Saturday 3 June 2017

Balsuan ~ Prawn Pickle

Leeloo Balsaun

There are several types of Balsaun in the Parsi cooking repertoire. Balchao or Balsaun. It can be red or green depending on the chillies used in preparing it. 

A typical jhinga nu achar (prawn pickle) is made with red dry chillies, similar to the Tarapori Patyo. This Leeloo Balsaun is made of green chillies (as the name suggests) and lemon pickle. A wonderful condiment is an old family recipe that has been enjoyed by many generations. 

Leeloo Balsaun ~ Prawn Pickle

Makes about 1 1/2 kg/3.3 lb

4 tbsp oil
3 medium onions, finely chopped
8 green chillies
1 tbsp cumin powder
2 tbsp fresh garlic
3 tbsp pickled lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice

Pickled Lemons

1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tbsp jaggery
1 kg/2.2 lb prawns/shrimp

In a pan, heat the oil and add the onions. Saute until pale brown. 
Grind together the green chillies, cumin, garlic, lemon, and lemon juice into a paste. 
Add this paste to the cooked onions and mix well. Cook on a gentle flame until the oils are released on the sides in little beads of sweat. Continue mixing it gently from time to time. This will take about 15 minutes. 
Now add the turmeric, salt, and jaggery. Mix well until everything is incorporated. Another 15 minutes of low heat. 
Lastly, add the prawns. Stir and cook until tender. About 7 minutes. 
Fill the sterilised jars and leave them to cool completely before sealing the tops of the jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. 


Chop the prawns into smaller pieces. Condiments are easier to serve in smaller quantities. Always use a clean, dry spoon. This keeps the pickle from spoiling. 

While any cooking oil works well, I prefer to use grape seed oil for this recipe. 

The spice level of this is medium hot, add green chillies to raise the level of spice . 
It is easy to measure the spice level of a chilli by smelling it once cut. While September and October produce the hottest chillies, removing the central membrane of chillies keeps the flavour and reduces the spice.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Photo courtesy
Niloufer Mavalvala
William Reavell

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