I first tasted it when we were on holiday in Mauritius, on honeymoon to be more specific. We stayed at the Club Med Albion. If you have ever been to a Club Med before, then you definitely know that CM is quite famous for its excellent food. And that was no different at the Albion. An army of highly trained chefs prepared a bunch of cuisines. But I was mainly interested in the local cuisine.
Mauritian cuisine is an unbelievably tasty mixture of different cuisines actually. You can easily find influences from India, France (Mauritius used to be a French colony) Africa, Malaysia, China and even some Creole touches. Why? Years and years ago Mauritius used to be a well known stop for boats because of its central local on maritime shipping routes between Asia, Africa and America.
Needless to say that I overdosed daily on local specialties like rougaille (a Mauritian tomato and fish curry), chicken kalia (chicken and ginger curry) and those delicious local pickled vegetables. And let’s not forget this fish vindaye curry of course, that’s where I got my inspiration from.
Mauritian Vindaye Poisson
The most important ingredient in this delicious dish is vinegar. The acidity kick is massive! Don’t let the word curry mislead you: this dish has nothing to do with Indian curries. You can eat this fish and vinegar curry hot, served over boiled rice or accompanied by bread and a fresh cabbage and carrot salad. But if you ask me, it tastes even better if you eat it cold the day after! Just keep the vindaye in the fridge overnight. It’s a great cold lunch or starter on a hot day.
Soak the red onions in some white wine vinegar 30 minutes before preparing the dish. This will give the vindaye an extra flavor kick. Make sure to choose a good quality fish that doesn’t fall apart easily. Swordfish, tuna, bonito or barracuda are perfect. I like it best with fresh mackerel. Its smoky flavor goes extremely well with the vinegar and onions.
Do you love Mauritian flavors? Then also check out my creamy chicken kalia curry with ginger!
- 12,5 oz fresh fish (350 g)
- 1 medium bell pepper chopped
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves peel and mashed
- 2 inch fresh ginger (5 cm), grated
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar (60 ml)
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- a pinch of saffron threads or saffron powder
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp strong mustard
- vegetable oil
- Combine the saffron and 2 tablespoons of cold water. Let it soak until needed later.
- Add the ginger, garlic, sugar, white wine vinegar, turmeric powder and mustard to a bowl.
- Stir until you get a thick paste. Then add the saffron water.
- Stir again. Put this spice mix aside until needed later. Rinse the fish and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Then chop it into pieces.
- Pour some vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan and place it over medium-high heat until hot. Then add the chopped fish.
- Quickly fry the fish on all sides for 3 minutes. Add the chopped bell pepper and onion.
- Cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the fish and veg to a clean plate. Lower the heat to medium. Then in the same hot pan pour the spice mixture you put aside. Add half a cup (120 ml) of water.
- Stir well. Simmer the mustard sauce for a minute. Then add the fish and veg back to the pan.
- Stir well and then cover the pan. Simmer the vindaye poisson for 10 minutes until the fish in cooked through. Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste.
- Scoop the vindaye poisson onto plates. Serve with rice.