Banana Prawn

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

Banana Prawn
Species

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 Exemouth 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.

Other Names

Indian Banana Prawn (Redleg), Gulf Banana Prawn, White Prawn (White).

Family

Penaeidae (Penaeid Prawns).

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, Rock Lobsters, 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
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

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