Prawn Balchão (Goan Prawn Pickle)

This is a prawn pickle that has a sweet, spicy and a tangy flavor. Usually, this pickle is prepared and kept for the rainy season when fresh fish is not available.
  • Passive
    0 minutes
  • Prep
    30 minutes
  • Cook
    45 minutes
  • Servings
    8 People


For the Balchão Masala Paste:-
  • 8-10 Kashmiri dry red chillies (see recipe notes below)
  • 4-5 Byadagi red dry chillies (or any dry red spicy chilies)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 6 Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • Vinegar (as required)
Other Ingredients:-
  • Oil (as required)
  • 250 grams Prawns (medium sized)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt (as required)
  • 2 tbsp Vinegar
  • 5 Garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
  • 1 inch Ginger Piece (chopped)
  • 8 Curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 medium sized Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  • 1 Apply 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp turmeric powder to prawns and keep them aside for 15 minutes.
  • 2 Deep fry the prawns for long time till they turn slightly brown and hard (Takes about 15 minutes).
  • 3 Remove deep fried prawns in a bowl and sprinkle 2 tbsp vinegar over them. Keep aside for at leat 1 hour.
  • 4 Prepare the balchão masala by grinding all ingredients under ‘balchão masala’ using vinegar ONLY (don’t use water at any stage), till a fine paste is formed.
  • 5 In a pan, add the same oil that had been used to deep fry prawns. Lightly fry the garlic, ginger and curry leaves. (Don’t brown these ingredients)
  • 6 Immediately add the onion and fry till soft.
  • 7 Stir in the balchão masala and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the prawns and cook (pan uncovered) till gravy masala thickens. Add sugar and adjust salt to your taste. (Balchão has to be spicy, at the same time sweet and tangy)
  • 8 Allow it to cool. Store in a glass container. Allow it to mature for at least 1-2 weeks before its use.

Recipe Notes

  • Do not use water at any stage while preparing the balchao(while grinding masala or while cooking it. Just use vinegar only).
  • Allow it to mature for at least one week before its use at room temperature or for 3 weeks at room temperature. Then you can refrigerate it for 3-4 months.
  • Deseed the kashmiri chilies (for lesser spice for your balchao, which I did) and grinding the kashmiri chilies along with the seeds makes the masala paste spicier.

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