Recipe for Shrimp Balchao Bruschetta by Chef Suvir Saran.
Shrimp Balchao Bruschetta
Portugal once governed Goa, and like many Goan recipes, this one is heavily influenced by Portuguese ingredients like vinegar and bread. The cayenne pepper and dried red chile peppers are optional—completely omit them if you prefer a milder flavor, or, for a truly authentic Goan taste, add more. Shrimp Balchao is extra indulgent on buttered brioche toasts. For a passed hors d’oeuvres, chop the shrimp into bite sized pieces. For a main course, forget the bread and serve the shrimp with rice.
For the shrimp
1/2 kg medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the sauce
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons canola oil
12 curry leaves, roughly torn
3 to 6 dried red chiles
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
2 red onions, chopped
1 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups boxed or canned chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 slices of bread, preferably brioche, brushed with melted butter, toasted, and sliced diagonally into 8 pieces
1. Place the shrimp in a resealable gallon sized plastic bag. Add the lemon or lime juice, salt, pepper and cayenne, shake to incorporate and refrigerate while you prepare the sauce.
2. Place the water next to your stovetop. Heat the canola oil, curry leaves, chiles (if using), cumin seeds and cracked pepper in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the cumin browns, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and salt and cook until they’re browned and sticky, 7 to 10 minutes.
3. When the onions start sticking to the bottom of the pan, splash with water and stir and scrape up. Stir in the sugar and vinegar and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the tomatoes and cook until the texture of the sauce is thick and jammy, about 4 minutes.
5. Add the butter and once melted, add the shrimp, cooking until curled and opaque, 2 to 4 minutes.
6. Place 3 or 4 shrimp on each toast, spoon some sauce over the top and serve.