Dry grains, Legumes and Pulses are part of the Mauritian culinary tradition- they are staple foods just like rice or milk.
Grains form part of the vegetable and plant family and are either cereal or legume-based. Cereals include wheat, rye, rice, and so on and usually attached to a hull, as opposed to legumes, which feature a pod with seeds inside it. These seeds are sometimes referred to as pulses or edible seeds. Legumes include peas, beans, peanuts, and lentils.
Uses in Mauritian Cuisine
Mauritius imports a large number of dry grains & legumes, from Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. The most consumed grains locally are black lentils, followed by Cape peas and split peas. It is estimated that every month, households purchase at least half a kilo of grains and pulses- from various types of lentils such as black, brown, green and red lentils to split peas, broad beans, mung beans, butter beans, chickpeas- the list goes on with varieties of legumes, beans and peas available on the market.
A typical Mauritian meal consists of rice, pulses and vegetables served with either meat or other condiments. The grains and pulses side dishes are often referred to as “grains secs” in Creole. Lentils, Lima beans, split peas and other types of grains accompany or are part of the side dish.
Mauritian Dishes with Grains, Legumes and Pulses
Daal - a soup based on lentils or split peas, is served almost twice of thrice a week in households, often accompanying meals with rice, or had on its own.
Dhol Puri - the ingredients used, for the dholl puri is what makes it uniquely Mauritian- it is a flatbread stuffed with yellow split peas.
Gato piment - made with split peas, where it is crushed into a paste and combined with chillies and spring onions, before being deep-fried
Gram sale - another popular snack, made with peas, which have been dried and salted. Sold in small packets
Gros pois - a curry made from butter bean, where it is wrapped up in the famous Dholl puri and is also served as one of the famous “Sept Cari” curries at Hindu events
Peanuts - a very popular snack in Mauritius, often sold in small packets on most street stalls. The peanuts are either boiled or grilled.
Sev & Moulkou - a thin, crispy, noodle-like snack made from chickpea flour and seasoned with spices. Moulkou is a thicker variation, often pretzel shaped.
Health Benefits of Grains, Legumes and Pulses
Aside from being relatively easy to prepare, grains and pulses very nutritious, especially for those who are vegetarians or follow a vegan lifestyle.
Legumes contain vitamins and micronutrients, and are incredibly rich in protein, with two-to-four times the protein content of cereal grains. Due to their high-fibre content, they also help prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract. Grains, legumes and pulses are naturally low in fat and are practically free of saturated fat, and because they are plant foods. Aside from being cholesterol free as well they provide fiber, protein, carbohydrate, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorous.