How to Devein Prawns with Shell On (With or Without Fork) – A Step by Step Process

Deveining prawns may not be your strongest suit, but you know what? It’s not a lot of people’s either. As simple as this process may seem theoretical, putting it into practice requires a strict following of a steady step-by-step process. 

We’re here to give you this step-by-step process on how to devein prawns with shell on. 

All you need is a sprinkle of patience, your prawn, toothpick, scissors or knife, and a can-do spirit. 

Now let’s get those veins out of your prawns!

How to devein prawns with shell on – A step by step process

You can devein prawns that have their shell on using a knife, scissors, or even something as simple as a toothpick. 

In this post, we’d give you three methods with which you can conveniently use to devein your prawns that have shells. 

Let’s see how you can devein your prawn that has shells using a toothpick.

What you’ll need:

Toothpick, your prawns, and a plate.

What you need to do:

  1. Hold your toothpick firmly.
  2. Slide it between the two sections of the shell till you’re sure it is under the vein.
  3. With your toothpick in the center of the prawn, hold the prawn in an upside-down ‘u’ shape. The prawn resembles the letter ‘n’. 
  4. Slowly and carefully lift the toothpick, the vein should follow in sequence.
  5. When the vein is visibly out, keep pulling it out with your fingers till you manage to devein the prawn totally.
  6. Place your already deveined prawn on your plate and move to the next using the same procedure. 
  7. Discard the vein.

How to devein prawn with shells using a knife or scissors

What you’ll need: 

A pairing knife or small scissors, the prawns, a plate or bowl.

What you’ll need to do:

  1. Open the back of the prawn using your paring knife or small scissors.
  2. While doing that, the opening should be deep enough to slice the flesh of the prawn so that the vein is reachable. 
  3. Carry the vein with the tip of your paring knife or scissors and pull.
  4. Discard the vein and put your deveined prawn in a bowl.

How to devein prawn with shells on using just your hands

Yes, you can use only your hands for this process. It’s pretty straightforward.

What you’ll need:

The prawns, a plate, and your hands. 

What you’ll need to do: 

1. Cut the head off, you can twist it.

2. Nudge around the opening you have created and pinch the vein between your index finger and your thumb.

3. Carefully pull out the vein. 

4. Discard the vein and place your prawn in a bowl, repeat the process with other prawns if you have others.

How to devein shrimps with a fork

You can devein shrimps with a fork. It’s an easy process and we’re going to give you the hack. 

What you’ll need:

The shrimps, a bowl, a two-tined cooking fork.

What you’ll need to do: 

  1. Cut the head of the shrimp.
  2. Look for the vein. It may be hidden in plain sight so look for a dark dot just under the shell.
  3. Place one of the tines of your two-tined fork on the black dot or vein that you can see.
  4. Holding the shrimp tightly, push the tube into the vein cavity. This will roll off the shell, peeling the shrimp, and devein it at once. 
  5. This process is easier when you run the shrimp under cold water while you fork it. The runny cold water helps the vein come out easily. 

What is the easiest way to devein prawns?

Using a paring knife or small scissors makes the job less time-consuming. Allow us to explain. 

When you use a pairing knife or small scissors, all you have to do is: 

  1. Open the back of the prawn with a knife or scissors. Make sure the opening is deep enough for the vein to be at least visible.
  2. Lift the vein with the tip of your scissors or knife and pull. 
  3. Discard the vein.

Read also: Are Frozen Prawns Deveined?

Do you have to devein prawns?

It all depends on whoever is eating it. The choice to devein prawn all boils down to preference and aesthetics. 

If the prawns in question have a visibly large tract and you find this tract to be unsightly and unappealing, it may be better to devein your prawns before eating them. 

Because smaller and medium-sized prawns may be tasking to devein, suppliers offer already deveined prawns. So if you don’t enjoy the process of deveining prawns, you should check out pre-deveined prawns. 

Read also: Do You Need to Devein the Underside of Your Shrimp?


Do restaurants devein shrimp?

Most restaurants do. While some other restaurants buy already deveined shrimp to cut the stress and time. It may not be unusual to come across a shrimp that hasn’t been deveined in a restaurant, especially the small-sized shrimps. 

Is there vein on shrimp poop?

The vein in shrimp is actually not a vein, rather it is its intestinal tract. This means that the shrimp’s digestive processes happen in this tract. 
The tract contains shrimp feces or partly digested food. Although it contains mostly bacteria, eating it is not harmful. This is the reason people devein the shrimp because even though it is not harmful, the thought is unappealing. 

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

Related Posts