Shrimp vs prawn
Do you ever find yourself confused about the difference between shrimp and prawns? If so, you're not the only one. In fact, these two terms are often used interchangeably, and to confuse matters even more, they’re used in different ways in different countries, with the USA preferring the word ‘shrimp’, while other English-speaking countries tend to use the word ‘prawn’.
So does this mean that shrimps and prawns are just two different words for the same thing? Well, yes and no. Firstly, neither word is a scientific term, so they’ve never really been properly defined, and this means that different people use them in different ways.
Broadly-speaking, a shrimp is a slender-bodied crustacean with several pairs of legs and long antennae. There are many different species of marine life that are referred to as ‘shrimp’, based largely on appearance, with some of them less closely related than others. In the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, larger species tend to be referred to as ‘prawns’, again based on little more than appearance, while in the USA both large and small are referred to as shrimps.
However, there are two species of crustacean known as the common shrimp and the common prawn, and these, at least, can be scientifically verified as two completely different animals. In fact, they come from different branches of the crustacean family entirely, and are easy to tell apart if you look closely. Follow the link to find out more about the real difference between shrimp and prawn, but bear in mind that while there is a ‘true’ shrimp and a ‘true’ prawn, these are by no means the only edible species referred to as ‘prawn’ or ‘shrimp’ or even both, so there is still plenty of room for interpretation.
What are udon noodles?
Whatever you like to call them, shrimp are delicious, and we love ours served up Asian-style, in a fresh and tasty stir-fry that’s rich with garlic and nestled on a bed of Japanese udon noodles.
Image from iStock
If you haven’t tried udon noodles yet, you’re in for a treat. Regarded as a comfort food in Japan, these thick, chewy noodles are super filling and delicious. They are also particularly popular in soups and stir fries because they’re so good at soaking up other flavours. In our recipe, they take on both the fresh, sweet flavour of the prawns and all that garlicky richness for a dish that will have you licking your lips long after it’s finished.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
20, peeled and deveined
10 cloves, diced
6, diced and separated into green and white parts
Light soy sauce,
Japanese rice vinegar,
Cook the noodles in lightly salted water, according to the instructions on the packet.
Heat the sesame oil in a large wok over a high heat until it begins to smoke.
Reduce the heat to medium, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring all the while.
Add the white parts of the scallions and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the shrimps and cook for 4 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are fully opaque. Season with salt to taste.
Add the cooked noodles to the wok, along with the soy sauce, oyster sauce and rice wine vinegar, then cook on medium-high, stirring until the noodles are evenly coated in the sauces,
Add the scallion greens and turn the heat up to high, stirring well to mix everything together.
Divide between two bowls and serve.
If you love noodle dishes but you don’t know your soba from your somen, teach yourself Japanese cuisine with our guide to 7 types of Japanese noodles.