Vindaye de Poisson

So I just love a good pickled fish but I’ve yet to find a commercial one that ticks all my boxes.  They’re either too sweet, lacking flavour or are drowned in a liquid they call sauce.  Then I found this recipe …  It’s perfect for my healthy eating start to the new year and my desire to support my local fresh fish supplier more.

Vindaye de poisson (or fish vindaloo) is a traditional dish from the island of Mauritius located in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. A vindaye is a simply a spicy pickle, in this case the spices are turmeric, mustard & vinegar. We enjoy eating it accompanied with crusty bread (to mop up all the yellow yumminess) and a fresh carrot salad

I use barracuda when I make it (purchased from Fish For Africa when available) but you can use any good quality fish that doesn’t fall apart easily.

I have very fond memories of my dad getting up at the crack of dawn and heading out onto the rocky outcrops of the Natal south coast to catch shad (aka elf).  The vision of  him lugging his “prey” back across the baking sea-sand, proud a punch, sent us kids scurrying in all directions as we all knew what was coming … “Gut The Fish”


  • 500g firm fish of your choice – 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 baby onions (cut half then length ways, if using baby onions you can them cut in halves but I like the look of the golden globes)
  • 30ml (2 Tbs) black mustard seeds – coursely ground
  • 30 ml (2 Tbs) turmeric powder
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) cinnamon powder
  • 5-6 green curry leaves
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt – to taste
  • 60 ml (4 Tbs) vegetable oil and extra to drizzle
  • 45 ml (3 Tbs) white wine vinegar
  1. Season the fish with a pinch of salt … I use Ina Paarman Fish Spice6003105002249-500x500
  2. 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.
  3. In a small mixing bowl add the mustard seeds, turmeric powder, cinnamon powder, salt and mix well with some cold water to make a paste.
  4. 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 and curry leaves.
  5. 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)
  6. 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.
  7. Pour over the vinegar, give the mixture a good drizzle of oil and add the sliced green chili’s. Allow to cool, cover and leave to pickle in the fridge overnight. Since “Vindaye” is a pickle and it will keep for a few days if stored in the refrigerator.

Heather’s notes: 

  • You can use the same sauce and replace the fish with eggplant, octopus or lamb.
  • You can serve it warmed with fluffy white rice and dahl
  •  Spoon in a roti and they make great ”Gajacks” …  a sort of pub grub



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