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The Hirshon Goan Spicy Prawns - Balchão

The Hirshon Goan Spicy Prawns – Balchão

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  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • For the Balchão Masala Paste:
  • 8 Kashmiri dried red chilies
  • 5 Byadagi dried red chilies (or any dried red spicy chilies)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods, peeled
  • 1/2 peeled black cardamom (optional, TFD addition)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 SMALL pinch freshly-ground asafoetida
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • Raw coconut vinegar (as required)
  • ***
  • Oil (as required)
  • 1/2 pound / 250 grams shrimp (medium sized)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt (as required)
  • 2 tbsp raw coconut vinegar
  • 5 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
  • 1 inch peeled ginger (chopped)
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1 medium-sized onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp grated jaggery sugar


  1. Apply 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp turmeric powder to the prawns and set them aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Deep-fry the prawns until they turn slightly brown and hard, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove deep-fried prawns into a bowl and sprinkle 2 tbsp vinegar over them. Set them aside to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Prepare the balchão masala by grinding all ingredients under ‘balchão masala’ using vinegar ONLY (don’t use water at any stage), until a fine paste is formed.
  5. In a pan, add the same oil that was used to deep-fry the prawns. Lightly fry the garlic, ginger and curry leaves. (Don’t brown these ingredients)
  6. Immediately add the onion and fry until soft.
  7. Stir in the balchão masala and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the prawns and cook (pan uncovered) until gravy thickens. Add sugar, tamarind 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.
  9. Recipe Notes
  10. Do not use water at any stage while preparing the balchao (while grinding masala or while cooking it. Just use vinegar only).
  11. 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.
  12. De-seed the kashmiri chilies (for lesser spice for your Balchão, which I did) and grinding the kashmiri chilies along with the seeds makes the masala paste spicier.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours
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