MAURITIAN lick-the-plate-clean DISHES
Mauritian Fish Curry Vindaye
AND: The Benefits of using Coconut
Casual easy cooking
Mauritians, raised on a Hawaiian-like Indian Ocean heaven-on-earth real estate, surrounded by coconut-tree-graced white beaches and blue seas, are blessed. The memory of my childhood is filled with adventures of climbs up coconut trees to pluck a ripe specimen, cleave it open, pierce it’s ‘eyes’ for the pleasure of downing the cool, smooth, sweet coconut milk, and eating its white flesh (tastes much nicer than it sounds).
Coconuts do much more than give pleasure to young urchins. It is nature’s health elixir. http://www.organicfacts.net/ website explains the ‘magic’ of coconut oil as follows, “The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing properties”. In short, make sure you have some around; cook with it (it does not break down in high heat), eat it in every way you can, and even use it as hand and body cream.
Speaking of coconuts, I fêted my wife with a mouth-watering Mauritian curried fish Vindaye today;
Mix in a frying pan:
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp of grated ginger (has 16 anti-oxidants)
2 tbsp of curry powder
1 tbsp seasoning
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp basil
1 cup of coconut milk
1 tbsp of coconut sugar, or brown sugar (not heaped)
1 diced red onion
Salt and pepper to taste. I like about ½ a tsp of salt to counter the sugar and give several levels to the taste buds.
Stir on low heat until reaches the consistency of a sauce
Add: 4-6 fillets of the fish of your choice (depending on size of pan). If frozen, microwave for 3 minutes and dry with paper towels, or lightly bake in an oven set at 180ºC. Make sure the fish is partly cooked before marinating in the frying pan, and that once in, is covered by the sauce.
Switch off the stove, after cooling the frying pan, place ‘as-is’ in the fridge to marinate overnight. For an impromptu meal, it can sit and soak for an hour, but you will miss the traditional taste of a Mauritian vindaye. For firm individual servings, use Halibut, for smaller broken pieces, use sole, or tilapia.
When ready to eat, cook over a low fire for 5-7 minutes
Salt and pepper to taste
Serve with quinoa or basmati, and vegetables lightly stir-fried in 1 tbsp coconut oil
Whatever is left over still tastes fantastic the next day or two, served hot or cold.
This is how Mauritians protect their arteries while they feast.
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