My Kitchen From Scratch

Steamed Live Wild BC Spot Prawns

Posted on: August 10, 2012

Steamed BC Spot Prawns

Having lived in the American midwest for several years, live prawns are very difficult to come by. We have frozen prawns that have been defrosted in the supermarkets but most of them have deteriorated in quality. The flesh was soft and at times, mushy. They’re just not pleasant to eat. In rare occasions, I would find tiny live shrimps from one of the larger markets in Chicago’s Chinatown but for over $20 a pound, there is really not much meat to savour in the end. Shall I say, a waste of money?

Now that I am in British Columbia, Canada, spot prawns are revered when they are in season. The spot prawn season was not very long in June this year, just a total of six weeks. However, I was very excited to get my hands on these spotted crustaceans because I know how tasty they can be. I missed the abundance of fresh prawns when I used to live in Malaysia and I couldn’t wait to relive those experiences. It’s going to be pig out session!

I was waiting till the prices drop to $13 a pound before buying them. This year the spot prawn supplies were low so I figured the prices would not go any lower. A couple of years ago, advertisements showed they were just $7.99 a pound!

There are plenty of ways to cook live prawns. They can be grilled, baked in the oven, baked in sea salt, stir fry and deep fried. But in my opinion, the best way to capture the sweet-tasting flavour of live spot prawns is none other than steaming. I lined my bamboo steamer with banana leaves and fill it up with the prawns. Be careful when handling the prawns because they have very sharp spikes on their shells and they may jump all over. So, safety gloves are highly recommended.

Steam for no more than three minutes over boiling water (or until it turns bright red) and serve immediately while they are hot with a few lemon wedges. They are also delicious when peeled and served cold with cocktail sauce.


  • 1.5 lb live spot prawns
  • lemon wedges
  • banana leaves


  1. Wash prawns with cold water.
  2. Line a bamboo steamer with banana leaves and steam for no more than three minutes when the prawns turn bright red.
  3. Serve hot with lemon wedges.
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4 Responses to "Steamed Live Wild BC Spot Prawns"

prawns are amazing!! thanks for posting this, we dont get many live prawns here either:(

I saw them in the supermarket quite recently but they are expensive. =(

your steamed prawns look so succulent. prices of prawns have increased quite a lot too in malaysia. i am so inspired that you quit your day job to enrol in a cooking school. you have an awesome blog too!

Thanks, the prawns were my special treat. It was a lot of fun in culinary school. I am glad I did it.

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Hi, my name is Kwokmun Lee. Learn more about me and my site here

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