17th June 2024

Fish Balchao

Fish Balchao

Fish Balchao is a popular Goan sauce that is sweet, tangy and mildly spicy all at the same time. It is influenced by the Portuguese like most Goan dishes. Note that this recipe does not use any dry shrimp as we feel it goes better in a Prawn Balchao and not with a Fish Balchao. The main ingredients in the dish are the fish of course and lots of onion and tomato. Sugar adds the sweetness and vinegar the acidity. This dish is for immediate consumption, though it can be stored for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator too.

Serves: 8 Persons

Prep. Time: 20 Mins. + marination

Cooking Time: 55 to 60 Mins.


[Standard Measure – 1 cup = 250 ml]

  • Fish [Kingfish or similar] (on the bone) – 4 slices (700 to 800 Gms)
  • Onions (finely chopped) – 2 large
  • Tomatoes (peeled & Chopped) – 2 large
  • Curry Leaves – 4 to 5 small sprigs
  • For the Masala Paste:
    • Kashmiri Red Chillies (deseeded) – 10 to 12
    • Garlic – 8 to 10 cloves
    • Ginger – 1 ½ inch
    • Cinnamon – 2 inch
    • Cloves – 8
    • Cumin – 1 tsp.
    • Toddy Vinegar / Synthetic Vinegar – ½ cup
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp.
  • Sugar – 1 to 2 tbsp. or to taste
  • Tomato Ketchup (optional) – 2 tbsp.
  • Oil – 200 ml
  • Salt – 2 tsp. or to taste

Step 1:     Apply 1 tsp. salt and the turmeric powder to the fish slices and leave aside for 30 minutes.

Step 2:     Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a non-stick pan and fry the fish on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove and keep aside (over-frying the fish will make it dry).

Preparation of Fish Balchao

Step 3:     Take another pan and add 150 ml oil to it and when the oil is hot, add the curry leaves. Immediately add the onion and sauté on medium heat till light golden (do not brown).

Preparation of Fish Balchao

Step 4:     Next add the tomatoes and continue cooking on medium heat till they turn soft.

Step 5:     Add the ground masala paste and cook on medium low heat for 3 minutes.

Preparation of Fish Balchao
Preparation of Fish Balchao

Step 6:     Add 150 ml hot water, the sugar, 1 tsp. salt and mix. Add the ketchup (if using) and mix.  Add the fish slices and let it cook uncovered on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes.

Preparation of Fish Balchao
Preparation of Fish Balchao

Step 7:     Check for sugar, vinegar and salt and add more to your taste if required. Cook for another 2 minutes if you have added something. Then cool and store in clean container in the refrigerator for future use (heat a little before serving) or consume immediately.

Fish Balchao


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