Spot Prawns Two Ways

Mutsuko Soma

Kamonegi, Seattle

"While Mutsuko Soma’s culinary reputation mostly revolves around the fresh soba noodles she rolls out each day in her restaurant, many of the gems on her menu involve her reverent, delicate treatment of seafood. For this recipe, she uses a technique called kimi zyoyu (or soy sauce and egg), to quick-cure the prawn bodies, then creates a warming miso soup from the heads to wash it down. And once you sip the soup, 'you have to suck the heads,' she says. 'It’s mandatory.'

If you are serving this as a meal, lay the tails on a bed of rice. Either way, start with the prawn tails, then follow with the soup—and don’t forget to suck those heads."—Naomi Tomky in The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook


6 servings as a light appetizer or 2 servings as a light meal with rice


  • 6 live spot prawns
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 sprigs chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced


Cut off the heads of the prawns and set them aside for the soup. Peel the bodies, leaving the tails on.

Mix the egg yolk and soy sauce in a small bowl. Stir vigorously a few times until it emulsifies. Dredge each spot prawn through the dressing and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, or as long as overnight. When serving, lay the prawns on a plate or rice bowl, drizzle on the remaining dressing, and top with chives.

Bring a cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. While it heats, trim the whiskers from the prawn heads (this is easiest to do with scissors or kitchen shears). Then, when the water is at a boil, add the heads. Cook for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.

Add the miso to a large ladle that fits into the pot of water and lower it down. Once it’s submerged, use a spoon or chopsticks to agitate the miso, letting it slowly melt into the water as you break up chunks. Once the miso is evenly incorporated, the soup is ready to serve. Top with a generous handful of scallions.

Excerpted from The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook. Copyright 2019 by Naomi Tomky. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press. All rights reserved.