Deepa sent me this delicious recipe. It is one of the tastiest prawn dishes I ever had. I thank her a lot for sendng me this. I prepared this dish for a small house party, all the dishes I prepared were Goan. Needless to say, everyone liked this dish and it got over within 2mins :D.
Following is some information sent by her :
Balchaun is pronounced as Bal- as in hair in hindi, chaun- As in “Chow” pronounced nasally, like a Chinese dish.
This recipe has Portuguese antecedents but is commonly made on special occasions in many hindu homes. We usually use slightly bigger prawns. As children we would clamor for it very often but becoz it was so time consuming to make, my mother would oblige our requests, only on special occasions. It goes very well with any pulao but we particularly enjoyed eating it with “paav”, which is a crusty, lumpy looking bread usually found in small bakeries in Goa. It is used to sop up all types of curries from “tondak” ( any legumes-coconut based curry) to “shakuti”( chicken and coconut masala). I think you get this particular bread all along the Konkan coast. The origin of this recipe is Portuguese and it’s usually the forte of Catholic cuisine but one of the rare Portuguese dishes also enjoyed by Goan hindus. Goan hindus usually turn up their noses at the use of vinegar in food preparation but for some reason are more forgiving when it comes to “Balchaun”. I must add though that the best “Balchaun” is likely to be found in a Catholic home in Goa :).
PS: Remember to add vinegar sparingly, slowly and to taste, becoz for persons not used to the acidic sharpness of this additive it can be a jolt. And try and use big prawns. In Goa we try and use Tiger prawns but they are probably either expensive here or not available easily. If you want to omit vinegar, go ahead but the authentic recipe does call for it.
Prawns 2 cups
Tomatos(medium) 1 cup
Coriander leaves 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder 1 tea spn
Garlics 8 cloves
Cumin seeds 1 tea spn
Oil 1/2 cup
Onions(medium) 1 cup
Coriander seeds 1 tbl spn
Red chillies 8
Cinnamon stick 2 1/2 cm
Ginger 2 cm.
Tomato ketchup 1 cup
White vinegar 2 tea spns
Apply tumeric powder and salt to to prawns and keep aside. Grind coriander seeds, red chillies, cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon peppercorn, garlic, ginger to a fine paste.
Heat oil in a skillet and deep fry the prawns till brown. Keep aside.
Cut onions fine and fry in the same oil till they become soft. Add ground masala paste and fry until the mixture begins to give off a strong aroma. Cut tomatos into small pieces, add to the mixture in the pan and fry for only a few seconds. Add salt and fried prawns. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Then add tomato ketchup, mix slowly and well. Add white vinegar and mix well and cook for some time.
Granish with coriander leaves.
Serves : 6
Preparation time : 45min
I shallow fried the prawns instead of deep frying to suite my guest’s request to avoid deep fried items. Still the taste was great.