Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Japanese Amaebi and Fried Shrimp Heads

Ama ebi is the japanese word for "sweet shrimp." Since it's shrimp season and spot prawns are selling for about $9 CDN a pound, I figured I'd make some for mother's day dinner as an appetizer.
Some people enjoy these prawns super fresh. When the prawns are live and freshly peeled, they taste almost crunchy. When you let the prawns sit in the fridge overnight, peeled, the sugars in the prawns begin to develop and the prawns because more sweet and the texture becomes sort of "dewy". It's your personal preference, but because I bought these prawns on the day of the dinner, I didn't have the time to let the sugars develop the way that my family likes to enjoy it. I wouldn't recommend this recipe for the squeamish.

2 lbs spot prawns, live
1/4 cup corn starch
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp pepper

1. With a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves on, remove the head from the tails of the prawns.
2. Peel the prawns and throw them in some iced water (this gives the prawns a more "crunchy" texture, if that's what you like. If not, you can skip this step) Drain when ready to eat and server with wasabi and soy sauce.
3. Heat some canola oil to approximately 375 degrees. At the last minute, toss the shrimp heads into a mixture of corn starch, salt, and pepper.
4. Drop the shrimp heads carefully into the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes. Remove the heads from the oil and drain briefly on some paper towels.
5. Serve the shrimp heads hot and crunchy. Pretty much the whole head except for the purple sack behind the "nose" of the shrimp can be eaten... even the legs!


  1. A little known fact is that you need to remove the stomach from the head. Otherwise it is gritty and bitter.

    If you go to a sushi place and they do the heads right then most of the time they do everything else right as well. It is always the first thing I order and eat before we dive in and order a bunch.