Cleaning prawns at home


I have been posting series of prawn preparation . So it  naturally calls for sharing the cleaning technique of Prawns of various sizes.

Cleaning Prawns is a tedious job which requires patience. Removing the shells is somewhat easier, but pulling off the vein and cleaning of heads is time consuming and needs to know the right technique.  I am sharing the technique  step by step  with photographs. Starting with Giant prawns almost similar size of Lobster.

Cleaning Giant prawns for cooking whole with head and tail and Shell on  

Step 1


Take the prawns one by one and trim the claws and the thin legs of the prawns. Discard the thin legs and save the claws. Trim the nails from the claws and discard the nails.

Step 2

Take big bowl of water. Dip the prawns in the water and swirl in prawns in water 3-4 times. Clean the shells by softly rubbing it. Discard the water each times. Or you can hold it under running water and clean the body properly. Keep in a strainer.

Step 3


The Shell cover beside the head is loose so pull it upword or remove it. After cleaning the head it could be put back.


With the help of a knife or a scissors give a cut on the front side of the head under the shell just behind the eyes without damaging the head shell. There remains a black bag in the head of the prawns. They are actually sand eaten by the prawns. Give a cut over the head and remove  the black bag from its head.  Its very important to discard this bag before cooking otherwise this may result in food poisoning.

Step 4


A soft orange brain remains under the head shell. Be careful, this part should not be washed away while cleaning it in water because it tastiest part of the prawn.

Step 5


Next is de veining. Now   flatten the prawn like a butterfly. Make a deep cut lengthwise down the outer curve of the prawn’s body keeping the shell on. You may use a sharp knife or a scissors.


You will find a dark  thin ribbon, pull it gently. Devein the prawns . Keep the tail intact.

Step 6

Cut the sharp bone on head and the nails in the legs. Legs could be cooked. The flesh inside is very sweet.

Now clean the prawns one by one in water and pat dry before cooking.

The above direction is for cleaning the bigger prawns with heads.

Cleaning Small prawns

Smaller prawns are mostly cooked without heads and in that case the heads are pull apart and discarded. Smaller prawns are generally cooked without shell with or without tail.

Hold the prawn facing up and peel the shell from bottom and pull gently to  remove the shells of all the prawns one by one.

To devein the prawns follow the same step as described in step 5 above.

To remove the tail, press at the end of the tail and pull it apart.


  1. The discarded heads of smaller prawns could be cleaned by discarding the sand bag from head. Dip these in bowl of water, swirl in. Repeat for 3-4 times till all impurities are cleaned.
  2. The outer shell of the prawns could be cleaned in water 3-4 times.
  3. Both the above could be used for making stalk.
  4. The heads could be stir fried with masalas to make tasty snack.

Happy Cooking. Wait for my next post Prawn Thermidor a French Cuisine.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Great tutorial. Really helpful for beginner cooks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for liking.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rini says:

    Like a science experiment dissecting creatures, only it’s good to cook and eat. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha. Very true. Thanks for stopping.

      Liked by 1 person

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