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Prawn Balchao

My mum is the balchao queen! This is her no fail recipe. I have tweaked it a little bit to get the bright red colour. This is a small portion. Mum makes this in bulk. Double or triple the recipe if you want to make bigger portions.

Credit: Aplona Noronha

Collect it:

· 50 gms prawns (cleaned, deveined and chopped medium size)

· 2 tbsps oil

· Salt to taste

Balchao Masala

· 5 red Kashmiri chillies (soaked in hot water for 30 mins or more)

· 1/4 tsp cumin seeds

· 20 pepper corns

· 1 clove

· 1” cinnamon stick

· 1 star anise petal

· 3 fat cloves of garlic or 5 regular size garlic

· 1/4 tsp sugar

· 1/4 tsp salt or to taste

· 1/4 tsp turmeric

· 1 tbsp (for grinding) + 1 tsp (while cooking) malt vinegar

Make it:

Marinate prawns in salt and set aside.

I always soak the Kashmiri chillies in hot water as you get a vibrant red colour. Grind all the ingredients in the balchao masala section above, except turmeric, in vinegar and a little water. Remove in a small bowl and add turmeric.

In a pan, add 1 tbsp oil. Add prawns. Sauté the prawns for no more than 2 minutes and set aside.

Turn the flame to low. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp oil and fry the ground masala till you get a fragrant aroma. Be careful not to burn the masala.

Once the masala has been cooked. Add the prawns and mix well. Add vinegar. Check for salt. Adjust seasoning and turn off the gas.


+ You need not soak the red chillies in water. I like the vibrant colour!

+ If using as pickle which will be stored, add more oil.

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