Mauritius, paradise of flavours of the curry
According to a legend by famous American writer Mark Twain, heaven is a copy-and-paste of Mauritius.
According to a legend by famous American writer Mark Twain, heaven is a copy-and-paste of Mauritius. A cliché to say it every time? Not at all. With its sandy beaches and its turquoise lagoon, Mauritius is truly heaven on earth. Yet, the island is not only about its beaches, but also the kindness and legendary hospitality of its mixed population. Above all that, its cuisine. You are hungry! No worries, the pot is on the stove.
How to define the Mauritian cuisine? Well, whatever the world has invented or invents in culinary terms, we make it ours and better. The Mauritian cuisine is a blend of Indian, Creole, Chinese and European culinary culture with a secret touch.
The curry for example. “Cari” for the Mauritians and people from the Reunion island. For the record, cari stems from the Tamil word “kari” which means meat. Thanks to Wikipedia for the info. After the discovery of spices such as cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, to name but a few, Indians invented the “massala”. Whether you write it with an s or two, thanks to the “masala”, the “cari” was born. Coming back to Mauritius and for the record (bis). With the abolition of slavery and well before the arrival of indentured labourers from India, the island under French colonisation had 1,600 slaves, shipwrights and cooks from Pondicherry and from the south of India. In the cooks’ bag, the seeds of a plant that will revolutionise the Mauritian cuisine, the “karouvaipilai” or “caripoulé”. Thank to these cooks who came from the south of India centuries ago, the “cari”, once adopted and improved to perfection, will become a typical Mauritian dish. These cooks also brought with them the famous “roche cari” and “baba roche cari”.
To prepare a good “masala”, the grandma’s way, no need for a food processor. But a rectangular flat stone of 45 cm in length, 30 in width and 15 cm thick for the “roche cari” and a cylindrically cut stone for the “baba roche cari”. Smaller, some ten centimetres in diameter and fifteen long, the “baba roche cari” is used to crush into a paste the spices on the “roche cari” the same way one would spread a dough with a pastry roll.
Curry is either meat, chicken or vegetarian. Yet, there is nothing better than a fish curry with eggplant. Let’s eat and bon appétit.