Mauritian fish curry (Cari Poisson)

by Selina Periampillai
Mauritian fish curry (Cari Poisson)

Mauritian fish curry (Cari Poisson)

People always ask me: 'what is Mauritian food like? Are the curries similar to Indian style curries?' Well, yes. They have their similarities and differences, like those from different regions. Mauritian curries are fragrant, light dishes using thyme and fresh coriander, as well as heady spices of cinnamon, coriander, cumin and turmeric.

A melange of historical influences from Indian influences through our cuisine showcases in this dish I have chosen to share for National Curry Week. Celebrating over 200 years of Curries and the diverse international cuisine in Britain, during this period everyone is encouraged to cook up a good curry at home or simply go out to feast on one whilst helping raising money for charity.

This recipe is shared during many family dinners in Mauritius, the traditional fish and aubergine curry or Cari Poisson, as it is called. In true fashion it is eaten with chutneys, salad, faratas or rice and pickles. The fish must be fresh. Steaks or fillets work well, but use white fish to achieve best results.

I never used to enjoy eating fish curries when I was younger, but since cooking local dishes from my Mauritian heritage this is slowly scaling up on the list of favourites from the Island. It tastes approximately 30 - 45 to make from start to finish, feeding 4 people, and is well worth the effort!

1
Clean, scale and cut fish into slices or steaks and wash thoroughly. (You can get this step done by your fishmonger)
2
Pat fish dry, season with salt and pepper then coat in your corn flour evenly, fry in a pan with vegetable oil on medium heat till they turn to a golden brown colour
3
Drain the fried fish slices on a paper towel to remove all the excess oil and put aside
4
Season the aubergine with some salt and pepper then fry in the same oil, drain the fried aubergine on a paper towel and put aside
5
In the same pan, add more oil if needed, and on a medium heat add in your sliced onions, thyme leaves, curry leaves and stir fry for 2 minutes, then add in the garlic and ginger paste, give it a stir
6
Mix the curry powder, tumeric, cinnamon, cumin and coriander with a little warm water so that it forms a paste and add to the pan and stir well
7
Add the chopped tomatoes in and 50ml of water to start cooking the sauce, cover and cook on medium heat till tomatoes are done (progressively add 100ml of water in intervals if the sauce starts to dry out) at this stage taste for seasoning and add salt to taste
8
The sauce should be creamy in texture, add in the fried fish with the aubergine and add warm water to preferred consistency if needed, then let is simmer for a few minutes, take care not to move the fish around too much or it will break
9
Turn off the flame and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with coriander leaves and spring onions and serve with basmati rice, faratas and pickles or chutneys the Mauritian way!