Thursday, October 15, 2009

Island Recipes of Mauritius

Salt Fish Rougaille:

•175g/6oz Saltfish
•4 tbsp Oil
•1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
•300g/11oz chopped Tomatoes
•3 green chillies, halved
•1/2 teasp Freshly grated Ginger
•1 Garlic Clove, crushed
•2 teasp Thyme Leaves, chopped
•1 tbsp freshly chopped Parsley Salt
•2 tbsp finely chopped Shallot
1. Place the fish in a large bowl of cold water and soak for 1 hour.
2. After soaking, flake the fish into small pieces, removing any skin and bones.
3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the fish and fry until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Reheat the oil, add the onion and sauté for a few minutes then add all the other ingredients (apart from the shallot) and cook for about 15 minutes , stirring from time to time, until mixture thickens.
5. Add the fish pieces to the sauce together with 3 tablespoons water. Allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
6. Transfer to a heated serving dish and sprinkle with the chopped shallot. Serve immediately.
Mauritian Curried Beef:
•450g/1lb Onions, chopped
•1 tbsp freshly chopped Ginger
•1 tbsp freshly chopped Garlic
•60ml/2fl.oz. Vegetable Oil (or Ghee not dairy free)
•1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
•2 Bay Leaves
•1 tbsp Salt
•1/2 teasp Chilli Powder
•1 tbsp Ground Coriander
•2 teasp Garam Masala,
•1/2 teasp Ground Turmeric
•450g/1lb Lean Beef, cubed
•1 x 400g/14oz tin Chopped Tomatoes
•2 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander to garnish
1. Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Set aside
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan until very hot then add the cumin seeds and bay leaves. When the seeds start to pop, add the onion paste and stir fry until golden brown.
3. Add the salt, chili, coriander, garam masala and turmeric and stir until well blended.
4. Add the beef to the pan and fry, stirring to coat well, for 4-5 minutes.
5. Add 4 tablespoons of water and mix well. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time, until all the liquid is absorbed.
6. Add the chopped tomatoes and about 240ml/8fl.oz of water and continue to simmer, covered, for a further 60 minutes stirring from time to time and adding more water as necessary to achieve a thickish sauce.
7. To serve - transfer to a heated serving dish and serve with boiled rice and satini.
Chicken Kalya:
•4 large Chicken Pieces, skinned and halved
•240ml/8fl.oz. Natural Yoghurt
•1-1/2 teasp Ground Cinnamon
•3 Cardamom pods, split
•4 Cloves
•4 teasp Ground Cumin
•1/4 teasp Ground Turmeric
•2 green Chillies, cut in half lengthways,
•1/2 teasp Freshly Grated Ginger
•2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
•5 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander
•4 tbsp freshly chopped Mint
•2 Large Onions, thinly sliced
•2 tbsp Butter
•90ml/3fl.oz. Oil
1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, add the yoghurt, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, turmeric, (or the contents of the spice pack if using), chilies, ginger, garlic, fresh coriander, mint and salt. Mix well then cover and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.
2. After the marinating time, heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and fry until brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Add the chicken pieces (including the marinade ingredients) to the saucepan, mix well, cover and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes or until the chicken is well cooked, stirring from time to time.
5. Add the fried onion, mix well and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with boiled rice and satini.

Mauritian Delights

Because of its population of different origin (Europe, China, India and Africa) Mauritius has a huge variety of dishes and meals. But through the ages, a fusion of all those influences has resulted in what we call the ‘Mauritian cuisine’. A traditional Mauritian meal consists of rice or farata (the basics), a sauce, some pickles or chutney and a soup.
Here are a few examples of those various items.
It is the basic food of Mauritius. It is simply boiled until it becomes soft and tender ( a rice cooker will do the job perfectly).
It is an Indian bread simply prepared with flour, salt, water and ghee. Cooked in a pan or on a thick metal sheet called the tawa.
THE SAUCES (commonly called “carry”)
The “daube” is almost similar as the stew. It is prepared with chicken, beef, lamb or fish.
The “rougaille” is a preparation made of tomatoes, onion, garlic, ginger. It is frequently cooked with salted fish or dried octopus.
The “salmi” is prepared almost in the same way as the French “coq au vin” but additional spices like dried chillies are added.
The curry originated from India is a different way of cooking meat, fish or vegetable. The main ingredient is the massalla. To prepare the massalla is not an easy task. The secret lies in the right dosage of several spices such as the cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, pepper, ginger, garlic, dried chillies and curry leaves. These spices were generally crushed over a stone but nowadays a mixer can do the job. Ready prepared massalla can be purchased in shops or markets. The curry is generally consumed in Indo Mauritian families with the farata.
They are generally prepared with green vegetables such as the watercress or cabbage and several other greens produced in the island. It can also be prepared with dried lentils or peas.
These are spicy and hot preparations that accompany the meal. Pickles are generally made with green mangoes or mixed vegetables such as carrot, cabbage and green peas. But the utmost is the chilly pickle consumed, if one is brave enough. Strangely the smaller the chilly the hotter it is.
The chutney is a mixture of finely chopped tomatoes, green chillies, onion and fresh coriander leaves.
In Port Louis (the capital of Mauritius) there is a place called “China Town”. It is the ideal place for anyone who wants to discover the traditional Chinese cuisine. Receipts that have existed for centuries can be degustated in restaurants or in open air on the side of streets. Fish or meat balls, boiled or fried noodles, Peking duck, sweet and sour pork, steamed fish or chicken and many other colourful mouth watering receipts.
It will take a long time to detail all those receipts. The best way is to come and taste. (The proof of the pudding is the tasting.) I haven’t mentioned the byriani, a Persian receipt generally served in Muslim marriages. It is one of the most difficult receipts to prepare. It needs the dexterity of the “bandari” (Muslim cook) to prepare byriani for one thousand people sometimes. Meat is marinated for several hours in a mixture of several oriental spices. It is then placed in a special thick bottom, copper recipient called the “deg”. Boiled rice is placed over this preparation and let cooked gently over a low wood flame. The cook will know exactly when the food is ready to be served. They have their own secret transmitted from generation to generation.
No need for me to talk about the barbecue as it is well known all around the world. I believe that this particular way of cooking comes from Africa.
There is also the dried or salted fish. To dry the fish a simple technique is used. Freshly caught fish is covered with sea salt and let dry for several days in the sun. The same technique applies for the octopus with less salt.
Hares, wild boar and even hedge hogs are game meat that are very appreciated on the island. The wild boar is usually roasted or cooked in massalla. The common way of preparing these meat is the “salmi”. The meat is marinated for several hours in garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamom, chilly powder and red wine. It is then cooked normally on a coal fire. This preparation is usually consumed as a snack (gadgak) with a nice white local rum or a Mauritian wine.

(by Gervais Grivon)

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