Fish Vindaye shouts out loud “Mauritian gajak”. I would say a Vindaye is one dish that one can find at almost all parties, served as a pre-dinner nibble to accompany a drink. A Vindaye is a simply a spicy pickle, in this case the spices are turmeric, mustard & vinegar. It may sound odd when you hear pickled fish, but don’t worry these fish are usually fried then pickled so it’s very much like a curried fish but with pickles spices. Usually made with firm fish such as Tuna, King fish, Seabass, Pollock.
Fish Vindaye is very popular in Mauritius, mostly eaten as a “gajak” accompanied with fresh bread. Alternative it can be eaten as a main dish with other side accompaniments. Here we have the very much loved Fish Vindaye that only need a few spices topped with fresh chilies and crunch onions.
A New Years party without a “Vindaye” in sight seems incomplete and I don’t think of anyone who would not have this dish for the New Year s Celebration family meals- here from me to you a little appetizer/gajak.
Ingredients Serves 2-4
- 500g firm fish of your choice (I am using Tuna steak cut into cubes) – you can cut the fish in cubes or leave them as cutlets (I prefer them in bite size pieces as I find they absorb the spices better)
- 2 cloves of garlic – peeled and cut in strips
- 2-3 whole green or red chillies – sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 large onions or 6 shallots (cut half then length ways, if using shallots cut in halves)
- 2 Tbs black mustard seeds – coarsly ground
- 2 Tbs turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp methi seeds
- 5-6 green curry leaves
- Salt 1/2 tsp – to taste
- 3-4 Tbs Vegetable oil and extra to drizzle
- 2-3 Tbs white wine vinegar
- Season the fish with a pinch of salt.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the fish pieces and fry gently for about 1 minute on each side. (Taking care not to overcook the fish as you want the fish moist and tender in order to absorb the spices in the vindaye mix later). Remove the fish from the frying pan and put aside.
- In a small mixing bowl add the mustard seeds, turmeric powder, salt and mix well with some cold water to make a paste.
- Add 1/3 of the onion in the warm oil in the same frying pan you fried the fish. Cook until slightly translucent over a medium heat. Do not fry the onion, as you want them to remain crunchy. Add the garlic, methi seeds and curry leaves.
- Add the mustard mixture to the onion in the pan. Cook on medium heat for 2mins. Taking care not to overcook the mustard mixture (overcooked mustard seeds can taste bitter)
- Add the fish to the pan; toss gently until the fish is well coated with the vindaye mixture. Remove from the heat and add the remaining onion and sliced green chill.
- Pour over the vinegar, give the mixture a good drizzle of oil and add the sliced green chillies. Allow to cool, cover and leave to pickle in the fridge overnight. Since “Vindaye” is a pickle it will keep for a few days if stored in the refrigerator.
Brinda’s Note : Enjoy with fresh bread, or wrapped in pharata or roti. Fish vindaye makes a tasty “gajak”