Prawns with bottle gourd

A Caldin is perhaps the most soul warming food in all of Goan cuisine. Considered the ultimate comfort food, Caldin is essentially a broth made traditionally with prawns and bottle gourd, or pumpkin. The word Caldin is derived from the Portuguese ‘caldinho’ which means broth. The recipe we have here is prawns with bottle gourd and is a Catholic favourite.  There are many Caldin that are immense popular in Goa especially during the rainy season as a hot bowl drive the monsoon blues away in no time. Caldin again traces its origins to the Portuguese era but has undergone many variations as it mingled with Indian spices but without losing its fundamental character.

The Women of Fatorda Caldin de Camarao is an ancient spice blend that has been handed down generations within families and formulated for every day cooking. The following step by step illustrated method will lead you to that prawn caldin with bottle gourd the way it continues to be made in Goan homes generation after generation. Like all our other masalas, this masala too does all the hard work, needing little or no added ingredients, and makes Goan food accessible, desirable and simple to make, allowing you to be not only an expert in Goan cooking without spending too much time in the kitchen but also a connoisseur of traditional Goan cuisine. Enjoy.

What do you need:

  • 15-20 medium sized prawns cleaned
  • 1 medium bottle gourd/dudhi cut into medium cube pieces
  • Coconut milk – 1½ cup thin & 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 medium Onion diced
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 2-3 Green chillies slit
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Caldin De Camarᾶo masala.

How to make coconut milk: Grate 1 fresh coconut. Add half cup of water to the grated coconut into the mixer. Grind until smooth paste is formed. Take a linen or cotton cloth or mesh strainer and sieve the mixture. Squeeze the juice out and collect the milk (this is the thick coconut milk). Now put the coconut pulp back into the mixer and add 1 cup of water. Grind again until well combined and sieve the mixer in a cloth or mesh strainer and collect the milk (this is thin coconut milk).

NOTE: You can also use the readymade coconut milk from the store.

Step 1 – Sprinkle some salt on the cleaned prawns and keep it aside. Heat 2-3 teaspoons of oil in a vessel and add the diced onions.

Step 2 – Sauté the onions for about 2-3 minutes, then add the tomato and green chillies. Fry until it becomes translucent.

Step 3 – Add 2 teaspoons of Caldin De Camarᾶo masala and fry for a minute, add little water to avoid from being burnt. Then add the bottle gourd pieces and mix well.

Step 4 – Add 1 ½ cup of thin coconut milk and let the bottle gourd cook till its soft. Sprinkle some salt for taste and cover the vessel with a lid for 5 minutes.

Step 5 – After 5 minutes add the prawns and cook for 4-5 minutes or till the prawns are well cooked. Then add the thick coconut milk and give a quick stir, let the gravy come to a boil.

Step 6 – Then garnish the dish with coriander leaves and turn of the gas. Serve with steamed rice.

Note – Instead of bottle gourd, you can use pumpkin too, which is gain traditionally used in Goan homes Traditionalists say that prawn caldin or any other variant tastes even better after a day as the coconut milk gets absorbed into the prawns overnight. The beauty of our Caldin spice blend is that it lends itself to dishes with vegetables too. An excellent dish called Caldin de Legumes or Vegetable Caldin, which is a mixed vegetable broth with carrots, potatoes, peas etc in a stew-like coconut gravy, is immensely popular and is a must try for vegetarians. Whatever your fancy, your imagination is the only limit. Do let us know of your efforts at [email protected] and we’ll feature your recipe on our website. You can upload your recipe here.

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