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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Calamari & Shrimp Vindaye - Mauritius Specialty Mustard Curry

Chefs Jerry & Denis

In my latest trip to Mauritius I met some amazing chefs and even had the pleasure to cook some fabulous meals with a few of them. Two chefs I repeatedly cooked with are chef Jerry and chef Denis, who are private chefs that usually cook for private banquets, serviced villa residents and cater some of the island's most exclusive events. Chef Jerry, had started his career working in various hotels, and spent most of his training under French chefs, which eventually lead him to specialise in French cookery besides Mauritian Cuisine.
A few years ago he left the hotels' kitchens and opened GD, a European cuisine restaurant in Ebene, roseville. The restaurant is always buzzing as it offers a departure from the island's popular fusions and instead offers European dishes, mainly French. At the same time, Chef Jerry started catering and cooking for private events, and that is how I met him. While I never got to visit his restaurant, as my schedule was completely packed, I did get a chance to cook with him - as well as his partner chef, Denis - and savour their food. I have to say the food they cooked was always the best version of the island's specialties.

Salted Fish Vindaye - Chez M Restaurant, Mauritius

One dish that you are repeatedly told to eat when in Mauritius is Vindaye. Vindaye is mainly a mustard curry, mostly done with octopus, but is often made with assorted seafood (Calamari, shrimps, squid, crab...), and is also done with fresh or salted fish. I had tried all versions of this curry and in a variety of restaurants.

I must admit that the salted fish vindayes were not my favourite, I did not enjoy the flavour of the salted fish, but the fresh fish ones were way better. My favourites are the Octopus Vindaye, and the shrimp & calamari one. Absolutely delicious, and really must have when there. So I asked Chef Jerry to show me how vindaye is cooked. I could not be happier, or more amazed at how easy and fast it is to make!

Vindaye is very Similar to a Bengali Mustard Salmon dish (Shorshe Bata Maach), which I had tried cooked by Ishita and absolutely loved. It makes sense as Mauritian cuisine is influenced by Indian cuisine, so the two must be related somehow. However, Vindaye has a creamier curry texture than the Mustard Salmon did. Both are similar but unique in their own right and delicious. You can find the recipe for the Bengali dish here.

By the time I asked him, I had already tried it in all its variations, but his vindaye is by far the most delicious of all. It was so good that it had made it to my most favourite curries ever! And I did not want to hold it back from you :) I mean, super fast, super easy yet delicious and impressive recipe, who wouldn't want to have that?
so I asked his permission to share the recipe here with you and ...
here is how it is made....

Octopus & Calamari Vindaye - Chef Jerry, Mauritius

Chef Jerry's Calamari & Shrimp Vindaye
Serves 4
You Need
500g small Shrimps, peeled and deveined
500g Calamari Rings
50g ground Saffron Root
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp Brown Dijon Mustard (with seeds)
50 ml Apple Vinegar
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
3 cloves garlic, roughly sliced, lengthwise
2 small red onions, sliced

Making Mustard Paste for Vindaye
In a bowl, mix together the mustards, saffron root powder and add the vinegar and mix well to combine. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil and saute the garlic, calamari rings and shrimps for 2 minutes. Then cover and cook for 5 minutes extra. Add the sliced onions and the mustard paste then mix well to coat. Season with salt.

TIP If the mixture is thick add a little more vinegar to loosen.

Chefs Denis & Jerry
Leave the vindaye to cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes. Then transfer to a serving dish and serve alongside a rice pilaf and coconut chutney or green chili sauce.

That's it! One of the most interesting curries ever, and Mauritius Specialty with love from Chef Jerry.

While in Mauritius if you happen to stay in a villa and want to eat fabulous home cooked dinners, get in touch with Chef Jerry (mobile: +2307476050) and he will be more than happy to cook your meals and show you how they are made. If you wish to visit his restaurant, you must reserve first as it tends to be fully booked, so make sure to call him and reserve a table.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this post, and that the idea of a mustard curry appeals to you :) Do give it a try and let me know how you like it. 

Before you go, let me know if you have ever cooked with a chef when traveling and how you found that experience. I love nothing more than hearing from you, especially about experiences that you recommend :)) Don't shy away, leave a comment...

Octopus Vindaye - Chez Rosy Restaurant in Grisgris, Mauritius

Thank you Chef Jerry & Chef Denis for this delicious recipe and most importantly for the fabulous meals. Especially that not even Cyclone warnings were going to stop you from showing up with the freshest ingredients ever! We loved it :) & Thank you for the recipe!

I go on my Culinary Trips on my own behalf, self-funded and do not earn any income for recommending any accommodation, restaurant, service, activity...etc. I share my experience with you to hopefully inspire you to try the locations, services and activities which I have personally found outstanding. The views expressed in this blog are my own.