Essential Ingredients Used in An Everyday Kitchen of A Mauritian!
NeeshtaAugust 22 20180 Comments
Each and every Mauritian will always make sure that they have all these essentials stocked in their kitchen.
Like many other spices, cardamom comes from India. Because of its floral and lemony fragrance, it is mostly used to season rice-based dishes. It is also used to flavour sweet dishes, so if you have a sweet tooth, you will find it gâteaux patate (sweet potato & coconut cake) or even in rice pudding.
In Mauritius, chillies are eaten from a young age. Chilli is commonly used in several dishes so as to add taste to the dish being prepared. A common snack crushes them with salt to sprinkle over slivered, crunchy green mango. Mauritians also consume it as a side dish with their meals and it can also be used in salads or as pickles. It is mostly consumed by people who adore hot, spicy food.
Cloves are one of the most important ingredient of biryani, a popular recipe in the Mauritian Muslim community. It is easy to recognize this spice because of its strong flavour. It is also found in several spice mixes and spiced teas.
Mauritians use both the leaves and the seeds of coriander. The leaves are often used in chutneys, sprinkled over curry towards the end of cooking time, and give a unique taste to the Mauritian-special - the biryani. Coriander leaves are also used in raw tomato salads where its is finely chopped and mixed together. Coriander seeds are roasted, grounded, and mixed with masala. It somehow perfumes the meal.
Cumin seed is used as a spice for its distinctive flavour and aroma. Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds. It imparts a warming and aromatic character to food, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as spiced gravies such as curry and chilli.It is also used as an ingredient in some pickles and pastries.
Curry leaves popularly known as caripoulé by most of the population in Mauritius originates from Southeast Asia. The leaves release a scent that is primarily linked to chicken curry, hence the name. It can also be added to cooked dhal, curries and in certain dishes, the small leaves are sometimes fried in oil and placed over.
Mauritians use both fresh and dried forms of tumeric widely – fresh in achards, pickles and curry pastes and dried in curry powders.
Garlic is a bulb, which belongs to the same family as onions, shallots, chives and even the lily and tulip. It is an ingredient that accompanies most Mauritian dishes. Whether it is in the popular Creole rougaille (red sauce made with tomatoes), Indian curry, Chineses fried noodles,or the famous Mauritian biryani, garlic enhances the taste and adds fragrance to your dish.
In Mauritius, ginger perfumes and adds tastes to the rougailles, gives a special flavour to green leafy vegetables (also known as brèdes), meat and to fish. This aromatic ingredient also brings flavour to the biryani.
Mustard seeds are dark brown or black seeds commonly used in many Mauritian dishes including Fish Vindaye and Achard le Chou (Pickled Cabbage). Mustard seeds are usually cooked in oil at the start of a curry (or pickle) so that the oil becomes mildly nutty. In this manner this brings a different kind of taste to the food.
Pickles also known as achards by many, is a way of preserving fruits and vegetables likes mangoes, lemons and others for further use. Spicy vegetable pickles are always present on the table while you are either having lunch or supper. It generally contains mustard seeds, oil, salt, chilli, garlic and turmeric as flavourings.
Spring onions are generally added to a dish at the end to maintain their crunch. Both the green and white sections of shallots are widely used to garnish. Finely sliced, deep-fried spring onions are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine, often served with soups and curries.
Thyme is predominantly associated with the Mediterranean though it is often used in Mauritian curries and in the many braised French-derived meat dishes. Thyme is used as it brings an aroma to the dish.
Tomatoes, known as "pomme d’amour" are the cornerstones of Mauritian cuisine. They can be consumed either raw in salads or cooked in a sauce. Moreover, they are the main ingredient in the Creole rougaille sauce, an addition to curries and the basis of chutneys. It can also be used to make soups or a saute of vegetables.