If you love shrimp, these Asian prawn recipes are just for you! Find 15 dishes inspired by Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai cuisines. We’ve got you covered for every season from salads to finger food to noodle soups.
Us Aussies LOVE our seafood, but there’s an extra special place in our hearts for prawns. It’s one of those ingredients that our family can enjoy as part of a standard weeknight dinner yet it’s special enough to serve during banquets!
The best part is that they can be made into recipes to work all year round. Find them in finger food, as a side served with rice, minced into a paste or topped over slurp-worthy noodle soups!
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Is a prawn the same as a shrimp?
Growing up in Australia, I only ever knew the shelled sea critters as ‘prawns’. In fact, ‘shrimp’ for us referred to smaller prawns.
But as I got older and I read recipes from around the world, I realized that in other places, they’re also called ‘shrimp’. Large or small.
So for this post featuring our homemade Asian prawn recipes, I will use both terms interchangeably. Just know that I mean the same thing!
Why We Love Serving Shrimp/Prawns
There’s no denying how much we love our shrimp and there are so many reasons for it:
- Taste. When cooked well, they’re undeniably sweet. That’s why you’ll find many of our recommended dishes use them almost exactly as they are.
- Texture. Shell on or off, shrimp have an amazing crunch and spring to them that you won’t find in pork, chicken or beef. Our Asian prawn recipes try to make the most of the textures as well as their flavors.
- Versatile. Just like pork mince, it’s one of those protein sources that can taste incredible in so many ways.
- Alternative to meat. For pescatarians, this is a great way to get protein into your diet where you might otherwise find it difficult to.
Are Prawns Good For Your Health?
Prawns are a wonderful source of protein and nutrients. They’re low in fat while being packed with iodine, iron, phosperus, copper and calcium.
You’ll also find that shrimp are low in carbs, which makes it a very attractive alternative to meat.
However, it is also said that the seafood is has high levels of cholesterol. For people with high cholesterol or are at risk, it is suggested to regulate the amount of prawns that you eat.
How To Choose The Freshest Prawns
The great thing about sourcing shrimp is that you can get them fresh or frozen. Either work well for most dishes, but there might be times when you want the best version you can get (especially for those holiday gatherings or New Year celebrations).
That’s why there are a few tips we like to follow for choosing the freshest produce:
- Check the eyes. This technique is similar to what we use for our Chinese Steamed Fish with Ginger and Shallots. They need to be glossy and moist. You’re looking for ones that appear firm and not sunken.
- Smell the shell. If the prawn is fresh, it should smell like the ocean. You’ll get a whiff of saltiness as if you’re at the beach. If you find it smells foul or has a hint of a chemical like chlorine, try to find another source.
- Feel the body. You’re after a firm shell with moisture. Anything other than that may be signs that it’s not fresh.
- Look at the shell. Black spots indicates that it’s not fresh. It’s caused by the oxidation that occurs when the prawn is out of water.
You’ll find everything you need right here! We’ve selected all of our favorite family prawn recipes, and I can promise that we’ve had these many, MANY times.
These starters are the best finger foods to bring to a party or to enjoy on a weekend. They’re immediately A-listed as soon as we add prawns to the recipe!
Fresh herbs, noodles and seafood makes an incredibly healthy and delicious salad roll, especially when paired with a Hoisin Peanut Sauce. Unless you’re going for a shredded pork or Chinese sausage and egg filling, these Rice Paper Rolls will satisfy everyone!
Served moreishly crispy with a generous dish of Vietnamese Dipping Sauce, these mini savory pancakes will tantalize your tastebuds with their texture. Find out how to get the crunchiest bite using our family tips and tricks!
This is one of my favorite Asian prawn recipes. I love prawns turned into a paste because they become super springy. When fried around a sugar cane stick, you get the best of both worlds – something delicious to munch on followed by dessert!
Don’t think that you can only enjoy Seafood Rolls at weddings! Dad brought home this restaurant recipe and we haven’t ordered it out ever since! It’s easy to make and freezes well so you can eat it whenever the cravings strike.
Make these irresistibly chewy and delicate dumplings to dip in some (Nước Mắm) Vietnamese Dipping Sauce. They’re a great activity to do with the family and everyone gets rewarded with a fresh serving of Bánh Bôt Loc!
Have Asian prawn recipes on their own or with a bowl of steaming hot rice. They’re great as part of weeknight dinners!
This is a restaurant regular that my family orders. The prawns are coated in a gorgeous butter yolk sauce and it becomes finger lickin’ delicious. It’s served crunchy on the outside and super juicy on the inside.
Shell on or off, these prawns are MADE to be caramelized. It’s traditionally made salty and sweet so you can let your rice soak all the sauce flavors up.
This is very similar to Tôm Rim, except that it also comes with juicy pork belly! It’s one of those dishes where a little goes a long way because each bite is concentrated with intense flavor.
As soon as Summer or Spring comes, a Mango Salad is the most exciting platter to bring out! It comes vibrant with fresh ingredients and works like a charm to cool you down. Have it as a main or serve the dish with crackers to make it an appetizer.
This is a dish that I love ordering out at restuaraunts, but it’s even better when you make it at home. Your wallet will thank you too! You’ll be able to save money and still get restaurant-quality noodles when you cook everything yourself.
Dad’s Seafood Tofu pairs perfectly with rice because it’s a humble and comforting side dish that makes the most of every ingredient. There is harmony in the textures that’s brought together by a lightly savory oyster sauce gravy.
Topped off with a fried sunny side up egg, Tom Yum Fried Rice is a perfect weeknight dinner recipe or one that you can bring to parties. It gets everyone excited because you’ll also have a party in your mouth!
To best thing about noodle soups is that the broth lets every ingredient bring balance to the dish. Here, you’ll find our best noodle soups that use prawns as part of the meal.
The shrimp is worked into the filling, which gives each wonton a delicious springy texture. Some Asian prawn recipes leave it whole, but we like to mix it into the pork mince for a seamless bite.
It’s true that the main ingredient in this family favorite is crab, but a bowl isn’t complete without the bouncy fried shrimp balls packed with aromatics. While all the other toppings stay mellow, our homemade balls add tons of exciting flavor.
The best part about Hủ Tiếu Nam Vang is that you can load up as much (or as little) of the seafood and meat as you like. It’s a popular Cambodian-Vietnamese fusion with addictively chewy noodles and an exciting variety of toppings.
You won’t want to miss the robust flavors in this Vietnamese dish that the locals adore. It’s a seafood gumbo with a deep earthy broth but is balanced by every topping. Make sure to throw in extra garnish to add more texture!
This Thai noodle soup has everything you want for a tasty meal – sweet, salty, sour and spicy. Slurp the broth up through the rice noodles and enjoy the flavor bomb. It’s complemented by the increble selection of toppings, including springy and succulent prawns!
Depending on the Asian prawn recipe, they can be eaten on their own or with rice or noodles. The more flavor the dish has, the more you’ll need to balance it with a staple like rice.
If the shell has been fried or seared all the way through until crispy, we generally eat it as well. However, that is completely up to personal choice. If you prefer it without, then simply deshell the shrimp.
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This post was originally published on 29/4/21 and updated with new recipes in March 2023.