Eastern King Prawn
(Penaeus plebejus) Photographs
Eastern King Prawns are grooved prawns - they have a pair of parallel grooves running
the length of the upper surface of the carapace. The body is cram to yellow.
The head grooves are brown and there are short brown stripes on the sides of the tail
segments. The tips of the tailfans are blue and the walking legs are yellow.
Large king prawns are generally exported frozen, green and head-off. Small to
medium ones are sold in Australia cooked whole.
They are found along the eastern coast of Australia from Lakes Entrance in Victoria to
North Reef in Queensland. They are caught as juveniles in estuaries during spring
and summer and as adults on the Continental shelf at depths of 60 to 220 metres from
mid-summer through to winter.
Normally male eastern king prawns grow to a length of 19cm and weight 110g, while the
females can grow to 30cm and weigh 220g. Besides being smaller, males can be
distinguished by a petasma (genital appendage) between the first pair of swimming legs.
Females have a plate-like thelycum at the base of the last pair of walking legs.
They are caught by deep sea netting, or in estuaries by a hand-held net wielded by a
wading person using a bright light to attract the juveniles. The light also reflects
off their eyes, glowing red, so you can see them at night.
How to Purchase the Freshest Prawns or Shrimp -
Fresh cooked shrimp are actually cooked on board the
vessel of capture the moment they are caught and then refrigerated for maximum
freshness before being delivered to the markets which will be normally or
hopefully within 24hrs of capture.
Eastern Coast of Australia
Mid-Summer through to Winter
Males to 110g, Females to 220g
Australian Species Code
For every 100 grams raw product
for Prawn meat.
36% of total
23% of total
41% of total
About Eastern King Prawns:
Sizes of Prawns:
Prawns are graded according to the number of prawns per pound (445 grams) or per
U/10 = under 10 prawns per pound (extra large) (between 16 to 20 prawns to the
10/20 = 10 to 20 prawns per pound (medium) (between 22 to 42 prawns to the kilo)
20/30 = 20 to30 prawns per pound (small to medium) (between 44 to 67 prawns to
300/500 = 300 to 500 prawns per pound (extra small - shrimps) (between 675 to
1124 prawns to the kilo)
S & B = Soft and broken prawns - these are export 2nds due to slight damage or
soft shell due to prawn malting just prior to capture.
Tips:- when comparing prices always compare by asking the count per pound - the
lower the count the larger the size. The larger the size the higher the price
Eastern King Prawns:
Size and Weight
Commonly 40-50g and 10-21cm body length, with Eastern
King Prawns the largest and
Redspot King Prawn the smallest. Eastern can grow to
High priced, with larger prawns fetching the highest prices
and Western and Redspot generally cheaper than Eastern King
Look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells,
without any discolouration, particularly at joints, and a
pleasant fresh sea smell. Prawns are highly perishable in
their raw state and so are often frozen or boiled at sea as
soon as they are caught. If cooking with Prawns, buy green
(raw) Prawns, as cooked Prawns will toughen if reheated.
Leave Prawns in their shells until just before using and
store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for
up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18șC. Once
thawed, frozen Prawns should not be refrozen.
Average yield is 45%. Has a rich flavour, low-medium
oiliness moist flesh with a medium-firm texture. Flesh is
translucent when raw and white with pinkish bands when
cooked. After removing the head from a fresh green Prawn,
hold the Prawn straight and gently pull the end of the
digestive tract (from the head end), it will usually come
out in one go. If it breaks off, use a thin skewer to hook
it out from the back. In cooked Prawns, cut the back open to
remove the digestive tract.
Cooking Methods Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, grill,
barbecue. The firm flesh holds together well in soups and
curries and threaded on skewers for kebabs. Like all
seafood, Prawns require very little cooking. It is always
better to undercook, rather than overcook, them, as they
will continue to cook in the residual heat. King Prawns have
a particular tendency to become tough if not handled
HOW MUCH SEAFOOD TO BUY:
Small 40-60 prawns per kilo
Medium 20 - 40 prawns per kilo
Large 10 - 20 prawns per kilo
- Allow approx. 300 - 400 grams per person.
How to peel a Green or Raw Prawn
Sydney Fish Market provides step by step instructions on how
to peel a 'green' or raw prawn perfectly!
Commercial Fishing for Eastern King Prawns:
The Eastern King Prawn, or otherwise recognized as an ocean king prawn, is one
of Queensland's premium seafood products. Eastern King Prawns are source by
ocean going prawn trawlers along the southern Queensland and Northern New South
Wales coastlines. This product is marketed as cooked and raw. The superior
texture and taste of this species has been recognized by cultures throughout the
world of which Urangan Fisheries readily supplies.