Shrimp Chatney

Mauritian Receipt


Shell with care a quart of fresh shrimps, mince them quickly upon a dish with a large sharp knife, then turn them into a mortar and pound them to a perfectly smooth paste. Next, mix with them very gradually two or three spoonsful of salad oil of the best quality, some young green chilies chopped small (or when these cannot be procured, some good cayenne pepper as a substitute), some young onions finely minced, a little salt if required, and as much vinegar or strained lemon juice as will render the sauce pleasantly acid. Half a saltspoonful or more of powdered ginger is sometimes used in addition to the above ingredients.

When they are preferred, two or three small shalots minced and well bruised with the shrimps may be substituted for the onions.* The proportion of oil should be double that of the vinegar used; but in this preparation, as in all others of the same nature, individual taste must regulate the proportion of the most powerful condiments which enter into its composition. All chatneys should be quite thick, almost of the consistence of mashed turnips, or stewed tomatas, or stiff bread sauce. They are served with curries; and also with steaks, cutlets, cold meat, and fish. In the East the native cooks crush to a pulp upon a stone slab, and with a stone roller, the ingredients which we direct to be pounded. On occasion the fish might be merely minced. When beaten to a paste, they should be well separated with a fork as the chilies, &c., are added.

* The sauce can be made without either when their flavour is not liked.