I don’t remember much of my Dadi to be honest. Only fragment of memories and bit and pieces of here and there. But I clearly remember her taking her plastic bag full of chips and snacks, on her back to sell at school premises during lunch time. Sometimes I picture the time when she used to be making Merveille at night , to be sold the very next day at school. Or her offering prayers daily at her deities altar every 6PM sharp. And the most beautiful memories of all, remain when she used to make salted fish rougaille, bouillon cresson and douriz(diriz). I would stand at the doorway admiring her and awaiting for her to ask me to join her at table. My GrandMa used to eat in those aluminium plates which I absolutely loved back then.
I am being told very often that I have the hands of my Grandma when it comes to cooking. My father says so because every time I make something at home , he says it reminds him of his mother’s cooking. And his most favourite meal from my GrandMa used to be the Salted Fish Fried Rice. We all instantly become so greedy whenever this is being made at home . Salted Fish Fried Rice is very much of a homemade dish and shared with loved ones rather than a common take out. Riz Frite Poisson Salė is the true rustic Mauritian Food because it lives up the essence of the lepok longtemps – old times. It takes you on a voyage to the old iron sheets houses and the minimalistic life of back then. Oh did I tell you that I love minimal art and everything minimal from visuals to life in itself. Less has always been more I think.
Riz Frites Poisson Salė is prepared just like any traditional fried rice but only difference is that you skip the chicken/meat and add thin slices of salted fish instead. You can even use any assorted mix of veggies for your stir fried rice. We have recently been through a cyclone back home here( yes it’s very common on Islands). And somehow I am having trouble to gather all my usual veggies for creating recipes. So for this post I have chosen the Minimal way of presenting things as much as possible. Also experimenting with some dark mood food photography as you can see.
Sometimes the best kind of cooking comes from using what you have on hands. My father used to say that Riz Frites Poisson Salé were only being made at the end of the month only – payday. Being quite an extended family with so many brothers and sisters, father used to say that this Fried Rice was a way to feed many with less. Whatever it was back then, this particular plate of food would make the day of many.
Mauritian Salted Fish Fried Rice – Riz Frites Poisson Salė
Preparation time – 25 mins
Cooking time – a few hours
- 200g Salted Fish
- 150g shredded cabbage
- 2-3 carrots medium sized in juliennes
- 2-3 baby pak choi
- 1 medium red onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic finely sliced
- 5 dry red chillies ( or less depending on your heat resistance)
- 2 cups of veggies mix – green beans, sweet corns , green peas (optional)
- 1/4 cup of light mushroom sauce
- couple of tbsps of oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup of dark soy sauce
- handful of curry leaves
- spring onions/chives
- pre boiled rice / left over rice
- 4 eggs (garnish -omelette)
- vegetable oil – sunflower/canola (avoid using olive oil for this one)
- Always start by the rice first. In a large sauce pan put water to boil, and add the rice to cook. Strain and reserve to cool and dry. The rice should be very dry and fluffy. If not you can still use left over rice.
- In a bowl of lukewarm water, place the salted fish to soak for around 30mins approx. Remove, strain and reserve.
- In a Wok (or any non stick pan you have at home), heat vegetable oil on a low fire.Fry the curry leaves, dry red chillies ,garlic and salted fish until a beautiful brown colour is obtained. Remove and set aside to be shredded later.
- In the same oil , start by shallow frying the vegetables – cabbage , carrots , pak choi, onions and any other mix you would love to add.
- Take your rice and start off by adding an adequate amount for stir fry. Take some of the fried garnish ( curry leaves, chillies and garlic) as well as all the mentioned sauces ( a few tbsp at a time) and mix into the rice. After a few vigourous stir frying the all, add the shredded salted fish and stir well one last time.
- Repeat steps until you have used all the rice over.
- Lay fried eggs on top and serve hot with a vibrant tomato salsa.