10th April 2024

Goan Prawn Molho

Goan Prawn Molho

The Goan Prawn Molho is a sweet, tangy and mildly spiced pickle made with fresh prawns. This recipe for the Goan Prawn Molho was shared to me by Giselda Menezes of Madhouse Balcao (read here). It is her mom’s signature recipe. Thank You Gis for sharing your mom’s treasured recipe with me. The recipe makes use of dates to add body and texture to masala and therefore has a very unique taste. Inspired by this recipe, I have experimented and also made a recheido masala using dates and that too has turned out good (find the recipe here). I definitely urge you all to make the Goan Prawn Molho using this recipe – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Prep. Time: 15 Mins. + 2 to 3 Hours (soaking)

Cooking Time: 70 to 80 Mins.


[Standard Measure – 1 cup = 200 ml.]

  • Prawns (medium to large) – 1 kg
  • Dates (deseeded) – 12 or more
  • Onions (finely chopped) – 3 to 4 medium
  • Toddy Vinegar – 400 ml. or to taste
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp.
  • For the Masala Paste:
    • Kashmiri Red Chillies (stemmed & broken) – 25
    • Ginger (peeled) – 2 inch
    • Garlic (peeled) – 12 cloves
    • Cloves – 10 to 12
    • Black Pepper Corns – 20
    • Cinnamon – 2 inch piece
    • Cumin Seeds – 1 tbsp.
  • Sugar – 1 tsp. or to taste
  • Oil – 300 ml
  • Salt – 1 tsp. or to taste

Step 1:     Soak the dates in 50 ml vinegar for 2 to 3 hours.

Step 2:     Shell and devein the prawns. Apply the salt, turmeric powder to the cleaned prawns and keep aside for 30 minutes.

Preparation of Goan Prawn Molho
Preparation of Goan Prawn Molho

Step 3:     Soak the broken red chillies in 100 ml vinegar and keep aside for 2 to 3 hours.

Step 4:     Later, grind the soaked red chillies and all the ingredients for the masala to a fine paste using the remaining vinegar. Keep aside.

Step 5:     Finely grind the soaked dates separately and keep aside.

Step 6:     Heat 100 ml oil in a frying pan and fry the prawns on medium heat till cooked and lightly browned. Drain and take the prawns out of the pan and keep aside.

Preparation of Goan Prawn Molho

Step 7:     In the same pan heat another 200 ml oil and add the chopped onions and cook till light golden on low heat stirring occasionally in between (about 30 minutes).

Step 8:     Next add the spice paste and continue cooking on low heat for another 10 to 12 minutes stirring occasionally.

Preparation of Goan Prawn Molho

Step 9:     Add the fried prawns, the date paste and sugar and mix to coat well. Cook for another 10 minutes on low heat till the oil floats on top.

Preparation of Goan Prawn Molho

Store in a sterile glass bottle topped with the oil.


  • You can adjust the quantity of vinegar, dates or sugar to suit your taste.
  • Adding 2 to 3 tbsp. palm feni before storing will help to preserve it for a longer time.
Preparation of Goan Prawn Molho


  1. I never knew I would ever make a Prawn Molho…that so so perfect.Thank you so much for the recipe.Its just perfect…super ….wish I could attach the picture ..

    • My Mom and My Grandmother never ever added dates… she preserved it for months with pure homemade vinegar.. its just perfect with vinegar. I never knew that coconut feni could be used.. thanks for the recipe.. wd extra ingredients sugar and dates…

  2. Hi, does this have a long shelf life ? was just curious because of the onions. Thank you will surely try this out shortly.

    • It has a long shelf life because the onions are well fried. Balchao on the other hand has tomato and so has less shelf life.

  3. Just wanted to appreciate this recipe. I have been following this recipe for 3 years now and this is a big hit among all relatives and office folks. I make huge batches and distribute this. The dates are a game changer. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Reminds me of my childhood.

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