Less Crunch, More PrawnIf you've read my immediately previous dry prawn curry recipe, you'll have seen in some of the pictures the prawns are not fully de-shelled. This is quite normal for Bangladeshi cuisine - prawns will have their antennae, legs and middle shell removed but the head and sometimes the tail will remain. This is because in a properly cooked curry the heads are crunchy and chewy, and therefore quite edible. By not removing the heads you also don't risk wasting any of the meat inside them.
In fact, I suspect that the peeling mostly achieves the object of cleaning the prawn. The legs in some cases are left if the prawn is carrying eggs, which in my family at least are considered somewhat of a delicacy. To de-shell prawns, begin by cutting off any remaining antennae and legs from the prawn. Follow this by cutting lengthwise along the top of the shell, split the shell in two and tear off gently without damaging the meat. Clean the top curve of the meat - the black gunk along the prawns body. Finally, peel off the surface shell from the head as well. The series of pictures below provide a quick reference to the steps.
|Cut lengthwise along the top of the prawn's shell|
and split in two.
|Tear the sliced in half shell off the prawn.|
You probably want to be a bit more gentle than mom was,
when I tried it like her I tore the prawn in two!
|Clean out the black gunk|
|Peel off the outer layer of the shell on the head|
Of course, none of this is necessary if you buy your prawns all prepped from a supermarket, but I feel that it's always good to be able to handle things in the kitchen from scratch just in case you ever need to.