The local Seychelles cuisine is like its people – a spicy blend of settlers from Africa, Europe, and Asia. I moved to Vancouver from the Seychelles in 1991, and have found it easy to recreate the dishes I grew up with for my kids. I want to share one of my favourite dishes with you today; it’s simple, and takes advantage of the fresh seafood that’s readily available in both the Seychelles and Vancouver.
Although Seychellois have evolved from the traditional (usually a small, separate space where food is prepared over hot coals or coconut husks) to the modern kitchen, we still make use of the same ingredients—fresh caught seafood, and produce like coconut, breadfruit, and chilies. Seychellois are one of the largest consumers of fish in the world, and in particular, we love our tuna. We have different ways of preparing tuna – cooked with coconut milk, simmered in a spicy tomato sauce (rougaille), grilled over coals, and so on. Our fish dishes are always complemented with spices like garlic, ginger, and chilies and usually accompanied by rice.
My Canadian friends are always happy to discover and learn how Seychellois prepare seafood, which is why I’m sharing this recipe. The traditional way to prepare this recipe is by grilling the fish over hot coals or coconut husks, giving the fish a smoky aroma and flavour. You can also make this recipe using your barbeque or oven.
What you’ll need for the tuna kebabs:
- 1.6 kg of fresh tuna (cubed)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 medium red onion (diced)
- 2 medium red bell peppers (quartered)
- 2 medium green bell peppers (quartered)
- Wooden skewers
What you’ll need for the saffron rice:
- 1½ cups basmati rice
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons turmeric or 2 teaspoons saffron threads
- ½ cup white onion (diced)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Tuna Marinade Ingredients
- 4 teaspoons garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoons ginger (julienned)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Pepper and thyme to taste
- 4 teaspoons parsley
- 6 limes (serrated)
Directions for tuna kebabs
Rinse and cut the tuna into cubes. Lightly season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Next, dice the onions and quarter the tomatoes and peppers.
To prepare the kebabs, simply stack pieces of tuna and the vegetables on a skewer. You can stack them however you like, but I always do tuna-tomato-pepper-onion.
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a baking dish (give it a good whisk!) and marinate the skewers for about an hour.
Preheat your barbeque or oven. If you’re using the barbeque, preheat to the high, direct heat setting. Using the oven? Set to broil and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Remove the kebabs from the marinade, and re-season them with a bit of salt. Grilling will take 3-6 minutes per kebab, and broiling will take 10-15 minutes. Finish the kebabs with chopped parsley and serrated limes.
Directions for saffron rice
Wash the rice a few times in cold water. Next, sautée the diced onions in a pot. When they’ve softened, add the rice and the turmeric. Add water (twice the amount of the rice).
Cover and cook for 10 minutes, bringing it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir a few times to make sure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Serve with the kebabs and garnish. Makes 5 servings.
I hope you enjoy a little taste of the Seychelles when you make this dish. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions!
Denise is a true-blue Seychellois, currently living in Vancouver. She enjoys taking her kids to soccer games, working out, and cooking for family and friends. She’s been part of our Claims team for 11 years, loves to travel and is fascinated with other cultures, lifestyles and food. Denise’s favourite part of Vancouver is hanging out in the eastside and downtown areas because they provide good exposure to the city’s different cultures.