s immunity. Prawns are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the heart by reducing bad cholesterol, lowering blood triglyceride levels, and aiding blood circulation. Overall, they help prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Prawns are packed with significant amounts of vitamins B12, B6, and niacin, as well as potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. These vitamins and minerals help fight infections, regulate hormones, and strengthen bones.
Key Health Benefits:
- Aids in weight loss due to low calories and high protein content. High protein diets digest slowly, keeping you fuller for longer. Prawns can be prepared healthily as a snack by grilling, steaming, or boiling.
- Boosts heart health.
- Selenium intake helps prevent heart ailments.
- Beneficial for skin and hair due to vitamin E content, which is a powerful antioxidant that restores youthfulness.
- Improves brain function due to the presence of vitamin B12, which aids in better concentration levels and supports the optimal function of nerves and blood cells.
Are prawns healthy to eat?
Yes, prawns are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and various vitamins and minerals, while being low in calories. Packed with vitamins B12 and E, and selenium, prawns are highly sought after in the non-vegetarian food category.
Which is healthier, shrimp or prawn?
Shrimp and prawns have similar nutritional values in terms of protein, fat, and calories. Both are equally beneficial due to their excellent nutritional profiles. Prawns are typically larger with longer legs and are considered a delicacy, making them more expensive.
Are prawns healthier than chicken?
Prawns are low in calories and fat and contain the same amount of protein as chicken. However, due to their natural availability from the sea and higher content of vitamins, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, prawns are in high demand among many people, making them a healthier option for some.
How are prawns prepared as a dish?
Prawns can be prepared in various ways, including Indian curry style or shallow-fried (using cornflour or rice flour, salt, turmeric, and red chili powder). They can also be prepared using low-fat cooking methods, such as steaming, boiling, or grilling, to preserve their original texture and natural nutrient value.
With the increasing popularity of ready-to-eat products, fresh sea prawns can be used as value-added, protein-rich food options. One such example is prawn pickle, a highly sought-after choice for pickle lovers seeking different pickle varieties.
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Prawns can also be incorporated into numerous other dishes, such as:
- Prawn Stir-Fry: A quick and easy dish that combines prawns with a variety of vegetables and seasonings. You can customize the sauce to your preference, using ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce, or a spicy chili sauce.
- Prawn Pasta: Prawns can be added to pasta dishes, such as spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine. They pair well with light and creamy sauces or a simple garlic, chili, and olive oil sauce for a flavorful and satisfying meal.
- Prawn Tacos: A twist on traditional tacos, prawn tacos are made by grilling or sautéing seasoned prawns and serving them in taco shells or tortillas with fresh salsa, avocado, and a squeeze of lime.
- Prawn Salad: Prawns make a delicious and healthy addition to salads. Combine cooked prawns with mixed greens, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a light dressing for a refreshing and protein-rich meal.
- Prawn Risotto: Prawns can be added to a creamy, rich risotto for an indulgent and sophisticated dish. Combine Arborio rice, white wine, prawns, and Parmesan cheese for a delicious and comforting meal.
- Prawn Skewers: Skewer prawns with your choice of vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, or cherry tomatoes, and grill them for a simple yet flavorful appetizer or main course.
- Prawn Curry: Prawns can be cooked in various curry styles, including Thai, Indian, or Caribbean. They work well with coconut milk-based sauces and a combination of fragrant spices.
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These are just a few examples of the many dishes you can create using prawns. Their versatility, nutritional benefits, and delicious taste make them a popular choice for a wide range of cuisines and cooking styles.