Eating warm yet fresh is one of the great winter challenges, so is there anything more perfect than a hearty, brothy clear soup to hit the spot? And making my own stock is somehow just more satisfying. Prawn shells are an incredibly versatile ingredient in both stocks and sauces. For a great seafood sauce, simply caramelise them, for a broth - let them simmer for 15 minutes. So easy, and so worth it. And if you have the guts, don’t throw the head away - really get in there and suck the insides out. Food historians will back me on this: the head is the best part! Oh, and don’t forget a finger bowl of warm water and a wedge of lemon; you want to use your hands. Just don’t confuse it for soup, I did when I was little. It’s not a mistake you make twice.

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Cooking time: 20 minutes serves: 4


  • 5 ml canola oil

  • 15 ml freshly chopped ginger

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 litre hot, good quality, store-bought fish stock

  • 1 red chilli

  • 150 g Shimeji mushrooms

  • 12 prawns, shell on and deveined

  • 30 ml fish sauce

  • 60 ml lime juice

  • 2 spring onions, sliced

  • fresh coriander

  • fresh lime wedges


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the ginger and onion and fry for 3 minutes over medium heat.

  2. Add the stock, chilli and mushrooms and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the prawns and fish sauce and cook until the prawns turn pink.

  3. Add the lime juice and sliced spring onions. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with fresh lime.

Note: If you need more seasoning, add more fish sauce.


time: 30 minutes


  • 500 g prawn shells (body, tail and heads)

  • 30 ml olive oil

  • 3 ml salt

  • 2,5 litres boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Place the prawn shells in a single layer in a roasting tin.

  2. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Give the pan a good shake to mix all the ingredients.

  3. Place it in the oven and roast for 15 minutes until crisp.

  4. Take the roasting tin out of the oven and place it directly on a hob over medium heat.

  5. Pour some boiling water over the shells and bring them to a simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

  6. Give it a taste to check if it needs more seasoning or if it needs to develop a more intense flavour. If so, let it cook for a while longer. This really depends on you.

  7. Carefully pour the stock through a fine colander and decant into containers for freezing or keeping in the fridge.