How to cook… Prawn Balchão


Serves 4 as a main dish

For such a small state Goa has a rich and varied cuisine. Drawing on influences from Portuguese (who ruled Goa for 450 years until 1961) and Indian cooking and naturally using the the abundant fish and shellfish, Goa has produced some superb dishes. Prawn Balchão is one of them. The fiery prawn dish, considered a pickle by many, includes dried chillies, peppercorns and tamarind to create a hot but tart flavour.

What you need
• 600g prawns, shelled and deveined
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• knob of butter
• 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
• 1 teaspoon ginger paste
• 2 Tablespoons vinegar
• 2 Tablespoons tamarind paste
• 2 Tablespoons oil
• 1.5 onions, finely chopped
• 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
• 1 Tablespoon tomato ketchup
• Salt to taste
• 15 curry leaves

Spice Mix
• 2 peppercorns
• 12 dried, red chillies
• 2 cloves
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

How you make it
1. Mix the turmeric and salt with prawns and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Dry roast the Spice Mix in a pan until they release their aromas (about 3 minutes).
3. Add together the roasted Spice Mix, garlic paste, ginger paste, vinegar and tamarind and blend to a paste.
4. Heat the oil in a pan to a medium heat and fry the prawns until they turn pink (about 3 minutes). Set aside.
5. Heat the oil to a medium heat and fry the onions until soft (about 5 minutes)
6. Add the tomatoes and fry for 5 minutes, mashing the mixture as it cooks. Add a little water as necessary to start creating a thickish sauce.
7. Add the tomato ketchup, Spice Mix paste and curry leaves, mix well and cook for 3 minutes.
8. Add the prawns and stir fry until they are all cooked through (about 3–5 minutes).

You can use any vinegar in this dish but for an authentic taste use coconut vinegar which gives added sharpness.

If you like this you should try our
Medium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken Feet Curry (Africa)

Check out 5 Best Goa Curries

Vinegar is always struggling through life… Whatever he does he ends up in a pickle.

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