Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mud or Sand Prawns

In Sarawak, the Mud or Sand Prawns appear to be seasonal and usually seen at the end of the year at the height of the North-East monsoon. Apparently they live and burrow in the mud/sand along mud banks of estuaries or mangrove swamps.

They are exposed when heavy rains washed away the mud banks and are collected by local fishermen for sale in the local wet markets in Kuching - albeit in small quantities. The photographs were taken by my brother, Khiong.

 
 

They are about 6' - 8" long with one big and one small pincer, pretty much like the sand crabs. The big pincer is for fighting or self-defense and the small pincer for picking up food. I think the baby aliens in the series of science fiction movies, ALIEN,  were modeled on this creature! Here are some close-ups taken in my kitchen!

 
 
 

To clean them, remove the head carapace and wash away all the insides and remove the gills. There is also a thick (3mm) vein full of mud that starts from the head to the base of the tail. I use a chopstick to push out the vein. Note that in a normal prawn, the vein is along the back of the prawn but in the sand prawn, the thick vein is along the underside of the prawn!

The sand prawn can be eaten steamed, stir or deep-fried. I have not gotten round to cooking it yet. Apparently amongst the Malays, they use it for treating asthma.

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