The state of Goa in western India stretches along the Arabian sea, and the cuisine of the Goan region is heavily based on their abundant seafood, with influences from Hindu, Muslim, and Portuguese cultures. The Goans are experts at pickling different types of meat and fish, and this recipe for fresh prawn pickle is no exception.
The prawn pickle needs to rest for a few days so all of the spices can mingle and blossom. It will keep for a long time in the refrigerator, so if you can resist eating it all at once, you can enjoy it with meals for days to come, or plan to make ahead of time and have on hand for guests. It tastes great served hot over boiled rice or daal (legumes such as lentils that are hulled and split and then cooked into a thick stew).
You can adjust the amount of heat in this dish by varying the amount of the red chilies, which is the only spicy element.
- Wash, shell and devein the prawns. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Mix salt to taste and the turmeric powder in a small bowl and rub into the prawns. Set aside to marinate for 1 hour.
- In a food processor, grind the red chillies, ginger, garlic and cumin seeds, adding a little bit of vinegar (but not all 3 cups) to help make into a thick, smooth paste. Set aside.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat and stir-fry the prawns until golden. Drain prawns on paper towels and allow to cool.
- Fry the spice paste in the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil until the oil begins to separate from the masala. Add the remaining vinegar, season with salt if necessary, and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes more. Allow it to cool completely.
- Place the prawns in a glass pickling jar and pour the cooled spice mix over them. Mix well and allow to rest for a few days before eating.
- Serve with rice and daal or just plain boiled rice.