Goan Prawns Balchao

Prawns Balchao is a spicy, tangy, pickle like dish from Goan cuisine.  Balchao is a method of cooking made with either fish or meat in a spicy ,tangy onion tomato and chilly paste. The tanginess in the dish comes from vinegar.  Prawns balchao is generally served with rice or pav. But it tastes equally good with appam.


To marinate prawns
300 grams prawns

1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilly powder

For balchao paste
12 cloves garlic

10 dry red chillies
1 ½ inch  Ginger
8 to 10 Black pepper
1 inch cinnamon
4 cloves
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Turmeric powder
½ cup vinegar
3 large onions
3 large tomatoes
3 tbsp oil


  • Clean and devein the prawns.
  • Marinate the prawns with turmeric powder, red chilly powder, salt and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  • To make the balchao paste, blend garlic, dry red chillies, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric powder alongwith vinegar into a fine paste.
  • Peel onions and chop them.
  • Wash and chop tomatoes. 
  • Heat oil in a pan and saute the marinated prawns for 5 to 7 minutes on high flame.
  • Remove the prawns and keep aside.
  • In the same oil, saute chopped onions till the onions turn soft.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy.
  • Add the balchao paste and cook till the masala starts leaving sides.
  • Add the sautéed prawns and ¼ cup of water.
  • Mix well and cook on a low flame for 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice or pav.

Note: You can add a tbsp sugar after adding the sautéed prawns to the masala although I have not added in this dish.


I would also like to draw your attention to my recipe of Maharashtrian Prawns curry and Chilly Garlic prawns


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