This aromatic Goan Prawn Balchao is sweet, tangy, and packed with flavour. Traditionally, Prawn Balchao was eaten as a pickle during the monsoons but is now enjoyed all year round.
For Marinating the Prawns
- 2 lbs (900 grams) Small/Medium size Prawns
- ¼ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Salt (to taste)
For the Spice Mix
- 30 Kashmiri Chilles (deseed 15)
- 12-15 Garlic Cloves
- 1½ inches Ginger
- 2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
- 1½ inch Cinnamon Stick
- 1 tsp Peppercorns
- 20 Cloves
- 2 teaspoons Turmeric Powder
- 1¼ cups Vinegar (Goa/Red Wine Vinegar) for grinding (Add as required to get a smooth paste. Make sure not to add any water)
- 1-1¼ cups Oil
- ¼ tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 Sprig Curry Leaves (about 10–15 leaves)
- ½ inch Ginger, minced (in the video I said garlic in error
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 2 Green Chilies, medium, finely sliced
- 1 Large Red Onion (200grams), finely diced
- 2½ tbsp Sugar (to taste)
- Salt to taste
- Deseed 15 Kashmiri chilies and add all the Kashmiri chilies, garlic, and ginger in a bowl and pour ¾ cup of vinegar into the bowl. Allow the ingredients to soak in the vinegar. Keep the bowl aside.
- Shell, devein, wash and pad dry the prawns. Season them with turmeric powder, Kashmiri chili powder, and salt. Give them a mix, cover with plastic wrap and keep them aside to absorb the flavours.
- In the jar of the mixer add the soaked chilies, garlic, and ginger, along with the vinegar, and grind to a fine paste. Now add the cumin, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and turmeric powder to the mixer jar. Pour ¼ cup of vinegar into the jar in two batches, scraping the jar down while adding the vinegar. Continue grinding the spice mix till you get a fine paste.
- Now to a heavy bottom skillet on medium heat, add ¼ cup oil, and sear the prawns on both sides. Make sure that each prawn touches the bottom of the skillet. Searing the prawns in two or three batches is a good idea so that you do not overcrowd the skillet. Add more oil as required before searing each batch. While searing the prawns, you want to cook the prawns only 30-40% on both sides, do not overcook them. Remove the seared prawns from the skillet and place them on a plate and set them aside.
- In the same skillet add ½ – ¾ cup oil and toss in the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds begin to splutter, add the curry leaves, minced ginger, garlic, and chopped green chilies.
- When all the ingredients have sautéed well and the garlic starts turning golden toss in the chopped onion and continue to sauté the onions till they get caramelized and turn golden brown.
- Now add the spice mix paste and add sauté until the oil begins to separate, that should take about a minute or two.
- Add the seared prawns and all the juices left behind on the plate.
- Give it a good mix so that the prawns get well coated with the spice mix
- Add the sugar and give it another mix and allow the Prawn Balchao to cook for another 4-5 minutes or so until the prawns are completely cooked and the oil begins to come to the surface.
- Taste to check if you need to add any more salt.
- Allow it to cool completely before storing it in a well-sterilized jar.
- Prawn Balchao tastes its best 15-20 days after it has been prepared. This gives the flavours a chance to mature.