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    Thread: Mushy shrimp?

    1. 04-16-2002 01:18 AM #1
      The other day, I made a Thai shrimp curry in coconut milk. We used frozen bagged shrimp with the shell on. I thawed them under some cold running water and my boyfriend shelled them. They were rather large and healthy looking, and none had any discoloration or anything else out of the ordinary.

      We ate our curry, and the shrimp was neither overcooked nor undercooked, it was pink and curled and tender with just a little bit of a firmness to it. However, when he got to the bottom of his bowl, he found a shrimp which he described as mushy. I thought it was a fluke, and since mine had so far all been fine, I thought nothing of it. However, as I got to the end of my bowl, my shrimp also became mushy. First it was just the tip of one, and it didn't bother me so much. But my last shrimp was pure mush; it just discintigrated in my mouth to a soft but ever so slightly mealy texture, much like that of whipped potatoes. This completely grossed me out and the rest of the dish was tossed.

      The shrimp had looked fine when I pulled them out, when Brian shelled them and as we ate them, and all had been fine for me up until the last few that we ate. What caused this? I thought it was odd that only the last few shrimp we ate were like this, could there have been something in the curry sauce that, over time, broke down the shrimp? The dish tasted really good, and I'd like to make it again, but I'm afraid of mushy shrimp part 2.

      Any ideas?


      [Modified by mgratzer, 10:19 PM 4-15-2002]


    2. 04-16-2002 08:32 AM #2
      shrimp wouldnt of "broken down" that quickly. Fresh shrimp, even if cooked for a long time doesnt disintegrate im pretty sure. Chances are it was just a coincidence that bad shrimp was at the bottom of the dish. I dont think theres much you can do to avoid having this happen again other then buying fresh shrimp. Of course depending on where you live this could be easier said then done. Try it again, chances are, it was just bad luck.
      -tom

    3. 04-16-2002 09:17 AM #3
      my guess is that the shrimp were wet when frozen (duh) and the quick expansion of that water during the flash freezing caused some of the shrimps' cells to burst, which later caused them to be mushy when thawed and cooked. Probably nothing actually "wrong" with the shrimp itself, but definitely not appealing....

      that's just a guess. if it happens again adn you get deathyl ill, it's not my fault.


    4. 04-16-2002 09:23 AM #4
      Yeah... A lot of times seafood (scallops, etc) are shot with water before being frozen or displayed. It makes them appear to be bigger, fresher. I bet it has something to do with that and being frozen.


    5. 04-16-2002 10:28 AM #5
      ohhhhhhh, ok. I thought they were awfully big when they were in the package, but when we cooked them they shrunk to about half the size.

      Must have been a different supplier? I got them at Trader Joe's, and have never had any issues before.

      It's almost impossible to get fresh shrimp around here, everything I've seen has always been previously frozen. Well, I don't want fresh, then frozen, then sitting thawed in your case for a day. I'd rather just get frozen and thaw it myself; it's fresher that way. I'll try again with another bag.

      Thanks


      [Modified by mgratzer, 7:30 AM 4-16-2002]


    6. 04-16-2002 10:48 AM #6
      No, your shrimp do seem to have been attacked and broken down. White wine will turn a raw shrimp into nothing in about 10 minutes. That's why you can't marinade shrimp for long periods.

      Did you use any of:
      -wine
      -lemon juice
      -papaya
      -vinegar based sauce?

      It could even have been the coconut milk.

      This is a well known phenomenon, that's why you often see shrimp served on top of sauce, and not in/over it.


    7. 04-16-2002 11:09 AM #7
      well, we can't get fresh w.coast salmon (wild), so fair is fair. all the fresh shrimp we can handle, though....

      Note: I've cooked shrimp with/in coconut milk many times with no problems, so i doubt it's that.


    8. 04-16-2002 11:56 AM #8
      i agree that it can be broken down, but it sounds like it was just bad to start with, otherwise all the shrimp would have been mushy, unless they are really really slow eaters and the shrimp only started really disintegrating halfway through their meal. either way, keep on cooking

    9. 04-16-2002 08:41 PM #9
      quote:
      No, your shrimp do seem to have been attacked and broken down. White wine will turn a raw shrimp into nothing in about 10 minutes. That's why you can't marinade shrimp for long periods.

      Did you use any of:
      -wine
      -lemon juice
      -papaya
      -vinegar based sauce?

      It could even have been the coconut milk.

      This is a well known phenomenon, that's why you often see shrimp served on top of sauce, and not in/over it.


      Nope. I know acids will more or less cook shrimp (and a lot of other seafood as well). All I used was coconut milk and curry paste, with some assorted veggies (red peppers, broccoli, cabbage and carrots).


    10. 04-17-2002 07:40 AM #10
      quote:
      It's almost impossible to get fresh shrimp around here, everything I've seen has always been previously frozen. Well, I don't want fresh, then frozen, then sitting thawed in your case for a day.

      You must not be looking hard enough. I know that QFCs all over Seattle have fresh shrimp, and I can't imagine the ones in Bellvue wouldn't. Give Uwajimaya a try. If you want a sure source, go to Mutual Fish in Seattle.

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      04-17-2002 02:09 PM #11
      One other possibility. if they were at the bottom of the bow, they could have been covered with hot food long enough for them to continue to "cook" and get overcooked. I can/does happen when serving really hot stuff with shrimp mixed in...

    12. Member C_walsh's Avatar
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      04-18-2002 04:08 PM #12
      I have seen this happen for a few reasons. Some of which have been covered and some haven't. Acids of any sort will denature a protein over time and cause them to fall apart. Overcooking will casue this as well but not in shrimp, You would have to the shrimp for about 2 hours or more for it to actually turn to mush. I could be the water content of the shrimp but that would have then happened to almost all of them and not just a few. I think it would be from poor storage, not on your part and not necessarily on the part of the store but on the part of the packer. Sometimes before the shrimp are frozen some of the shipment may spend time without enough ice on it, or exposed to sunlight, there can be any number of elements involve, but this cause the shrimp, or anything really to begin to decay, now freezing will stop this process but not completely, so when you defrost the product it continues to decay, and when you cook it you end up with crap. I learned this lesson while working with idiots who thought that even though they forgot to properly store somehing over night they could par cook it and have it be okay for service. Happens pretty often with shrimp, scallops, etc. It does not work and the end result is mushy goo resembling seafood. With a slight odor of ammonia. Hope that helps some.

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