Saturday, 3 June 2017

Balsuan ~ Prawn Pickle


There are several types of Balsaun in the repertoire of Parsi Cooking. Called Balchao and 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 Patiyo. This Balsaun is made of green chillies and lemon pickle. An old family recipe that has been enjoyed by many generations.

Balsaun ~ Prawn Pickle

Makes about 1 1/2 kg/3.3lb


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
1kg/2.1 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. Gently mixing it from time to time. This will take about 15 minutes.
Now add the the turmeric, salt and jaggery. Mix well until everything is incorporated.
Lastly add the prawns. Stir and cook until tender. 
Fill the sterilised jars and leave it to cool completely before sealing the tops of the jars. Refrigerate up to 3 months.


Chop the prawns into smaller pieces. It is easier to serve it 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 grapeseed oil for this recipe.

Balsaun is served as a side with Khow Suey and Dhun dar.

The spice level of this is medium hot, add two more green chillies at a time to turn it up a notch. 
It is easy to measure the spice level of a chilli by slitting it and smelling it.  The spiceness is generally the highest in the months of September and October. To keep the flavours and not the spice, simply remove the membrane in the centre.

For more Parsi Food recipes click on The Art of Parsi Cooking;reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo courtesy
Niloufer Mavalvala
William Reavell

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