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I know, this is ridiculous but regarding raw shrimps...

Ok so here's the deal. Many recipes feature shrimps. Many of these recipes require the shrimps to be raw which is quite the problem because at least for me, actual raw shrimps are very hard to come by. The only way to get these is if I travel like 1,30 hour because for some reason, no actual shops/supermarkets have raw shrimps, they only have these pink little things! It's quite a problem, I am not quite sure how to handle that because these are already cooked so anything you do with these and they will overcook. An example is salt and pepper shrimps, you're supposed to dip them in cornstarch and stir fry them but won't they pretty much be ruined almost instantly? Am I the only one that has to deal with this problem? If not, how do you handle this?

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  1. What part of the world do you live in? I'm in a tiny town in the south east united states and can buy raw shrimp at most any grocery store.

    Maybe you could have frozen shrimps shipped to you but the shipping charges would likely be more than the shrimp.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kengk

      As far as I know - and I've asked fishmongers about this - almost all of the "raw" shrimp sold in supermarkets is actually shrimp that's been frozen and then thawed. Raw, never-frozen shrimp is apparently the exclusive province of coastal areas (so if that's where your small town is, then maybe they are raw).

      1. re: lamb_da_calculus

        Could this whole thread be a bizarre failure to communicate/language barrier regarding frozen versus raw shrimp?

        I never said the locally available shrimp here were never frozen, I said they were raw. Raw equals not cooked in my mind.

    2. I have occasionally run into this problem and, thinking I could just throw the shrimp into a sauce at the last second, I learned the hard way that pre-cooked shrimp is no good for cooked recipes. They immediately become rubbery and overcooked. The pre-cooked ones are fine for shrimp salad, shrimp cocktail, etc., but re-cook them at your recipes' peril!

      Do you have frozen raw shrimp available to you? Or can you ask at a local fishmonger if they can get the raw ones for you?

      1. You haven't mentioned where you live. In the USA, it is overwhelmingly the case that the raw shrimp sold in supermarkets and seafood markets have been previously frozen. The customer will get the best quality by purchasing a bag of IQF shrimp and defrosting them as needed. Your local store should be able to order frozen shrimp for you.

        1. I suppose I am lucky that there is plenty of raw shrimp available where I live. Until this thread, I would have bet it would have been fairly common anywhere in the US.

          For that recipe (salt & pepper shrimp) I would not try that with already cooked shrimp. I can't imagine how that would be any good. Most big box chain stores will typically have frozen raw shrimp for sale. Safeway, Vons, Albertsons, etc. However, usually that frozen raw shrimp will be headless and all the salt & pepper shrimp dishes I've had comes with head on. Asian stores will have head on frozen raw shrimp, US chains will not.

          I agree with you that most, if not all raw shrimp recipes would not work with cooked shrimp. I'd start looking for a good online source for this product. I can't imagine not having it available. Good luck.

          1. I wouldn't try to fry cooked shrimp. I'd use a different kind of seafood, drive the hour and a half, or just not make the recipe.

            1. I live in Sweden! I don't think there's any raw shrimp at all in my grocery stores, not even frozen! I can't really say I know my local fishmongers well enough to start asking for favors and stuff! :P Same applies for going down to my closest grocery store, it would feel kinda weird asking them to do this! And buying online sounds like quite a hassle as well or rather, it sounds risky. Is that safe enough? Edit: isn't this really expensive as well? As I did mention though, there's a place 1,30 hour away that sell loads of fresh fish and stuff but it's so far away!

              Anyway I know it sounds like I am kinda rejecting all suggestions hehe but I gotta say, I was more interested in seeing if this was a common problem. Apparently not, maybe I am not looking hard enough! :(

              6 Replies
              1. re: lottobear

                I'd just drive the 1.5 hrs once in a blue moon, buy in bulk, and freeze if you have the room. I just looked at some online sellers for you but the $/pound is too high (it would be for me anyway).

                1. re: Rocky Road

                  If they had been previously frozen, it would be better to buy them frozen. Take a cooler along and bring them back on dry ice.

                2. re: lottobear

                  I'm surprised that raw shrimps/prawns are not available in another north European country, particularly one known for its seafood.. Whilst fresh can be difficult to come by in the UK, frozen are readily available in supermarkets. I presume you've tried the big supermarket chains like Coop and ICA?

                  1. re: lottobear

                    "I can't really say I know my local fishmongers well enough to start asking for favors and stuff!"

                    It would be a favor for them as well as a favor for you.

                    1. re: kengk

                      it's not a favor since you will be paying them money.

                      don't waste money buying pre-cooked shrimp. they are usually terrible, even for shrimp cocktail, and cannot be subbed for raw successfully. truly a waste of time and money.. buy in bulk whenever you get near that city, or find another substitute. can you buy langoustines?

                    2. re: lottobear

                      "I can't really say I know my local fishmongers well enough to start asking for favors and stuff! :P"

                      It's not a favor -- it's their JOB! That's what they're there for, to serve their customers, and if they didn't want to do it they wouldn't go into the business! :) In all seriousness, if you go to a fishmonger who is a perfect stranger and ask about a special order, their only response should be to give you the details. You might have to order a larger quantity, but if you're willing to freeze what's left, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

                    3. Call me crazy....but, believe it or not, I've found frozen raw shrimp in IKEA. This was in France, but since Sweden is the home of IKEA, I must assume the same products (and more) are available to you. So if that place that's 1,30 hours from your home is NOT IKEA, is there an Ikea that's closer?

                      1. Do not -- and I mean DO NOT -- deep fry cooked shrimp.

                        I am utterly shocked that you cannot find frozen raw shrimp within a convenient distance of where you live -- even in Sweden.

                        If that's true, you have my sincere sympathies.

                        1. I can't say I've scouted the whole city but at least my stores nearby. I am pretty surprised myself to be honest, especially after seeing all you here claiming it's very common. It almost makes me wonder if I may have actually just walked right past them *embarassed*. In fact, I'mma go right ahead tomorrow morning and look for these, I'll visit my nearest stores again then I'll visit some others that I haven't been to before and then I might just head for IKEA. The truth is that I had kinda given up the hope a bit, I figured that actual raw shrimp just wasn't common in grocery stores so that's why I made this thread! Hopefully this will go well...

                          Although I gotta say I haven't been to IKEA for years, it came as a surprise to me when you said that IKEA would have frozen raw shrimps, maybe they've stepped up from just furniture these recent years.

                          As for the langoustines, I haven't been on the lookout for these so I can't remember if those I've seen have been cooked or raw but I do know that a family member bought raw langoustines not too long ago!

                          As for ICA and Coop: Yes, at least those that are close to me.

                          If I don't find anything, I'll just have to man up, go the long distance and buy crap loads of them and put them in the freezer like suggested earlier! I'll update on the situation tomorrow!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lottobear

                            After you said you lived in Sweden plus the long drive to the store I assumed you lived in some distant outpost above the Arctic Circle.

                            "Man up" and ask the grocer where they are or to please order some raw frozen shrimps for you. : )

                            1. re: lottobear

                              Each month we drive 3 hours to purchase good ingredients (and make a weekend out of it). Well worth the drive in my opinion. :-)

                              1. re: lottobear

                                Yes, IKEA has a small food department (along with the vast collection of furniture), although I don't know for how long. (I found frozen raw shrimp at least 3 years ago. ) In fact, many years ago my first venture to an IKEA was on an odd excuse for a business lunch near CDG airport, where the host insisted that the IKEA smorgasbord would be enjoyable. (It was 'different'.) So in some ways they've always been in the 'food' business ...:-) In any case, if you have no other alternative in your area, maybe a trip to IKEA will solve your problem. Please report back!

                              2. Rather than driving all over, you might want to spend an hour on the phone calling around. I do not have access to fresh, raw shrimp on a regular basis, but I find frozen ones to be a great choice because then you can thaw them right before you use them....with raw but previously frozen shrimp they could have been sitting around for awhile. (By the way, I just read an interview with Swedish Chef Leif Mannerström. He says Sweden has great shrimp and then says they are usually cooked on the fishing boats right away...so therein lies your problem.)

                                1. And here's more information that explains your difficulty getting raw shrimp....it's from a study on Scandinavian fishing practices. "There are two different Swedish markets for Pandalus [term for shrimp], resulting in two different kinds of landings: high valuable large shrimps boiled onboard and smaller low value shrimps landed raw to the industry for further processing."

                                  1. Yeah I went to three grocery stores today (before reading the the two latest posts) and one guy told me the same thing that I'd have to look very hard for raw shrimps cuz they are cooked on-board the fishing boats. He did tell me though the same thing one of you told me; that langoustines was a viable option and that it is a bit easier to find these raw!

                                    I wonder if these local fishmongers can get raw shrimps if they are that hard. The place that I was refering to earlier, that's a bit far away, is a market where they sell delicate stuff, fresh fish, "rare" meat like pigeon and so on, I suppose they might have it but reading all this, I am thinking I'd rather just call them instead of driving there...

                                    I think one thing that makes it even trickier is that I live on the east side of Sweden and it's the west that's known for it's seafood and that's also where the shrimp is fished!

                                    Oh well, I guess there's a lot of other good things other than shrimps, guess I'll just have to try my best and avoid shrimp recipes and once in a while, I'll try and find some langoustines! *cry*

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: lottobear

                                      don't cry! i LOVE langoustines and wish i had better access to those!

                                    2. Just wanted to give an update:
                                      I suppose it's true when they say that you shouldn't be too quick to judge. Although I did mention how I visited several stores, there was one store nearby that I entirely chose to ignore. A very bad store, they don't have much at all and so I decided that if the five other stores I've visited did not have them, there would be absolutely no way this shoddy place would have them!


                                      Well guess what. I visited five big grocery markets and none had raw shrimp but this crappy place for some reason, had them!!! They actually had the frozen shrimps that were so hard to find. I only went in there to buy milk and I was completely blown away!

                                      Hopefully they'll keep stocking them!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lottobear

                                        if you keep buying them, that will help! glad you found them.