Saturday, November 19, 2011

Prawn Balchao: The Goan Prawn Pickle

This is a special recipe, Prawn Balchao is something I adore. My wife, 10 month old baby and I are back from a road trip, we drove from Mumbai to Nepal and back. Prior to leaving my mother was over and we cooked this Prawn Balchao.

So when we got back there was this full bottle of Balchao waiting for me in the fridge, needless to say I finished the entire thing in one go. So I am excited to share this one with you. As usual, you guys are in for a treat!

Prawn Balchao Masala Ingredients:
prawn balchao masala ingredients
24 Kashmiri Chillies
1 Inch Piece Ginger
6 Flakes Garlic
1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Jeera
1/2 Teaspoon Haldi Powder
A Small Ball of Tamarind
Vinegar around 200ml

Other Prawn Balchao Ingredients:
prawn balchao gravy ingredients
2 Medium Sized Cups of Prawns
4 Medium Onions cut fine
1/2 Inch Ginger cut into Jullians
6 Flakes of Garlic cut fine
2 Green Chillies
2 Sprigs of Curry leaves
300 to 500 ml of Oil depending on storage

Put all the masala ingredients in the blender
put the prawn balchao ingredients into the blender
They needed to be blended in vinegar so add around 200ml
blend the ingredients in vinegar
It needs to be a fine blend take for example the masala below is not quite done, can still see the chilly seeds and its coarse.
semi done balchao masala
Hope your prawns are cleaned or you can do that while your masalas getting done.
a bowl of fresh prawns
Your Balchao Masala should look like what it is below.
balchao masala
Once your prawns are cleaned, saute them for a while.
stir fry the prawns
Now you need to chop the second set of ingredients, onions, ginger and garlic.
chop the second set of ingredients
Your prawns should be fried by now, keep them aside till they cool off and become easy to handle.
keep the fried prawns aside
Put some oil into the pan and put the curry leaves on the fire.
fry the curry leaves
Add the juliennes of ginger and stir fry with the curry leaves.
add the juliennes of ginger
Then add the garlic pieces are continue frying
add the garlic pieces
When slightly brown add the onions and yes, keep frying!
add the onions keep frying
While thats happening, chop your prawns into pieces this is if you have large or medium size prawns. You want the masala flavour to get into it.
chop the prawns into pieces
You have reached a culinary check point once your onions are nice and brown.
saute till brown
Its time to add the balchao masala to the ingredients.
add the balchao masala
Now mix the masala up with the ingredients and let it fry as well.
fry the balchao masala
Once thats done, add the chopped pieces of prawn to the masala, your prawn balchao is nearly ready.
add the chopped prawn pieces
Mix the prawn balchao ingredients in the masala till its spread evenly.
mix the prawns in the balchao masala
Split and cut into pieces two green chillies or more if you want your prawn balchao extra spicy.
chop a green chilly or two
Add the green chilly to the prawn balchao and your done. If you are going to consume the balchao immediately you can use less oil during the steps.

If you plan on preserving it for a long time add more oil, you need to make sure once you bottle it, there should be oil floating above the contents for it to be well preserved.

Hope you enjoyed yet another recipe my mother had to offer :) As usual, please help us by spreading and sharing our website, thanks all!
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  1. Looks like a great recipe. Will try it out for sure

  2. One of the best pictured and explained methods of making Prawn Balchoa, well done Deb.
    Can I re post your recipes on our website?
    with full credit of course !!

  3. this is awesome.. just gave it a shot and got 90-95% close to what my grandmum and mum aka the master chef make.. perhaps the addition of some jaggery or sugar... thanks a lot from Belden in South Africa

  4. Thanks will try your recipe.Do we need to grind the spices with some water too?

    Anita from Canada

  5. Anita, grind them in vinegar :)

  6. @ colin

    you can link to us if you like, im a little apprehensive of the use of the recipes everywhere....

    perhaps half the recipe and a link :) lol

  7. Thanks for the was simply delicious!! A must try for those who haven't tried it yet....Sharon

  8. hi i m goa, n i have eaten balchao before , infact its one of my fav. though i belong from a hindu family .. i have had lots of christian friends n their mothers would specially serve it for me at meal. my mouth is watering while writing this:)... but i always thought as i read on the net that even dry small prawns(galmo) paste is also added to it.. is this true? or is it that its a entirely different recipe? thanks for this recipe.. i will surely try this when i get back home..

  9. Do you know where in Bombay, I can get those Humongous Chillies we use to get the the red color for Sorpotel without the heat ??

    1. in bombay u need to ask for kashmir chillies.

  10. I tried it today… Yummy in my tummy :)
    Thank you

  11. This is a superb recipe as are the other ones. Thanks for this .

  12. Can you please tell me how long can we preserve this.

  13. can v use this masala for dry bombay duck....bombil

  14. having lived in Bombay i am familiar with Goan food and balchao is a favourite i think I have found the perfect recipe now .thank you. Have been googling because i don't like cinnamon

  15. @merry bee

    yes you can but you may have to keep it standing for longer so the bombil soaks in all the masala :)

  16. Thanks a lot for this recipe! What Vinegar should one use? I'm in the uk and the most common here is malt vinegar. I'm guessing the regular white one?

  17. Tried your receipe ...its great. Wanted receipe for Goan Brinjal Pickle. Thanks

  18. Tried this and its good. I don't have to buy packets of ready made balchow any more. Thanks a ton.

  19. Recipe is so well explained with pictures, so we know exactly how its gonna look in the process. Love it. Thanks!!!

  20. My mouth is already watering looking at this recipe...Is Prawn Balchao and Prawn Moelho the same?

  21. made this 4 times now...with dried prawns and twice with salted very, very one to try is with bomli ....:) thanks so much for this wonderful recipe

  22. hi which vinegar is to be used here ..looks like u have used some other vinegar than the regular white one ...?

  23. Tried it!! Awesome .. For keepers!!

  24. I have made this with Bombay ducks, it taste awesome, especially on a rainy day with dal and rice. The Bombay ducks need to be soaked in water so they become a bit moist, squeeze out the water, add a little haldi and salt, fry just like you would the prawns, and follow the above recipe. Enjoy...

  25. Thank you for the fantastic recipe! Wanted to make it myself in Canada so my parents wouldn't have to sneak bottles through customs when coming from India. Thrilled about the results and authentic taste!

  26. Fantastic recipe! What type of oil do you use?

  27. Clyde, could you ask your Mum a query for me please. I'm inclined to use Kashmiri chilli powder for its convenience. A no no in India. Could I soak the chillies in vinegar to soften, then grind/puree them and preserve them in a bottle and use as needed. Would that be better than using the chilli powder. Thanks......Lydia

  28. Tried it. Great. Your Mum is amazing. Thanks to her we can enjoy.


  29. Is this like the lovley Balchao curries you get in the shacks?

  30. Hi Clyde,
    The recipe is fine but let me share a secret with all you guys - add the Goan Jaggery (Maadachen Goad) and tell me the difference in taste.

  31. How about adding a little powder made by grinding dry prawns? It does give a better flavour

  32. Excellent! I made it & everybody loved it. Thanks!!
    btw, I didn't find salt mentioned, but added it anyway :)


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