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How Long Does It Take to Cook Shrimp?

How Long Does It Take to Cook ShrimpShrimps are without doubt one of the favorite shellfish to eat and, when cooked properly, are truly delicious.

So, How long does it take to cook shrimp?

They can take between 2 and 5 minutes to cook.

Beyond that they can quickly become rubbery and tasteless and undercooked shrimps are mushy and unsafe to eat.

However, we must first look at the different ways they can be cooked. Otherwise, it all depends on their size, whether they are cooked with their shells or without, and the cooking source.

Let’s take a better look to understand the cooking process behind cooking shrimp, as well as look at a few tasty recipes to try!

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How Shrimp is Cooked

Firstly, what type of shrimp should we buy?

Frozen shrimp are cheaper than fresh but if you can find fresh from the store or fishmonger (that has not been previously frozen) you will notice a better taste and texture. Also make sure your shrimps are of a similar size so they cook at the same speed.

If you have frozen shrimp, you need to be very careful about defrosting them. You can either keep them in the fridge until defrosted (might take up to 24 hours) or you can run COLD water over them.

Never, never, run hot water over them or try to defrost at room temperature. (Defrosting this way will increase the growth of harmful bacteria very quickly.)

Then you should decide whether to buy shrimps with shells on or off. Your fishmonger will de-shell them for you. He will also devein them for you which is a polite term for removing the digestive tract which is basically full of poop and sand and taste horrible!

Cooking them with shells on adds flavor to the shrimp and also stops them from overcooking. It can be great fun to sit with your friends and family and have a messy shrimp eating party. (Don’t forget to devein them even if you are cooking with their shells on.)

However, for those who are put off by the shells and the heads, you can have them de-shelled which is easier and cleaner. If you are very brave, you can de-shell and devein them yourself and there are even shrimp scissors with a curved blade to help you. (You can use the shells and head to make a wonderful seafood stock.)

There are many ways you can cook shrimp, pan frying, wok-fried, curried, grilled, etouffé, tempura, roasted etc. Today we will look at four basic ways to cook shrimp, BBQ, stir-fried, boiled and breaded.

Need cookware for cooking shrimp? Take a look at our non-toxic and non-stick induction choices!


How to Cook Spicy BBQ Shrimps

 

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This is a simple yet delicious way to enjoy your shrimp with that added BBQ taste.

You can adjust the chili powder and paprika depending on how spicy you like it or add your own favorite flavors to the marinade.

Ingredients

2 lbs medium sized shrimp, deveined, de-shelled with tails on
1 large garlic clove crushed
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp lime juice (fresh is always better)
1 tsp salt
2 lemons (cut into wedges for squeezing over cooked shrimp)
2 tsp olive oil for the BBQ rack

Step One

When barbecuing shrimps, I prefer to use wooden skewers because metal ones cook the shrimp too quickly. (Remember to soak your wooden skewers in water or wine for 5 minutes first so they don’t catch fire!)

Step Two

Mix the garlic, chili powder, paprika, salt and lime juice together and add shrimp. Mix well and marinade in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or preferably and for added flavor, overnight.

Step Three

Heat your barbecue and brush the rack with olive oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking.

Step Four

Thread 2 or 3 shrimp onto each skewer and place onto the BBQ. Cook for 2 minutes either side (4 minutes in total) and your shrimp should be pink on the outside and white and juicy inside. If you are not sure about cooking time, you can use a thermometer and the thickest part should be 120˚F.

Step Five

Serve with lemon wedges to garnish.


How to Cook Quick Stir Fry Asian Prawns

 

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The skill in stir frying is to keep the ingredients moving and cook for as little time as possible. This is an easy and healthy recipe that should only take you 10 minutes.

Ingredients

1 lb medium sized shrimp, deveined and de-shelled (frozen shrimp work well for this recipe)
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 large garlic cloves finely diced
1 small bell pepper, de-seeded and sliced thinly
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
4 oz baby spinach leaves washed and de-stemmed

Step One

Heat the oil in your wok (or a large frying pan) until very hot.

Step Two

Add garlic (it should spit and sizzle if the oil is hot enough) and stir until it turns golden and crispy then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll.

Step Three

Add the bell pepper and stir for approximately 1 minute until slightly softened. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll.

Step Four

Add the prawns and stir continuously to maintain an even heat distribution and cook for 2-3 minutes until pink on the outside and white and juicy on the inside.

Step Five

Add the Thai fish sauce and spinach and stir until the spinach starts to wilt.

Step Six

Add back the garlic and the peppers and stir quickly before serving immediately.

Step Seven

Serve with noodles or steamed rice for a delicious Asian style meal.


How to Cook Boiled Shrimp

 

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A shrimp boil is not only tasty but a wonderfully messy social meal to share with you friends and family. You can make your own shrimp boil spice/seasoning but there are many good pre-made ones for sale which will make this even quicker and easier.

Ingredients

1¼ lbs large sized shrimp, deveined but with their shells
12 oz can of beer (optional)
4 quarts water (add ½ quart more if you don’t want to use the beer)
½ cup shrimp boil seasoning or one shrimp boil spice bundle
1 lb smoked pork sausage such as kielbasa cut into 2 inch pieces
4 lemons (2 for juicing and 2 for lemon wedge garnish)
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large red onion cut into 4
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme (tied together)
2 lbs baby red potatoes, scrubbed and cleaned
4 ears of corn, de-husked, cleaned and cut into 2 or 3 pieces (depending on size)
2 tbsps butter
1 French baguette
Hot sauce or seafood cocktail for dipping

Step One

Use a very large pot, at least 8 quarts and fill with the 4 quarts of water, beer, shrimp seasoning/spice, juice of two lemons, the 4 lemon halves leftover after squeezing, onion, garlic and thyme.

Step Two

Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Three

Add the potatoes and cook until nearly done (approximately 10 minutes)

Step Four

Add the corn and sausage and simmer for another 5 minutes. Check if corn and potato are tender.

Step Five

Add the shrimp and simmer for another 2 -3 minutes until they are pink outside and white inside.

Step Six

Drain and keep broth.

Step Seven

Mix the shrimp and vegetables with the butter and serve garnished with lemon wedges and dipping sauces. (For extra mess and fun, roll up your sleeves and serve on a brand-new newspaper on the table)

Step Eight

Serve the broth separately with crusty French baguette to soak it up.


How to Cook Breaded Fried Shrimp

 

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These should be crispy and crunchy and not oily. The correct oil temperature is very important. Panko crumbs are Japanese bread crumbs which are processed in a way that makes them extra crunchy when fried).

Ingredients

1 lb medium sized shrimp de-shelled and deveined
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp paprika (adjust to taste if you want more or less heat)
2 beaten eggs
1 cup Panko crumbs
1 quart vegetable oil
1 lemon quartered for garnish
Cocktail or tartar sauce for dipping

Step One

Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and garlic, rubbing all over each shrimp.

Step Two

Mix flour and paprika in one bowl.

Step Three

Beat eggs in another bowl.

Step Four

Place Panko crumbs in a separate bowl.

(You will have four bowls on your counter, shrimp, flour, eggs, Panko)

Step Five

Heat the oil to 375˚ F.

(I really recommend you use an oil thermometer if you don’t have a deep fat fryer as the temperature is key to a crispy golden coating and juiciness inside.)

Step Six

Dip the shrimp into the flour, then egg, then Panko and put in the oil. Only do five or six at a time to maintain the high oil temperature.

Step Seven

Cook for 4 – 5 minutes until golden brown and then drain on kitchen roll before serving.

Step Eight

Serve with dipping sauces and lemon wedges.

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