With an unparalleled footprint, Mauritian cuisine consists of several origins: Indian, Chinese, Muslim and Creole. Fragrant and spicy, Mauritian gastronomy has the gift to marvel our taste buds. What would our small Mauritius be without his little culinary specialties?
These drinks and appetizers which Mauritians and tourists love makes Mauritius even more unique. Wearing a decidedly local signature, these dishes are also a part of our multicultural identity. Small strolls in the markets of the island to discover at one stand, these little wonders are a perfect way to visit as well as taste the island. Yet, if you are not heading to Mauritius anytime soon, well, here are some recipes that will surely make you want to cook at home.
Recipe: Spicy Beef Bites
The spicy beef bites – also known as beef hakien – are knows as “gajack” in Mauritius. They are usually served as snacks during parties or before dinner at a restaurant. They are easy to do and can be served to your invitees during a dinner at your place as snack.
-1 “spring roll pastry” (sheet as bricks found in Asian stores, often frozen) or sheets of pastry
-200g ground beef
-1 garlic clove
-2 small onions
-1 tablespoon of curry powder
-1-2 pinch of pepper
-2 teaspoon olive oil
In a wok, heat the olive oil with the curry powder.
Sizzle the garlic along with chopped onions.
Add ground beef and cook, stirring.
Season and add the chilli.
Allow to cool.
On each sheet of pastry, add a little of the preparation and roll by folding the sides up front to get a form of spring rolls. You can also make other shapes as per your wishes.
Heat the frying oil and brown the bites.
Allow them drain on paper towels.
Recipe: Vegetable samosas
The samosas are typical Mauritian snack you will find at every street corner. These surely help if you are on road and having some shopping and suddenly feel hungry. Just have some samosas, you’ll surely fall in love with that small delicacy.
-1 “spring roll pastry”
Cook the potatoes and mash them after removing the skin.
Add some curry powder, chili, salt, pepper and coriander according to your taste. Mix well.
Add the peas and stir again.
For bending, I invite you to watch videos on the net (there are everywhere). It’s really not complicated.
Fill each samosa with stuffing. You should be able to make a good fortnight.
In a wok or skillet, heat oil and fry the samosas until golden.
Enjoy immediately or if you plan on eating them later pass them quickly in the oven to keep them crispy.
Recipe: Gateau Piments
The recipe for gateau piments (or chili candy) is not very complicated to make but you must have the right ingredients! These are an ideal snack for afternoon tea!
– Dholl 250g (yellow split peas)
– 2 peppers
– 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
– 2 tbsp cilantro chopped
– 1 onion, chopped
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1. Preferably on the day of preparation, wash and soak dholls (yellow split peas). Soak for a minimum of 3h.
2. Drain and mash dholls in a blender or in a mortar.
3. In a bowl, mix dholls and all the other ingredients.
4. Then make small slightly flattened balls.
5. In a deep fryer or skillet, cook the chilli candy in hot oil. For the cakes to be cooked they must be left for a moment until they are brown. (Put on high temperature at the beginning of cooking and then lower to prevent it from burning without being cooked inside).
6. Drain on paper towels.
The chilli candies can be eaten hot or cold!
In Mauritius, you will usually eat pistachios in the form of “boiled pistachios” and this might appear strange to you. In fact, it is quite simple, in Mauritius we call peanuts pistachios, so in other words, these are the peanuts you get everywhere but instead of being grilled they are boiled in salted water. Then you can eat them during a happy hour or any at time as a snack.
That is quite different from the peanuts you eat in Europe. Here, they are roasted most of the time while in Mauritius you can buy it raw (we find them in all markets) and they are cooked in salted water. To eat those, you need to break the shell which becomes soft after boiling. You can do so with your teeth which will let out a little salty juice that is sucked into his mouth, then you will discover the melting seeds (often 2, 3 with luck) that you will eagerly eat.
Once you start it, it is difficult sometimes to stop, it’s very addictive. There is no real recipe, you just cook the nuts in salt water but here are some instructions for you to obtain perfect boiled pistachios
PREPARATION OF BOILED PISTACHIOS
– Rinse Pistachios in clear water – several times if needed.
– Put the pistachios in a pressure cooker (that is the quickest solution) or in a pan (cooking will take much more time with this option)
– Pour 1 gallon of cold water
– Add 2 tablespoons salt
– In the pressure cooker cook for about 30 minutes
– If you are using a pan, boil water, then cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 hours.
– Drain the pistachios and let cool a little and it’s ready!
Have fun eating them!
Bon Appetit Biensure!