Prawn Pickle ~ Burmese Balachow

Spicy Prawn Pickle ~ A must have in every Burmese household . My father-in-law is from Burma and we pratically eat it with everything one can think of .. our noodles, our soups , fried rice .What pickes are in an Indian Home, Bala chow is to a Burmese One  :-) This is my Dad’s recipe , which he taught me. Enjoy ! ~ Kamakshi

Prep Time : 20 mins                               Cook Time : 20 mins

Step 1 : Getting your ingredients together.

  • 250 gms Dried Prawns
  • 100 gms garlic
  • 200 gms coarsely grounded red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Aginomoto
  • 2 cups of Oil for frying
  • Salt as per taste

Step 2 : Heat oil in a pan Heat Oil in the pan and when the oil become slightly warm, then put the garlic and fry it on medium heat.Constantly monitor because garlic can easily get over fried and then it will become bitter .It should be fried light golden brown as shown in the picture….. DO NOT PUT GARLIC IN TOO HOT OIL, you will burn it !

Step 3 : Soak the dried prawns in hot water for 5-6 mins and coarsly grind them up  as shown in the picture .


Step 4 : Fry the Prawn mix in the same oil in which the garlic was fried. It should be browned, the water should be dried up and It should be slightly crip. Then add the fried garlic and fry on medium heat for another 5 mins. Add additional oil if you make bigger quantities to store it for longer.This is a pickle so u can be generous with oil and u won’t be eating it in huge quantities :-) , plus you want to store it longer .

Final Step : After frying the garlic and prawns, put off the gas. If the oil and mixture is too hot, then the chilli will get burnt.
Now, add the dried chillies (coarsly grounded) according to your taste, Aginomoto and salt to taste. Mix it all well and VIOLA ! Done !


Note for Vegetarians  : We also have a veg version of this pickle called SI CHAY ~ It is basically the same recipe. But instead of prawn, make it with 100% Garlic and it tastes equally good !
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4 thoughts on “Prawn Pickle ~ Burmese Balachow

  1. My Uncle, who is 98 now used to make a prawn balachow and we loved it!
    The recipe seems to have got lost and Uncle can’t remember how to make it. He spend much of the war in Burma with the Indian army and I am sure that’s where the recipe came from. I am hoping yours is the same so I shall try it out! the only thing I remember is that our balachow looked quite dark in color not orange? Does that make sense at all?

    • Dear Chrissy,

      Yes, it does make sense. The dark brown color comes from the fried onions which can also be added to this recipe. I generally like the taste of garlic and prawns so I omit the onions.

      However, if you like the dark brown color, then in addition to the ingredients above, you need to take 2 Medium size onions, slice them very finely and fry them in the oil ( just like the garlic) till they are golden/dark brown. Then add it with the rest of the ingredients and follow the same recipe. You can also add a bit of brown sugar to get the nice rich color. I hope this helps. :) Happy Cooking !

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