Prawn Balchao

Prawn Balchao

Prawn Balchao is a spicy seafood dish in Goan cuisine. It was introduced in India by the Portuguese during colonisation.

It is served with hot plain boiled rice. The Goan cuisine is heavily based on its abundant seafood, with is influenced from Portuguese culture.

Vinegar is used to grind the various spices and dry red chillies to prepare the ground masala paste for balchao, which will help to store the pickle in the refrigerator for over 3-4 months.

prawn balchao

Prawn Balchao

Prawn balchao has a sweet, spicy and has a tangy flavor. It is usually prepared and kept for the rainy season as a backup, when fresh fish is not available.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 133 kcal


  • Mixing bowl
  • Knife for chopping
  • Cutting board
  • Pan
  • Mixing spoon



  • 20 Nos Prawns
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • Salt according to taste
  • 2 tbsp Cooking Oil (for frying prawns)

Ground paste

  • 15 Nos Black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 Inch Ginger
  • 8 Nos Garlic cloves
  • 12 Nos Cloves
  • 1 & 1/2 Inch Cinnamon stick
  • 12 Nos Red dry chillies
  • 1 No Chopped onion
  • 3/4 Cup Vinegar


  • 4 Nos Garlic cloves
  • 1 No Chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 7-8 Nos Curry leaves
  • Salt according to taste


  • Clean, deshell, devein and marinate the prawns with salt and turmeric powder and keep it aside.
    marinated prawns
  • Prepare ground paste by grinding black peppercorns, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, cloves, dry red chillies and chopped onion with vinegar into a fine paste without adding water.
    ground masala
  • Shallow fry the marinated prawns on a medium heat till they are well cooked on both the sides.
    fried prawns
  • In the same pan add some more oil, add curry leaves, finely chopped garlic cloves and sauté for about a minute or two on a medium heat.
    curry leaves and garlic cloves
  • Then add a large finely chopped onion and mix.
    chopped onion
  • To this add sugar to caramelise the onion which will give a nice colour to this dish. sauté the onion until golden brown in colour.
    caramelised onion
  • Add ground masala paste to the caramelised onion and mix well.
    ground masala
  • Then add Sugar and sauté until it’s dry and then add the fried prawns and mix well so they are coated nicely with the masala paste.
  • Add salt as per your taste, mix and cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat.
    cooked shrimps
  • The delicious prawns balchao is ready to be served.
    prawn balchao



Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving  
Calories 133
Total Fat 11.6g 15%
Saturated Fat 1.8g 9%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 40mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1.2g 4%
  • Deseed the dry red chillies, if you don’t like it spicy
  • Don’t add water to grind the masala paste ( for longer shelf life)
Keyword Prawn Balchao, Prawn pickle, Shrimp pickle

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