You’ll find street food sellers offering these Piment Frire (Chilli Poppers) all over Mauritius. These deliciously hot snacks are perfect to eat on the go or you can eat them with a chutney or pickle of your choice. For tuna-stuffed chilli poppers see Piment Farci au Thon.
What you need… • 4 large chilli peppers (you can cut a small slit and empty out the seeds if you don’t like them too hot) • Cold water • Salt • 100g self-raising flour • 50g gram flour (this is chickpea flour, also called besan flour) • 8 Tablespoons oil
How to make it… 1. Soak the peppers in the water with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes. Dry them and set aside. 2. Mix the self-raising flour and besan flour with a pinch of salt and enough water to create a thick paste. 3. Dip the peppers in the flour batter so they are all well coated. 4. Heat the oil in a shallow pan to a high heat and, using a slotted spoon, drop the chilli peppers into the oil until they turn a deep yellow and the batter is fully fried (about 2–3 minutes). Turn the peppers while they are frying to ensure they are evenly cooked. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to cook these in a couple of batches. 5. The chillies are obviously very hot when they come out of the oil so allow them to cool slightly before eating!
These Stewed Taro Leaves are a Mauritian dish that is served as an accompaniment. When stewed this tropical green leaves (also called kalo) turn a dark brown, almost black and are thick and delicious when cooked with onion, a few spices and tangy tamarind paste. Mauritians eat this as street food with a roti.
What you need… • 20 stalks of taro with leaves. Peel the first layer, clean thoroughly and chop. • 1 Tablespoon oil • 0.5 onion, chopped fine • 0.5 teaspoon garlic teaspoon • 0.5 teaspoon ginger paste • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes • 0.5 teaspoon cumin seeds • 5 curry leaves • 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste • Salt to taste • 1 tomato, chopped • A few coriander leaves to garnish
How to make it… 1. Heat the oil in a pan to a medium pan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until the onion softens (about 5 minutes) 2. Add the chilli flakes, cumin seeds and curry leaves, and cook for 3 minutes. 3. Add the taro leaves, tamarind paste, salt and a little water, cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes. 4. Add the tomato and cook until the colour darkens and is fully stewed (about 15–30 minutes). Add a little more water if needed but not too much as this should be served thick. 5. Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve. • Photo of leaves by Thierry Caro, published in Wikipedia
Chicken Cafrael, a simple dish to make – marinate the chicken in a green spice paste, then fry – is another classic curry from Goa. Originating in Africa (probably Mozambique) it was brought to India by the Portuguese. Although this is a dish that traditionally uses chicken legs you can also use bite-sized chunks of chicken.
What you need… • 800g chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces • Juice of 1 lemon • 6 Tablespoons oil
Marinade • 1 teaspoon ginger paste • 1 teaspoon garlic paste • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds • 15 pepper corns • 3 cloves • 6cm stick of cinnamon • 1 teaspoon turmeric • 0.5 teaspoon salt • 4 green chillies, roughly chopped • small handful of fresh coriander (make sure you include plenty of the stalks), roughly chopped • 8 mint leaves (or 1 teaspoon mint sauce) • 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste • 1 Tablespoon vinegar • Water as needed
How you make it… 1. Squeeze the lemon over the chicken, rub it in well and leave for 15 minutes. This will degrease the chicken and also helps the chicken absorb the marinade. 2. Blend all the Marinade ingredients to a thick paste, using a bit of water if needed. 3. Shake the excess lemon juice off the chicken pieces and coat them in the Marinade, maing sure all the pieces are well coated. Leave for at least 30 minutes but preferably for 6 hours. 4. Heat the oil to a medium in a pan, add the chicken pieces and fry until all the pieces are cooked through (about 10 minutes). 5. Remove with a slotted spoon so the excess oil is removed and serve.
A popular Mauritian dish, Sauce Rouge Curry (simply meaning Red Sauce Curry) combines ingredients used in Indian and European cooking to reflect the history of this Indian Ocean island, which has been ruled by the French and the British and has a predominantly Indian population.
What you need… • 4 tablespoons veg oil • 800g chicken, into bite-sized pieces • pinch salt • pinch black pepper • 1 onion, finely chopped • 1 teapsoon ginger • 1 t garlic • 5 curry leaves • 2 green chillies chopped • 400g chopped tomato • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste • small handful parsley, chopped • leaves from two sprigs of thyme
How you make it… 1. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a pan to a medium pan and fry the chicken for 5 minutes, adding in salt and pinch pepper. Set aside. 2. Heat the rest of the oil, add onion, ginger paste, garlic paste, curry leaves and cook until the mixture starts to brown (about 5 minutes). 3. Add the chillies for 1 minute. 4. Add the tomatoes and more salt if needed, mix well and simmer until the sauce thickens (about 5-7 minutes). 5. Add the tomato paste and chicken, cover the pan and cook gently until the chicken is all cooked through (about 5 minutes). 6. stir in the parsely and thyme and serve.
Pepper was the spice of heat before chilli arrived on the continent with the Portuguese at the and of the 15th Century. It provides a sharp, intense heat and there is plenty of it through whole and crushed black pepper in this fresh-tasting dish from South India.
What you need… • 700g chicken, cut into 2cm-sized pieces • 100g coconut oil • 6 curry leaves • 0.5 teaspoon cumin seeds • 0.5 teaspoon black peppercorns • 1 onion, finely chopped • 1 teaspoon coriander powder • 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder • 0.5 teaspoon cumin powder • 1 tomato cut into 1cm-sized piece • 1 Tablespoon chopped coriander stalks • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper • squeeze of lemon juice
How you make it… 1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and mix well with the chicken pieces. Leave for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight. 2. Heat the coconut oil in a pan to a high heat. Add the curry leaves, cumin seeds and peppercorns and fry for 10 seconds, moving quickly to avoid burning. 3. Turn down the heat, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. 4. Add the coriander, turmeric and cumin powders, mix well and cook for 2 minutes. 5. Add the chicken with all the marinade and cook until all the chicken pieces are sealed (about 3 minutes) 6. Add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes. Add the black pepper and fry until the chicken is fully cooked. 7. Serve with a squeeze of lemon on top.
This Chilli Cabbage and Potato Fry is a simple dish, using just chilli flakes to give it a kick. Cabbage is often overlooked but it makes a great accompaniment to spicy dishes. This is a Mauritian version of a popular Gujerati dish.
What you need… • 3 Tablespoons oil • 1 onion, finely chopped • 1.5 chilli flakes • 2 medium-size potato cut into small 1cm chunks • half a cabbage, shredded • 100ml water (about half a cup) • 1 tomato, finely chopped • salt, to taste
How to make it… 1. Heat the oil to a medium heat and fry the onion for 4 minutes. 2. Add half the chilli flakes and potato and stir fry until the potato chunks are starting to brown (about 3 minutes). 3. Add the cabbage and the water, cover the pan, and cook until the cabbage is soft (about 10 minutes). 4. Add the tomato and salt, mix well, and cook for 3 minutes. 5. Serve, with the rest of the chilli flakes sprinkled on the top.
Fish Vindaye is a popular spicy fish pickle from Mauritius. Fresh tuna is shallow fried, then cut up and added to mixture of garlic, onion, chillies and Vindaye spices, then left to cool and pickle. This is delicious served as a snack with chunks of French baguette.
How to make it… 1. Sprinkle the pepper over the tuna. 2. Heat 5 Tablespoons oil to a medium heat and shallow fry the tuna pieces whole until they are sealed and brown all over (about 5 minutes). Set the tuna aside. 3. Remove the pan from the heat and once it is safe to do so wipe the pan to get rid of the fish residue. 4. Heat the rest of the oil to a low heat then remove the pan from the heat and add the Spice Mix. Stir for 15 seconds (any longer and it’ll get bitter) then add the garlic, chillies and onion, return to a medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. 5. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. 6. While the mixture is cooling, cut the tuna into 2cm-square chunks 7. Add the mixture, tuna, vinegar and salt, mix together and add to a jar or bowl. 8. Put into the fridge and leave overnight, or up to two weeks, before eating.
Chicken Liver Fry is a popular dish in India, especially in Goa (where it is known as Kaleji Fry), but this recipe, using only a couple of spices and a good dose of chopped chillies, is from Mauritius in the Indian Ocean
What you need… • 3 Tablespoons oil • 500g chicken liver, washed and cut into large chunks (it will shrink when cooking) • 0.5 teaspoon ground black pepper • 0.5 teaspoon salt • 1 teaspoon soy sauce • 1 teaspoon garlic paste • 1 teaspoon ginger paste • 1 teaspoon cumin powder • 1 teaspoon tomato purée • 3 large chillies, chopped • 1 onion, roughly chopped (finely chop a small amount to be used for garnish) • few coriander leaves, for garnish
How you make it… 1. Heat the oil to a medium heat in a pan. Add the liver and cook until all the pieces have turne a grey colour (about 3 minutes). 2. Add the pepper, salt, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and cumin, mix well and cover. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. 3. Add the tomato purée, chillies and onion and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered. Taste a small piece of the liver. If it still has an “iron” taste to it, continue cooking. 4. Once cooked, garnish with the chopped onion and coriander leaves and serve.