The Best Ever Method for De-Veining Prawns

This is one for the cooks amongst you. I may be the last person in the world to learn this technique for de-veining prawns but judging by the recipes out there, I don’t think that’s the case. You may think this not worth writing about but for a geek like me, it’s gold dust. De-veining prawns used to be one of my most hated kitchen tasks; so fiddly. The technique of slicing down the back and removing the tract which invariably broke into two or more pieces…

Well, forget all that, because I recently heard about THE TOOTHPICK METHOD. Here’s a video of how to do it which I found on Youtube. It’s not the greatest vid in the world but it does show the method quite cleary if you skip to about 38 seconds through. Basically you just insert a toothpick in the right place, press gently upward with your thumb then ease the tract out in its entirety. Not only is it very easy, it is mega, mega satisfying. One of the worst kitchen jobs turned into one of the best; it’s not often one can make such a statement.

Category: Seafood, Shellfish, Techniques | Tags: , , , 15 comments »

15 Responses to “The Best Ever Method for De-Veining Prawns”

  1. bellini

    What an excellent tip!!

  2. James

    Well I didn’t know that one either.

    With tiger prawns you find there are 3 parts to the tail. The middle part is attached to the main vein – if you’re careful you can push that up which dislocates it from the tail, but keeps the vein intact then you can pull the vein out. Delicate job though. Brings back memories of doing thousands……

  3. Helen

    Yeah I think I might go slightly insane if I had to do thousands. Either that or enter some sort of very deep meditative state. Hopefully the latter.

  4. Gene

    Wow, that’s new to me as well. All those years of massacring shrimp when something so much easier and effective was available. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Helen

    I know, right?! I used to make a right mess of it!

  6. Helen


  7. Christie @ Fig & Cherry

    Of course an Aussie thought of this!! Haha. Have not seen this technique before, thanks Helen!

  8. Macrogue

    Brilliant – no more messing with slippery prawns and sharp knives!

  9. Catherine

    This will change my life! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  10. Gill Watson

    Now we need to adapt this to keep the shell on.

  11. Helen

    I see this as your next challenge in life, Gill…

  12. doesthebellyrulethemind

    Great help, cheers. We also now have a superb fishmongers in our area.
    Torbay Sole,if ever you get the chance (off a dayboat) is superb. P.S. not to be confused with the music.

  13. Emily Heath

    Thanks for this Helen! I just deveined enough prawns for a 4 person fish tacos meal and swore to myself to avoid trying to prepare prawns for guests in the future. But they’re so convenient otherwise – quick to cook and versatile. Now I can continue to use them for one of my favourite treats to cook for friends: a Robert Carrier recipe for a chorizo, prawn and red kidney bean risotto type thing.

  14. Vicky @ Ursine Cuisine

    In a former life, when I worked as a chef, one of my most hated jobs was being hunched over a sink, pulling the shit-strings out of 6 boxes of prawns. A day. Whenever they went on the menu I would go out of my mind.

    This method would have helped!

  15. Favourite Table

    I would say that those shrimp may have been shelled and deveined, but not thoroughly cleaned. Very often the sand tract is broken during the deveining process, and its contents spill out, settling into the groove. I try to inspect the shrimp for this before purchasing. While a couple like that might be okay, I don’t want to see it in the majority of the ones I buy.

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