Shelina Permalloo

Mauritius foods — a tropical discussion

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What are typical Mauritian dishes?

 

Summer in Europe looms in expectation of cold, dull winter days giving way to long, dusky evenings that encourage the wearing of short-sleeved shirts and sitting in the local drinking establishment’s beer garden quaffing chilled wine or ice-cold cider.

 

For many others the prospect of summer invites the planning of holidays; and after a bitterly cold few months battling inclement weather and fending off sniffles and coughs, the idea of a fortnight in the sunny climes of a foreign land seems justly deserved!

 

At Mauritius Foods we also understand there are many with constraints, such as family, finances or time, and the dream of a break to simply soak up the sun and devour local delicacies has to remain just that . . . a dream. Sadly, we can’t influence the weather, but what we can do — with a few recipes we’ve included below — is offer up a taste of Mauritius cuisine and hope that all your hard work and sacrifice will, one day, allow you to visit the island and experience these dishes cooked in their homeland.

 

In a recent Telegraph article, Shelina Permalloo — whose family hail from Mauritius and who won UK MasterChef 2012 — was asked to sum up Mauritius cuisine in a dish, but rather than give one she presented three. While interesting and informative, the article did not supply actual recipes for the three dishes mentioned, so as a follow on to the piece we have provided recipes for you to enjoy based on the wonderful Ms Permalloo’s suggestions.

 

Chicken Birani — Mauritius recipe

Serves 7 – 8 persons

 

Ingredients:

7 or 8 chicken thighs and legs separated

1 cup plain yoghurt

Birani spice – 3 tblsps

1 large tomato

2 green chilies

Cumin powder – 1 tblsp

1 onion chopped and fried

2 red onions

6 salted potatoes – cut in half

Ghee – 2 tblsps

Garlic paste – 2 tblsps

Ginger paste – 2 tblsps

2 cups of water

Oil

Cumin seeds – 3 tblsps

Cinnamon – 2

Cardamom – 4
Cloves – 4

Hot water – 5 tblsps

1/3 teaspoon powdered yellow food coloring

1 tablespoon saffron threads

1 can of green peas drained (or 1 cup of frozen peas will work fine)

Pinch of salt x 2

Pepper

Coriander

Mint

4 cups uncooked Basmati rice (soaked for 1 hr)

 

While cooking the salted potatoes until half done, add the Saffron to the hot water and after 3 minutes add the yellow food colouring. Blend the garlic, ginger, mint, coriander, tomato, fresh onions and chillies before combining the mixture in a pot with the yoghurt, 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds, 1 cinnamon, half of the fried onions, 3 cardamoms, 2 cloves, biryani spices and cumin.

 

Give the mixture a good stir and then add the chicken, ghee and water with saffron. Again, stir to coat the chicken and mix in the peas, onions, salt and pepper. To this, pour in an amount of water that does not cover the ingredients, usually 1 cup is enough.

 

Cook the basmati rice for half the recommended time and then add half the quantity to the meat inside the pot with a few peas and onions. Top the rice with the remaining rice, onions and peas in addition to the coloured water and any ghee that is left. Cover the pot and cook over a medium heat for half an hour or until the water has evaporated. Your Mauritian birani is ready to serve.

 

Enjoy!

 

I will be at the Chester Food and Drink Festival this weekend at Chester racecourse if you would like to come and sample some of our Dodo Chilli Sauce?

Thanks,

Leenabye