Fish Vindaye, for gourmets

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Vindaye poisson recette mauricienne

A delicious and spicy dish, vindaye is a wonderful way to enhance the flavour of fish. This Mauritian recipe is a fantastic alternative to the traditional curry. Prepared in a spice bath, vindaye is one of the favourite recipes of Mauritians. An ideal way to accompany different fish, its bright mustard yellow colour and the flavours it gives off are mouth-watering.

In Mauritius, vindaye is often referred to as "Mauritian gajak" with fresh bread. Rather, it is a dish that can be found almost anywhere, served as an appetizer before dinner to accompany a drink. Vindaye is simply a dish that contains spices: turmeric, mustard, vinegar, fresh chillies and crispy onions. The fish is usually fried and then marinated, and is very similar to a fish curry. It is most often made with firm fish such as tuna, snapper, sea bass, golden moon or swordfish.

It can just as easily be eaten as a main dish with other side dishes. Indeed, some sources say that Vindaye, whose name "garlic wine" comes from the Tamil language, refers to fenugreek as vèndhayam, which has come to mean "vendion" or "vindillon". 

Traditionally, it is served at family picnics because it is a dish that can be eaten cold and carried easily. Accompanied by sandwiches or small slices of bread, it is a real delight! You don't need anything else. If you are a fan of "Achards" or "Pickles", you will definitely like the Vindaye.

Here is the recipe. To try it is to adopt it! 

Ingredients (for 2 to 4 people) for the fish vindaye

500g firm fish of your choice (preferably fresh tuna) - you can cut the fish into cubes or leave it as a cutlet
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into strips
2 to 3 whole green or red chillies, halved (lengthways)
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black mustard seeds
2 tbsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
5-6 green curry leaves
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
3 to 4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 or 3 tbsp white wine vinegar

Cooking method for fish vindaye :

  1. Season the fish with a pinch of salt.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the fish pieces and fry gently for about 1 minute on each side. (Be careful not to overcook the fish as you want the fish to be moist and tender to absorb the spices in the vindaye mixture.) Remove the fish from the pan and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, add the mustard seeds, turmeric powder, salt and mix well with cold water to make a paste.
  4. Add 1/3 of the onion to the hot oil in the same frying pan in which you fried the fish. Cook until slightly translucent on medium heat. Do not cook the onions completely, as you want them to remain crisp. Add the garlic, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
  5. Add the mustard mixture to the onions in the pan. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the mustard mixture (overcooked mustard seeds can have a bitter taste).
  6. Add the fish to the pan. Stir gently until the fish is well coated with the vindaye mixture. Remove from the heat and add the remaining onions and some sliced green chillies.
  7. Pour in the vinegar, give a good drizzle of oil and add the sliced green chillies. Leave to cool, cover and leave in the fridge overnight. It can easily be kept for a few days in the fridge.

However, let's take a look at this little-known spice, which originated in North Africa and is now cultivated in China, Pakistan and India. It is called methi (or fenugreek seeds) in the latter country, where it is used in the composition of curry powders (as well as massala powders in Réunion or colombo in the West Indies). In addition to its culinary uses, it also has medicinal uses: it can be used to make poultices, but also infusions (and even capsules and other tablets) with fortifying virtues, stimulating the appetite and even helping to fight diabetes and cholesterol… In short, a real benefit offered by the great pharmacy that is Mother Nature!

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