Dholl Puri is the favourite street food of most Mauritians. The popular street food traces its roots back to India. It is a reminder of the times of the indentured labourers that came to the island in the nineteenth century. Dholl puri is an iconic food in Mauritius and has deep connections with India.
Origins of the Dholl Puri
Once you start talking about Mauritian street food, dholl puri will definitely be among the first mentioned but many don’t know about the history of dholl puri and how this dish came to be. Back in the days of indentured labourers in the 1800s, food and water was rationed. When cooking dal, the families would often use the water to mix dough. The dough ended up with some dal in it which gave it its unique flavor. The result is today’s dholl puri stuffed with a crumbled dal mixture.
The flatbread is called puri but it is not deep fried but instead cooked on a ‘tawa’ or griddle pan. The dish is served with curry as toppings. Curry can be served on a plate and eaten in the same way one would eat paratha or a pair of the flatbreads can be wrapped with the curry inside. The latter is what you will get when buying dholl puri in the streets of Mauritius.
Refined flour was used to prepare the bread back in the day and this has not changed to this day. This is because wheat flour which was sent via ships to Mauritius would often get spoilt, refined flour had longer shelf life. The use of refined flour is what gives the taste. Having tried it with wheat flour gives the flatbread a completely different taste.
How Dholl Puri is served
The final taste of dholl puri will depend a lot on the accompaniments and this can be anything from curry, pickle or even rice pudding if you prefer it with a little taste of sugar. The way it is served on the streets almost everywhere is with rougaille (tomato-based curry), butter bean curry and ‘achard’ (pickle made from fruits or vegetables). The taste of the dholl puri is consistent throughout the island. Locals would often buy the flatbreads alone to eat with their home prepared curry.
Dholl puri is a dish not to miss during your visit to Mauritius.