Banana Prawn

Fenneropenaeus indicus (Redleg Banana Prawn)
Fenneropenaeus merguiensis (White Banana Prawn)

Other names: Indian banana prawn (Redleg), Gulf banana prawn, white prawn (White).

Family: Penaeidae (penaeid prawns).

Description:

Available both wild-caught and farmed, these are mostly marine dwelling Prawns with juveniles sometimes found in sheltered estuaries and rivers, usually among mangroves. They are found over muddy and sandy bottoms in coastal waters to depths of 90m (Redlegs preferring slightly deeper water than Whites). Found around the northern coast of Australia from the NSW-Queensland border to Shark Bay in WA, they are mainly caught by trawlers between Exmouth Gulf, WA and Brisbane, with the bulk of the catch coming from the Gulf of Carpentaria. They are translucent to yellow in colour with tiny dark spots. The 2 species differ in leg colour: Whites have cream to yellow legs and Redlegs have pink or red legs.

Season: Available year round with peak supply in April. The fishery is closed from December to March and again in July in NT, and from December to February in WA.

Size and Weight: Commonly 20-30g and 14-17cm body length, but can grow to 75g and 25cm. Redlegs are slightly smaller than Whites.

Price: Medium priced.

Relations:

Other Penaeidae prawns, such as King and Tiger Prawns.

To Buy:

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.

To Store:

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 -18ºC. Once thawed, frozen Prawns should not be refrozen.

To Cook:

Average yield is 45%. Has a sweet, mild flavour, low to medium oiliness and moist flesh with a medium 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, or make a small incision along the back and remove it. 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 once they are removed from the pan. Banana Prawns are most commonly used in hot dishes rather than bought cooked and served cold.

Goes well with:

Butter, chilli, garlic, ginger, herbs, lemon, lime, mayonnaise, olive oil, salad greens, soy sauce, tomato.

Alternatives:

Other Prawns, Bugs, Marron, Redclaw, Rocklobsters, Yabby.

Imports:

Frozen tails, with and without shells, are imported from Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and Myanmar.

Recipes:

Barbecued Chermoula Prawns with Chickpea Salad >
Barbecued Coriander & Pepper Prawns >
Easy Prawn Ravioli with Citrus Dressing >
Hand Rolled Sushi Cones (Temaki-zushi) > 
Laksa Lemak (Spicy Noodle Soup) >
Potted Prawns >
Prawn & Avocado Tacos >
Prawn Bisque >
Prawn Cocktail > 
Prawn Fried Rice > 
Prawn Salad with Chilli, Cucumber & Watercress >
Prawn San Choy Bow >
Prawn Sushi Cake > 
Prawn Toast > 
Prawns with Mango & Chilli Dipping Sauce >
Prawns with Zucchini, Tomato & Mint Salsa >
Satay Udang (Prawn Satay) >
Steamed Prawn Dumplings >
Steamed Tiger Prawns with Chinese Rice Wine, Ginger & Green Onions >
Stir-fried Ginger & Honey Prawns >
Stir-fried Prawns & Cucumber in Tamarind Sauce >
Stir-Fried Prawns with Red Capsicum & Broccolini > 
Sugar Cane Prawns >
Surf & Turf >  
Vietnamese Fresh Rice Paper Rolls > 

Mixed Seafood Dishes
Black Handkerchief Pasta with Seafood & Tomato Sauce > 
Hot & Sour Seafood Soup (Tom Yum) >
Lemony Seafood Crêpes > 
Linguine ai Frutti di Mare > 
Mini Seafood Spring Rolls with Plum Sauce > 
Mixed Tempura >
Satay Lilit (Balinese Minced Fish Satay) >
Seafood Gumbo > 
Seafood Hotpot >
Seafood Pie with Leek, Garlic & Chives > 
Seafood Risotto > 
Spicy Seafood Noodles (Char Kway Teow) > 
Vietnamese-style Stuffed Squid with Asian Slaw >