Friday, May 17, 2013

Shrimp Balchao

My brother made this really, as in REALLY, spicy HOT shrimp dish, called Shrimp Balchao, and believe you me, my tongue was on fire! And yet, since I am this crazy hot & spicy fanatic, I thoroughly thoroughly (yes, I had to say that twice) enjoyed it.

Traditionally, Balchao (pronounced Baal-Chow) is a form of cooking meat, usually pork, or sea food in a hot-sour-sweet sauce, that incorporates vinegar, red chilies, sugar, and tomato paste. It is almost like pickling, and the dish, or the pickle, really, can be easily stored for a few days. 

Here's my take on Shrimp Balchao, taking inspiration from my brother: 

The Balchao part: 


1 Onion

10 cloves of garlic (oh yeah!) 

1 inch (or more) ginger

I use 4-5 habanero chilies (My brother used 12-15 thai chilies!) 

Note on habanero: 

Like any other hot chili, don't touch your face after you have handled the habanero! I can assure you that you will be in trouble!! 

1 tablespoon vinegar (rice vinegar) for the tang

1 tomato 

A couple teaspoons of sugar


I take all the above ingredients, and blend them all together in my food processor. Easy! Don't be tricked by the color- that paste is fiery! 

Balchao Masala
The Shrimp:

I marinate the shrimp with salt, garlic powder, and pepper for 30 minutes or so (or overnight, if it needs to be thawed in the fridge). 

Shrimp marinating
When it is time to cook, I sauté the shrimp in a little bit of oil. You know that the shrimp is done when it turns pink, and curls up. Takes max 2-3 minutes! 

Cooked Shrimp 

Final Steps (I have underlined the extra ingredients you need):

1. I take a pot/pan/kadhai and pour in a few teaspoons of oil, and get the heat going. 

2. Splutter a teaspoon of mustard seeds, followed by some curry leaves (optional), a pinch of turmeric powder, and then throw in the Balchao paste. And start frying it all. 

Frying the Balchao paste
3. Fry it until the paste has gotten rid of the water, and oil has separated from the rest of the paste. At this point, I add salt to taste, as well as a teaspoon of garam masala. Fry it again for a couple minutes. 

4. I add about a cup to a cup and a half of water- based on how much shrimp I'm using (it is all about estimating!). And then, just for more color, I mix in a couple teaspoons of concentrated tomato paste. I give this a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes. 

5. In the end, I fold in the cooked shrimp, and simmer for another 5 minutes. I don't like to simmer too long, else the shrimp gets overdone. 

Folding in the shrimp 
*My daughter doesn't like shrimp, and so for her, I add a couple potatoes. I first cook the potatoes in the balchao gravy, and then in the end, throw the shrimp in. 

Shrimp Balchao
Eat it with steaming hot, plain rice, and get ready to set your tongue on fire!! Don't forget to cool off with a nice, cold cup of buttermilk! 

Set your tongue on FIRE!! 


spartan said...

Heh heh ...I read it as Shirmp Bachao ;) - you saw that coming did'nt you?
So erm...if i were a not a vegetarian, I would have said shrimply fantatstic recipe!

Aparna Heroor said...

@spartan OMG! My original title was, in fact, Shrimp BACHAO! Haha! Great minds think alike! ;) And thanks! :)