Portuguese traders and explorers from the 16th Century should be thanked for the wonderful spicy Prawn Balchao to be created. They took spices, vegetables and shrimp paste from India to Macau where they were integrated into the local cuisine. During this time, Goa was a Portuguese colony until it joined India in 1959. “Bacalhau,” as it is called in Macau, was eventually created and taken to Goa where it evolved into the famous Prawn Balchao that is so popular in Indian cuisine today.

Goa is the smallest state in India as well as its richest state. Located on the western coast of the country along the Arabian Sea, Goa is a popular international tourist destination for beautiful beaches, historical sites, religious sites and fantastic food. Seafood is one of the most popular ingredients along with rice, coconut milk and kokum that is the fruit from the tree by the same name (also called the sour apple tree). Paste made from this fruit is used instead of tamarind to give a sour flavor to food. The food has also received some distinct influences from the Portuguese such as the use of chiles, tomatoes, potatoes and pineapples that they brought from Brazil.

 

Prawn Balchao features sweet, sour and spice in one dish.

Prawn Balchao features sweet, sour and spice in one dish.

Prepared with either fish or large shrimp, the Indian recipe for Prawn Balchao has a thick and tangy dark red sauce that is said to resemble an Indian pickle in its flavor and texture. It tastes sweet, sour and spicy all in one bite for a mouth-watering treat. The use of vinegar in this recipe should not be a surprise since the Portuguese were seafaring people who used it to preserve food. This Indian recipe is most often served with plain boiled rice so the rich flavors can be highlighted effectively. Sometimes you can find prepared Balchao Masala at Indian grocery stores that is made with cumin, red chiles, sugar and vinegar ground together to make a paste. I prefer to make the masala fresh; it doesn’t take much time at all.

 

The flavor of this Prawn Balchao recipe is so incredible that it is now my husband’s favorite Indian recipe! Try it at your next dinner party; you will receive rave reviews and requests from your guests for a repeat performance!

 

Click to see the Prawn Balchao Recipe.

 

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Since December was the month of indulgent partying and eating, I thought I would share a light version of Seafood Biryani recipe as the January Indian Recipe of the Month to help get us back on track.

My husband bought a bag of frozen langoustines from the store the other day and decided it would make a great Seafood Biryani. I thought about it for a minute and realized that since there is Fish Biryani and Shrimp Biryani, why can’t there be Seafood Biryani?

Seafood Biryani made with langoustines.

Seafood Biryani made with langoustines.

I had purchased a box of Fish Biryani spice from my favorite Indian store, National Imports, during my last trip to Carrollton. This spice blend was produced by a company I had never heard of before: Eastern Condiments. I learned that it is a large company based in Kerala, India that provides individual spices as well as a large array of spice mixes. I chose this product because a company in the region of Indian on which I focus made it and I was thinking about writing another product review in a future blog entry.

We used the Eastern spice mix, supplemented it with our own spices, lightened up the recipe to reduce the calories and had dinner on the table in 45 minutes (something that can’t be done when following a traditional recipe). It turned out to be fantastic!  Serve it with some onion raita or even plain yogurt on the side and you will receive may rave reviews when your family and friends taste the first bite!

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Since we are approaching the busiest time of the year, I want to give you a new spiced up seafood recipe called Shrimp Avinasi that is easy to make and absolutely delicious. It is a hit at my house especially with my son. It literally takes just minutes to prepare and, when served on top of geera rice (a simple fried rice that is seasoned with just cumin seeds, salt and pepper) with a nice green vegetable of your choosing, will delight your family and guests.  My Shrimp Avinasi recipe will become a favorite! Enjoy!

 

Shrimp Avinasi Indian recipe

Shrimp Avinasi Indian recipe

Note: A friend of mine has just returned from a two month trip to Mysore which is in the state of Karnataka just to the north of Kerala. She recently commented that she misses the Dosa and Coconut Chutney. As a welcome home gift, the recipes for these dishes will be the Recipes of the Month for December so she can make them for her family at home. Originally from Kachi’s kitchen in Kerala, I have adapted them for U.S. kitchens. I hope you enjoy them, Lisa!

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My husband was never taught how to cook when he was young even though he grew up in a home in which the food was always delicious and plentiful.  After coming to the U.S. for graduate school, he had to learn how to cook on his own very quickly in order to avoid fast food restaurants.  Studying to be an engineer, he approached cooking just as he would a science experiment.  He had to use ingredients that were inexpensive, were nutritious and would not spoil quickly since he was living on a very tight budget and spent all of his time studying.  Remembering the recipe for Vegetable Rice (Pachacurry Pulav) which was featured in March, he added a can of tuna and a couple of eggs to make a one pot meal that was high in protein.  The October Indian recipe is my husband’s special creation – Tuna and Egg Fried Rice.

Tuna and Egg Fried Rice is a very easy recipe to make.

Tuna and Egg Fried Rice is a very easy recipe to make.


This Tuna and Egg Fried Rice Recipe is so good and easy to make that both Kachi and my husband’s sister now make it.  I think this is a good introductory recipe for people who are not used to Indian food and spices as well as those who have eaten it for years.  We had it for dinner tonight with raita and pappadams.  Delicious!

 

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This month I thought I would post a brand new Indian recipe for Salmon Cutlets. Normally we make our Salmon Cutlet recipe with fresh salmon but since my freezer was stuffed full of food, my husband and I started a campaign to empty it before freezer burn sets in.  The first item we pulled out was a package of frozen salmon filets. He turned them into delicious Salmon Cutlets by adding chopped shallots, garlic, potato and spices.  He breaded the cutlets before pan frying them.  (I served them with tartar sauce and a few other sauces but every commercial sauce turned out to be entirely unnecessary.)  The flavor and texture of the cutlets was exquisite so they could stand up as an entrée by themselves.  With a simple green salad or grilled asparagus (as I served them), they made a very pleasant (and simple) dinner.
 

Salmon Cutlets

Salmon Cutlets


 Try my Salmon Cutlet Recipe tonight. It is easy to make and tasty. Everyone will love them!

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Baby Shrimp Fry

Baby Shrimp Fry

I just finished posting the Indian recipes for March.  I picked them because they are a great introduction to Indian food.  I simplified them from the traditional recipes so they would be quick and easy to make and would not be too spicy.  I modified the vegetarian recipe for  Vegetable Rice by changing the ratio of vegetables to rice.  I love a lot of vegetables in my food.  With all of the delicious vegetables, I feel that I am eating a meal.  This recipe has substantially less oil so it is not as rich or caloric as the original.  The Baby Shrimp Fry recipe was created by my husband during his time in graduate school at Ohio University.  He reduced the number of steps and reduced the cost by using baby shrimp.  It makes a wonderful presentation with any dinner.  The Raita recipe is very simple and is a refreshing compliment to the shrimp and rice dishes.  Feel free to experiment with the ingredients you use in this recipe and make it your own. 

 

Just click on the Recipes link to find these delicious recipes….

 

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