Shrimps are small decapod crustaceans with an elongated semi-transparent flattened body, swimming in locomotion using a flexible abdomen and a fan-like tail. They beloved by many foodies for it’s sweet tender meat, and versatility to add into many savory and even some sweet and savory dishes. With many ways to turn into a delectable dish as well as the multitude of health benefits it provides. this easy to handle ingredient is easy enough for a quick dinner, an extravagant lunch, and fun party snack.
A Brief History of Shrimps
Shrimps (scientific name Caridea), are small slender-bodied with lightly gray, brown, or black colored soft shelled crustaceans that have a slightly sweet but slightly salty and buttery taste, with translucent meat that turns white and tender once cooked. While it’s part of the human diet, shrimps also play an important part of the food chain, as they serve as a food source from small fishes to whales.
Shrimps are raised in ponds to have a controlled diet. While you can find many taking care of these in shrimp aquariums to have as pets. these are more commonly cultivated, with Shrimp farming taking a rapid change in response to technological development. From the 1930’s Japan’s unsuitable for large scale production to 1970’s transfer of production in Asia and Americas. With China being the leading producer and exporter of this, followed by Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ecuador, Mexico, and India. The farming of shrimp started centuries ago, migrating to be fed to mullet, milkfish, and other coastal fish. The evolution of catching and eating shrimps varied in different countries, in North America, they were caught in fishing wires made from Spanish moss or fibers from beaten plants made by indigenous people. In 1735 white shrimp were caught to be dried under the sun and are still doing it today. In the mid 19th century, Chinese immigrants who arrived for the gold rush started netting small shrimps, drying them to be sold to other Chinese immigrants or to export them back to China. This started the American shrimping industry. Nowadays, other ways of catching fish like trawling, which drags the net across the seafloor damaging it, this is banned in other countries.there are also power engine which had power winches connected to an engine, lifting heavy nets back to the boat and empties them, making them the quickest and most capable. With many still using the traditional way of fishing by netting.
An extremely popular and convenient choice of shellfish, featured in many dishes like salads, appetizers, soups like chowders, stir fried with rice or vegetables, in pastas, curries, or as a main dish, and rice topping in some fast food restaurants.
The favorite party food, appetizer main dish, quick dinner meat, this delicious and nutritious shrimp although claimed to be unhealthy because of being high in cholesterol. Like all food, it benefits your body greatly but if it’s eaten in moderation. In shrimp, many researches have stated that the nutritional properties outweighs the ‘negative effects’ These are just examples on why these small, pink, and tender white meat is just as good for the body.
- Why does eating shrimp make you happy? It turns out to have mood boosting effects, or the hormone we call ‘serotonin’. It also improves brain function and prevents Alzheimer’s disease.
- Contains omega-3 fatty acids that can boost heart health.
- Low in calories and carbs making it great for those who are trying to lose a few pounds.
- Has an antioxidant called astaxanthin, responsible for the reddish color found in shrimp cells, these help reduce chronic diseases.
- Astaxanthin also helps reduce heart attacks and strengthens the arteries, reduce wrinkles and fine lines, and lessens sun damage.
* do note that if one has seafood allergies, then shrimp might not be as beneficial to you. These must be consulted with a doctor before adding these into your diet
Shrimps vs Prawns
While they do have a lot of similar traits and can be substituted with each other , here are some differences to help spot which one you are eating:
- Anatomically, prawns have shell segments that overlap with each other, shrimps have an accordion like shell with a membrane between segments making them more flexible.
- Shrimps have 1 pair of legs that has claws in the end. While Prawns have 3 pairs of longer legs with the claws.
- Majority of prawns are from freshwater and shrimp are from saltwater.
- Prawns are larger in size while shrimps have more variety.
Filipinos and the fondness for Shrimp dishes
Shrimp or ‘Hipon’ in Filipino is the seventh major aquaculture species in the Philippines. Contributing to 25% of the total fisheries and fish exports, these being sent to Korea, Japan, and the United States. In the Philippines, depending on the climate and availability of location, capital, and water supply, it will use one of its many systems to suit how the shrimp are grown and harvested.
Prepared as a whole, by deveining, de-shelling, or both. Shrimp just brings a whole new richness to the dish making it even more appetizing, from the vibrancy of color, the taste and just the aesthetically pleasing almost indulgent feel of it. These are just some Filipino shrimp recipes that showcase this special ingredient:
- Chili Garlic Shrimp ( or Sizzling Gambas al ajillo), a simple dish made by dusting shrimps in seasonings, sauteed in a load of garlic, sometimes cooked in butter or oil. A best seller for many who want it simple but flavorful.
- Shrimp Alfredo recipe, an example of adding shrimp into pastas. Filipino alfredo is mouthwateringly creamy and flavorsome. Adding shrimp to top it all off, it’ll excite the whole family.
- Ginisang Sayote with shrimp and pork ,a healthier way to mix in this tender meat. It enhances the dish, subtly adding a pop of color and enhances the flavor.
- Ginataang Hipon or Shrimp in coconut milk, a traditional way or recipe in the Philippines that involves simmering a choice of meat, spices, and coconut milk or cream all together.
- Salted egg shrimp, a very much favored Filipino dish eaten as is, over rice, or with a nice cold glass of beer. It combines salted egg, truckload of garlic and sili making a slightly sweet, spicy, and salty mix of zing to the day.
- Simple dishes made even better with shrimps are shrimp scampi, shrimp and grits, shrimp tacos, shrimp teriyaki, baked stuff shrimp, broiled shrimp, shrimp with broccoli, shrimp tempura, buffalo shrimp, and shrimp spring rolls.
Shrimps, one of the most commonly eaten types of shellfish. Ranging from a small one inch or a jumbo 3 or more inches. Abundantly available all year round at any wet market, to groceries, freshly caught or frozen. It’s one of the easiest and most versatile crustacean to turn into an effortless and luxurious dish. These wonderfully easy meat to cook or sauté, bake, fry, broil, or steam is sure to wow the crowd and satisfy any willing taste tester.