Saturday, January 02, 2021

Weekend Cooking: Prawns vs Shrimps

Back in the 1980s there was a very successful tourism campaign which encouraged Americans to visit Australia. I dare say if you asked any Aussies, they would say that the catch cry used by Paul Hogan was "throw another shrimp on the barbie" but this is one of those occasions where that isn't actually what was said.  There are a few different versions of the ad, but here's one where Hoges actually says that he will slip a shrimp on the barbie

The other big issue with this ad is that we just don't call that particular form seafood shrimp. If you come to Australia and ask for shrimp you will get very small prawns (the kind that you would normally see in fried rice) and not the type that you see in the ad.

You may wonder why I am talking an ad from the 1980's. Let me assure you that it isn't just for nostalgic reasons. It's because I have prawns on the mind!

I do love prawns but I do tend to only eat them at this time of the year. I know that there  is no reason why we can't have them at other point in the year in things like prawn pasta, or in a prawn laksa, but we just don't.

It is, however,  quite a normal thing for us to sit on the deck on Christmas Eve and eat a pile of prawns whilst downing some nice wine. This year, we did it a bit differently and cooked them and then served them up with three different types of butter (garlic, lemon and chilli butter) with steamed rice! Delicious!

Every year we do a pretty traditional Christmas lunch where the first course is a prawn cocktail for all of us, except for my son who doesn't like prawns. This year he didn't have anything for first course, but in previous years he has been known to just have lettuce.

We also had prawns for dinner the other night, this time with a chilli and garlic sauce and steamed rice.

I thought that today, I would share my favourite recipe for barbecue prawns. I have shared this recipe before but it was many years ago and it is still one of my favourites, and I have a few friends who love it  too! If I am making it for a group I tend to buy frozen prawns rather than having to do the whole cleaning and peeling business!

I am hoping that we might get one more big prawn feast this year, but we will see what happens!

Low-fat barbecued prawns with lime, chilli & coriander

Preparation Time

20 minutes
Cooking Time

25 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

* 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
* 1 tbs fish sauce
* 2 tsp olive oil
* 4 kaffir lime leaves, deveined, finely shredded crossways
* 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 3 small fresh red chillies, deseeded, chopped
* Salt & freshly ground black pepper
* 1kg (about 12) large green king prawns, peeled leaving head and tail intact, deveined
* 2 tbs roughly chopped fresh coriander
* Lemon wedges, to serve (optional)


1. Combine the lemon juice, fish sauce, oil, lime leaves, garlic and chillies in a large ceramic or glass bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the prawns and toss gently until the prawns are coated in the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.
3. Heat a barbecue grill or chargrill on high. Cook the prawns in batches of 3-4 on preheated grill (depending on available space), brushing with the marinade, for 2-3 minutes each side or until they change colour, curl and shells are browned. Place the cooked prawns on a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm while cooking the remaining prawns.
4. Place the prawns on serving plates, sprinkle with the coriander and serve immediately with the lemon wedges if desired.

Weekly meals

Saturday - Pork chops, mashed potatoes, broccolini 
Sunday - 
Monday -Zucchini Risotto
Tuesday - Burgers with waffle friends 
Wednesday - Southern Fried Chicke
Thursday - Prawns with Rice
Friday - Chicken with Cauliflower Fried Rice

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


  1. I remember those ads haha! And mmm barbecue prawns sounds delicious. It's been a while since I've had shrimp actually (we don't call them prawns here in the US, or at least in my area- maybe down South they do? Hmm not sure lol).

    Anyway, yummy!

    1. Whatever they are called this is a delicious way to eat them Greg!

  2. My goodness, I remember those Paul Hogan ads. I love your recipe and we would try it in summer (for us). Once I read your post I realized we don’t eat much seafood when it’s cold here but enjoy it in June, July etc.

    I hope you and your family had a lovely and safe New Years celebration.

    1. Maybe that's a good thing because it means that we are eating in season right Tina?

  3. I don't remember the ads but love all things shrimp. When we go to Ireland or the UK I love a prawn sandwich, something you don't really see here. I especially love shrimp in Mexican ceviche.
    We didn't share any common menu items this week other than we had a burger at McDonald's! It was mostly a use up the leftovers kind of week.

    1. Oh yes, those prawn sandwiches in the UK were delicious!

  4. I don't have much to contribute regarding shrimp as I am a vegetarian. But I would like to thank you for hosting Weekend Cooking and wish you a Happy New Year. It was much easier to share without a photo.. thanks

    1. Thanks for participating so regularly Judee! Happy new year!

  5. Shrimp and prawns don't seem to be distinguished the same way here. I have a bag in the freezer with the label "Jumbo Gulf Shrimp." They are around three inches long without heads. But all delicious as I'm sure yours are.

    Have a great year in 2021 -- I hope the whole world will be better off than in 2020.

    be safe and well... mae at

    1. Let's hope that it does get better soon Mae!

  6. Your prawns recipe sounds delicious! We would need to buy "jumbo shrimp" (yes, an oxymoron) to make it. And we would have to use the broiler, because our grill broke and we didn't replace it this summer! I do have an unopened package of kaffir lime leaves that I bought online over a year ago and never used, because I forgot why I had bought them and I never saw a recipe that called for them again, so I'm going to bookmark this recipe.
    Thank you for hosting Weekend Cooking! I hope to get back to posting more regularly on my blog this year, especially while things are still shut down and my work hours are partly remote.
    P.S. Judee's Red Lentil Flatbreads link didn't work for me. I found her post here.

    1. I have cooked this same recipe in a frying pan many times Laurie!

      Thanks for the link!

  7. I don't like prawns either but once heard that Pavlova is a tradition on Christmas in Australia and I would certainly enjoy that. I do want to visit - my brother and I have always talked about coming for the Australian Open. I think that would have to be after we both retire as it is hard to take a vacation for more than a week and that would not be enough for a trip Down Under.

    1. Definitely need more than a week to come down here!

  8. I only wish prawns were more available and also in our food budget a little more often!

    1. They are definitely an occasional treat Melynda!