The Prawns of Queensland
King Prawns | Tiger Prawns | Endeavour Prawns | Banana Prawns
It’s good to be the King.
Probably the most popular Prawn in Australia, there are a few types of Kings, and they can be found throughout most of Queensland. In fact they can be found all the way from Lakes Entrance in Victoria, all the way up to Swains Reef in Northern Queensland. The Eastern King Prawn is the most popular species, and in South East Queensland can also be called a Mooloolabah Prawn.
Now you may think that King prawns get their name because of their size, but that isn’t so. King Prawns are available in the same grades as other prawns - large and small.
The Red Spot King Prawn is a reef prawn – it likes to stay within 30 kilometres of coral reefs. Caught mainly in central Queensland from around the Gladstone to Bowen region, the Red Spot King prawn is a popular choice in Queensland seafood restaurants because it really quite attractive with a cute red spot on the tail section. Expect to pay a little less for Red Spot King Prawns than for Eastern King Prawns.
Suggested coatings include batters (regular or tempura) with a touch of saffron. Crumbs made from brioche make a good match with the sweetness of the prawns. Blend in saffron, turmeric, cumin or ground coriander for added flavour. If curried prawns are on the menu, use a light style of curry with coconut milk so as not to overpower the flavour of the prawn. Prawn cocktail is always popular and can be made more exotic by adding mango or fresh citrus fruits and light dressings or mayonnaise.
Appropriate sauces and accompaniments for king prawns include chilli, coriander, citrus, garlic, curry (light), ginger, tropical fruits, burnt butters, basil (pesto), mayonnaise and vinaigrettes.
An impressive looker. An impressive cooker.
You can’t miss the Tiger’s stripes and it’s a great prawn for display, which is why you will see it in top hotels and restaurants.
Tiger Prawns have a medium flavour which puts them between Kings and Bananas on the flavourometer.
They have distinctive grey, blue or black stripes that turn red when cooked. Tiger prawns are available all year round because they are wild caught and raised in aquaculture. Wild caught, they're at their best from late summer to mid-autumn.
Serve tiger prawns whole with mayonnaise or aioli to show off their dramatic colour. Add to soups - their firm flesh holds together well or cook them on the barbecue.
Tigers are well suited to garlic prawn dishes, and their flavour will be enhanced by marinating.
The two species that are commercially sold as Tiger prawns (brown tiger and grooved tiger) are very closely related.
Australia’s best tasting prawn.
It’s smaller and not as impressive in the looks department as a King Prawn or Tiger Prawn, but the Endeavour has a beautiful distinctive flavour.
In fact it was named Australia’s best tasting prawn by the people who should know – the people who catch them at prawn industry “taste off” in 2007.
Endeavours have a sweet flavour that stands up well in spicier dishes that can overpower other prawns. As they are generally smaller, Endeavours go well in brochette form as well as bite sized portions in finger food. They also are perfect for salads and seafood platters.
The appealing prawn.
These are medium-sized prawns with a sweet, mild flavour. There are two varieties: regular banana prawns have red legs, and white banana prawns have cream and yellow legs. Banana prawns are available all year round. They're at their best in mid-autumn.
Affordable, easy to cook and easy to buy, Banana prawns are plentiful – about 4000 tonnes of Bananas are caught each year in the Gulf of Carpentaria which is a part of the Northern Prawn Fishery, and Bananas are also sustainably farmed via Aquaculture. In fact Queensland leads the way with most of Australia’s aquaculture production.
This is good news for prawn lovers because it means that Bananas are generally available year round – from both specialist seafood retailers and supermarkets.
Bananas are well suited to asian style cuisine, and generally perform better as part of a dish rather than served alone.
Chop banana prawns and use to make prawn cakes or terrine. Use in Asian dishes - the sweetness of their flesh goes well with spicy flavours.