Hello beautiful people!!! I was lucky to grow up in a family that enjoyed food from all around the world. Food was very much a social event and in particular dishes from Mauritius. Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean and you will be forgiven for not noticing it on the map, with a population of 1.2 million consisting of French, Indians, Chinese and Africans. Mauritius was founded by the Dutch and was subsequently taken over by the French, later the British took over and populated the Island. Mauritius is known as Paradise Island. Mauritius is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicity and this is reflected in their food. Many of the dishes have been fused to create some amazing culinary delights.
I wanted to share some of my favourite recipes and I urge you to try some of them, they are yummy. I’m going to start with the national dish. It is called Briani and not Biriyani. It is so different to the Asian Biriyani dish. The Mauritian version does not have a curry taste to it. Mauritian Briani seems difficult but if you follow the steps and timing, it is so easy. Briani Ingredients:
1kg basmati white rice
4 chicken thighs cut in two (no skin)
4 medium potatoes peeled and cut in two
8 medium-large onions finely chopped (Spanish is preferred)
3 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
2 cups chopped coriander (cilantro)
1 cup chopped mint leaves
1 teaspoon zafran (saffron)
4 tablespoon Garam Masala ( You can buy ready mixed or make your own, please see below)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 yoghurt (nature – no sugar)
Yellow food colouring
2 big chilies, slit
Boiled eggs ( Can be omitted)
Marinate the chicken with the ginger-garlic paste and 1 teaspoon salt and put to rest for 30 minutes. Marinate it in the same cooking vessel in which the briani will be cooked. The use of a thick pot is preferred.
Fork the potatoes lightly, add ¼ teaspoon of food colouring, ¼ teaspoon salt and deep fry in cooking oil on medium fire. The potatoes should not turn too crispy, so remove from oil as soon as you see it’s cooked.
Fry half of the chopped onions on high fire in the same oil after the potatoes are done, they should go light brown. Drain well and spread the fried onions on a flat plate so that they go crispy.
Wash the rice and cover with water, let soak. It shouldn’t soak more than 30 minutes, so keep an eye on the clock.
Warm 500ml water, add the zafran and ¼ teaspoon food colouring, keep aside.
Mix the yoghurt with half of the fried onions and the Garam masala. Add the mixture to the chicken together with chopped mint, chopped coriander, slit chilies, the remaining chopped raw onions, 2 tablespoon cooking oil, 2 teaspoon salt, fried potatoes and ¾ zafrani water prepared at earlier. Mix well. The water should be covering the chicken mixture, so add some more water if necessary and set aside.
Boil around 3 litres of water and add cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the rice to the boiling water.
Around 10 minutes later, take one rice and test whether it breaks between your fingers. If it does, it means that it is half cooked. Use a slotted spoon, drain half of the rice lightly and spread it out on the chicken mixture. Spread half of the remaining fried onions on the rice which has just been spread on the chicken.
Let the remaining rice boil some more until it is 90% cooked. Then drain (along with the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves) and spread on the fried onions above.
Spread the remaining fried onions on top of the rice and sprinkle the remaining zafrani-water on top. To check if the water quantity is enough, press the rice lightly in one corner with the back of a spoon. If you see water coming up when you press, then there is enough water for the Briani to cook.
Cover the pot tightly and cook on medium heat for first 15 minutes then reduce it to a low fire.
As you do so, remove the cover and drop 1 teaspoon of butter ghee on four sides on top of the rice and 1 in the middle (5 teaspoon ghee in all).
Cover again and let cook for another 15 minutes. Remove cover again, take a knife and dip it in the middle of the rice. If the knife is dry when you remove it, then the water has dried up. You can switch off the fire. If not you will need to cook it some more.
Once cooked, don’t start serving before 20 minutes. This will give further time for your chicken and potatoes to soften. Boiled eggs can be added on top of the rice during those 20 minutes.
You can substitute the chicken for meat or fish. Once you try this recipe it will become part of your monthly or weekly menus. Enjoy!!! __________________________________________________________ Garam Masala
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon whole cloves
In a skillet dry roast the Cardamom seeds, Black pepper, cinnamon and whole cloves for about 5 minutes. You must not leave it, continually move it around the skillet. Then add the remaining ingredients and roast for a further few minutes or until you smell the lovely aromas. ( The seeds take less time to roast and if you leave it too long your Garam masala will taste burnt)
Store in an airtight jar. If you wish to make large quantities adjust the ingredients accordingly. Grind into a fine powder. ___________________________________________________________ This next dish is a great accompliment to the Briani Achard Legumes (Mauritian Vegetables Pickle) Makes around 3 Cups Ingredients:
360 grams White Cabbage
180 grams Carrots
120 grams French Beans
15 Grams Green Chili (Around 4 Green Chilies depending upon heat desired)
1 tablespoon Mustard Seeds
7 Red Dried Chilies
6 Cloves Of Garlic
1 teaspoon of Turmeric Powder
1/4 Cup of Vegetable Oil
Salt to taste
Start by preparing your Vegetables. Wash them and thinly slice the cabbage and carrots Julienne style. Cut both ends of the French beans and slice them length ways. Finally, quarterly halve your Green Chilies.
In a deep Pan, Bring to boil around 2 litres of Salted water. When your water starts to boil, pour in all your Vegetables except your green Chilies.
Blanch them for 30 seconds. Immediately drain them and wash them thoroughly with Cold Water..
Time permitting - Place them on a large dish. Allow them to dry for 1 hour.
If time is at a premium don’t worry just use kitchen paper to soak up as much water as possible.
Blend the Mustard Seeds, garlic, Dry Red Chilies ( You can omit this should you wish) and half of your Vegetable Oil. You should have a fine paste.
Mix the paste well with the vegetable and add the turmeric powder and green chillies. Add the remaining oil and salt to taste.
This yummy healthy recipe can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. I love this dish as a yummy compliment to rice dishes. I also enjoy eating it in a sandwich. It is a great way to consume vegetables and your children will love it (omit the chillies) __________________________________________________________ This next one is so easy, especially when you are short on time. Daube de Poulet Ingredients:
500 g chicken cut into pieces (You can use chicken on the bone if you wish)
3 potatoes cut into large cube
3 tomatoes, cut into pieces
100 g of peas ( Can omit)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 piece of chopped ginger
1 onion, chopped
2 dry chillies
1 bunch parsley or coriander (2 tablespoons reserved for the end of cooking)
salt and pepper
In a large pot over medium heat, heat a tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions, garlic and ginger. Then add the cinnamon, cloves and dry chillies and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the chicken.
After ten minutes sprinkle the chicken with the cumin, add the peas and potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper and a glass of water mix well and simmer for 20 minutes covered.
You can substitute the chicken with beef or lamb. When ready sprinkle with chopped parsley or fresh coriander before serving with rice. Add a lettuce salad. Salad dressing:
1 small onion finely sliced
1 teaspoon white vinegar
3 green chillies ( Can omit)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all the ingredients and add to the lettuce. This dressing can be added to a cucumber salad if you wish.
Interestingly this dressing is also used on a Mauritian potato salad.
Boil potatoes in the skin. Once cooked, remove the skin and slice and add the dressing, as simple as that. A healthier way of eating potato salad without all the mayonnaise and cream.
____________________________________________________________ Let’s not forget sea food. Now this next dish can be made with meaty fish such as tuna or king fish or my favourite has to be octopus. I am salivating while I’m writing this. I guess octopus for dinner!!!!
Vindaye Ourite/Poisson Ingredients: • 1.5 kg octopus/ fish • 2 tablespoons garlic paste • 2 tablespoons freshly ground mustard seeds • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder • 3 medium onions, sliced • 10 small green chilies, sliced • 4 gloves • 1/2 cup flour • Salt to taste • Pepper to taste • 4 tablespoons white vinegar • 4 tablespoons oil Directions:
Clean the octopus and remove the ink bag. Rub the octopus with flour or salt and wash thoroughly.
Put the octopus in a large skillet, add 4 cloves, cover and cook on medium heat until the octopus turns to a pink colour and is completely soft. Remove octopus, allow to cool and cut into bite sizes
Marinate the onion in vinegar for 15 minutes
Heat oil in a pan (low heat)
Add the turmeric powder, ground mustard seed, garlic paste and keep stirring. Turn off the heat and combine the octopus with the spices.
Add the onions and the sliced chilies and mix well
Add salt to taste
Allow to cool and serve. It can be stored in a jar in the fridge for longer use. I make large quantities and freeze. You can eat this with rice, bread and parathas. Whatever takes your fancy? You can also make it with chicken breast.
1 Tin Sardines in olive oil
½ small onion
1 fresh tomato
Green Chillies ( as many as you like)
Salt to taste
Mix all together and eat with bread such as pitta, baguette or toast. Yummy, yummy!!!!! ___________________________________________________________ How about a quick dessert!!!
Keer (Rice pudding)
1/2 cup basmati rice
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons roughly chopped almond
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder ( Can be omitted)
2 tablespoon of ghee or butter
Soak rice in water for 1hr
Bring the milk, sugar, cardamom and fennel powder to a boil
Add the rice and cook over low heat with occasional stirring. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender
In a small pan add the ghee raisins and chopped almonds on a low flame. Once the raisins are nice and plump add the mixture to the rice.
(You can add some more milk if needed)
Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes
Enjoy warm or cold Add condense milk for a creamier rice pudding (Omit the sugar) _______________________________________________________ Another dessert I would love to share is Gateaux Patate (Potato cake) I love, love this. It is simple to prepare and the whole family will love this.
Gateaux Patate: Ingredients:
300g cooked sweet potato in the skin
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoon ground almonds (Can be omitted)
2-3 brown coconuts flesh grated, or 100g desiccated coconut
100g unrefined golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground Cardamom ( you can substitute the Cardamom with Cinnamon powder- 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (can be omitted)
vegetable oil for frying
1-2 tablespoon plain flour
Remove the skin once cooked and mash the sweet potato until completely smooth. Add ground almonds & flour and work into the mixture until you have a dough that comes together into a ball
Place in an oiled bowl cover with a damp cloth and chill in the fridge for 30 mins
In a separate bowl mix together the grated coconut, sugar, Cardamom and vanilla extract until well combined
Once the dough has firmed up divide the mixture into 8 small balls. Use a rolling pin to roll the balls into circles about 10am in diameter. Alternatively, roll the dough out and use a round cutter.
Place a teaspoon of the coconut mixture into the centre of each dough circle then fold over and make a half moon shape
Press down the edges using a fork so none of the mixture can come out
Heat enough veg oil for deep frying, fry the Gateaux Patate until golden (around 4-5 mins) and the pastry has puffed up. Drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool before serving. This recipe is mouth-watering and you must take care not to eat it while it’s too hot the sugar will ooze out and will burn your skin.
I have attempted to give you a taste of paradise and I truly hope you enjoy these recipes. If you want more!!!! simply ask and it would be my pleasure to provide you with further culinary delights.
Create Your Own Beauty From The Kitchen
Hello beautiful people!!!! By popular request I have decided to write a number of articles about natural beauty products and this article will solely concentrate on coconut oil, the elixir of the Gods. Coconut has been used for centuries for health and beauty. Growing up I always saw a bottle or jar of coconut oil in the kitchen. Once a week my mother use to soak my hair in it and in my youth I had strong luscious hair. If I had an earache my mother used coconut oil mixed with crushed garlic. Oh yes, it worked wonders. So without further ado:
Hair Loss: I suggest you make this recipe for the week if not for the month. Ingredients
Coconut oil – 1/3– (you may need more depending on the length of your hair)
Castor Oil – 2/3 - (you may need more depending on the length of your hair)
Ginger – 10 to 12 cm – Peel, cut and crush
Whole onion – Peel, cut and crush
Rosemary essential oil – 10 drops
You can vary this recipe and use the oils only but if you are trying to combat hair loss adding the ginger, onion and rosemary will triple the potency of this recipe. (Castor oil is extremely thick and personally I would always mix it with carrier oils, such as coconut oil)
Place all the ingredients in a jar, mix and steam it for about 4 hours. Let it cool and sieve it through a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth. Keep in the fridge.
Usage: Use two to three times per week. It may harden, so melt an amount sufficient to cover your scalp. I simply place it in hot water. (I cover all my hair with it). Do not use the microwave; you will diminish the beneficial properties of the coconut oil. Dampen your hair before adding this amazing elixir ( I use a spray bottle of water) Massage the scalp with the oil for about 5 minutes and cover the hair with a shower cap or towel. I use both to keep the heat in. Leave it on the hair for approximately two hours or overnight. Washing: Use a mild shampoo. If you find that it is difficult to remove, use conditioner first, rinse and shampoo.
Dry skin: I use coconut oil to remove my makeup and as a night moisturiser. Ingredients
2 tsps Coconut oil
2 tsps Aloe Vera gel (you can use fresh or store bought)
Mix well, this will take a bit of time to combine but it is worth it. If you make a batch, make enough for a week and keep in the fridge. ( I have purchased a small fridge that I keep in the bedroom on my dressing table. You can purchase one off eBay for about £30.00 and you will need an AC adaptor)
Do not make too much as it will spoil. One week at a time is great.
This recipe may not suit all. Do a patch test and see if the coconut oil is suitable for your skin. If you find that your skin feels rough, then substitute the coconut oil for sweet almond oil or castor oil.
This moisturizer is fabulous; your skin will feel soft and look smooth. With regular use you will see that glow again, the glow that decided to take a different path.
Body moisturiser: The issues with coconut oil, it hardens so why not whip it up, in a blender until it is smooth and fluffy and use it as a body moisturiser. This will avoid it solidifying. You can add a few drops of essential oils to it, whatever takes your fancy. Store in a mason jar. It will still harden slightly in cool weather but much more manageable.
Body scrub: Whip up some coconut oil, until fluffy and fold in some sugar, as simple as that. Use in the shower or bath. Your skin will feel luxurious. Keep in a beautiful container in the bathroom. Teeth and Gums:
Yes you read it correctly!!!! Simple after you brush your teeth take a sufficient amount to rinse your mouth with. It does take some getting use to but wow once you do you will never change your routine and trust me when I say your dental expenses will be greatly reduced. Alternatively why not make your own coconut toothpaste. Ingredients
6 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp baking soda
25 drops essential oil
1 tsp stevia ( you can add more if you prefer a sweeter taste)
Mix all the ingredients and whip it up. Pour into a squeezy bottle and use it as regular toothpaste. If you don’t have a squeezy bottle, put it into a mason jar and use a clean spoon or some form of utensil to scoop up a sufficient amount to brush your teeth with. Shaving Cream
For all you men out there and you ladies that have to resort to the old Bic razor. This natural shaving cream is amazing. Ingredients
4 Tbsp solid Shea butter
3 Tbsp coconut oil -
2 Tbsp Sweet almond oil
10-12 drops pure lavender essential oil
Use the double boiler method ( I use a glass bowl over a pot of simmering hot water) add the shea butter and coconut oil and let them melt over the lowest heat setting, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat once completely melted. Add almond oil and essential oils and stir to combine. Place the bowl in the fridge and let the mix harden. Remove from the fridge and blend it or use a hand held mixer, whip until the mixture is fluffy. Let it sit on the counter for a couple minutes before transferring to an airtight container. Can be used for up to a month. This shaving cream will avoid all those razor burns that most of us have experienced. It will leave your skin silky smooth. Consume Coconut oil:
Add coconut oil to your diet. You can cook with it or add 2 tbsp. to your smoothie. The health benefits of coconut oil are endless. Thrush:
Coconut oil is a staple in my kitchen and I use it for everything, burns, beauty and health. Do not underestimate coconut oil and ladies you can also use it for thrush. Many of us have experienced that itching and have you noticed how it happens at night, when you can’t run to the pharmacy. Well the old coconut oil could be your best friend. Soak a tampon in the oil and insert. I also rub some of the oil over the whole area. Coconut oil has antifungal properties that fight against yeast infections. I could go on and on about this amazing oil. You can make soaps, deodorants and much more. Caprylic acid is one of the fatty acids in coconut oil which contains antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, so ladies stop buying it and consume coconut oil. I hope you find this article helpful. Try some of these recipes if not all, you will not regret it. The key is to make batches of it, this way you will stick to the regime.