On our relaxing vacation in Mauritius, we were seeking out the best local food. One thing we learned, at the Aapravasi Ghat, is that the food in Mauritius is very Indian based, with curries and dhal and rice.
We love the curries, the spices, the tropical fruits, all of it. We wanted to bring a recipe home to add to our repertoire. Luckily our hotel, the incredible beach side Recif Attitude, was offering this cooking lesson for free. We couldn’t wait to learn how to make traditional Mauritian chicken curry, then gobble it up for lunch before another swim.
It’s all about the spice! Walking through the market in Port Louis, we noticed many spice vendors and piles of chiles. We also know that vanilla is grown on the island along with sugar cane, pineapples, and coconuts. It all sounds very tropical and delicious, doesn’t it? We couldn’t wait to try it.
Typical Mauritian Dishes:
- Dholl Puri
- Mine Frites
A Mauritian snack food, derived from paratha in India. A flatbread spread with yellow beans and the Mauritian chili sauce, called mazavaroo. You can usually find them in markets and town squares. This stall is located in the Port Louis Central Market. The dholl puri costs about 80 US cents, so it’s cheap and tasty.
Living in central Europe, I expected this to be some type of potatoes or French fries. Boy, was I wrong. Derived from the Chinese immigrants, it’s a fried noodle with cabbage, onion, and in this case chicken. This dish can be found all over the island, but the best one we found was near Riambel Public Beach in the south.
It stands to reason that seafood is a staple of the island. While we were there, we got our fill of fish, mussels, and shrimp. It was always on the spicy side, but we loved every bite.
Also derived from India, we were served biryani mostly as a side dish in many of the restaurants we tried. Who doesn’t love a spicy rice?
A milky drink with tapioca balls, this became our favorite snack and drink of the trip. Various flavors are on offer. We tried almond, strawberry, and my favorite vanilla. It’s made fresh and served cold, so it’s welcome on a hot Mauritian day.
We found stands all over the island, and I don’t think we passed even one without stopping. It’s amazing, almost addictive.
Mauritius Food Products:
- cane sugar and rum
As vanilla is grown on the island, we found a lot of offerings that featured this prized product. Pictured above is a crème brulée, and we’ve also tried vanilla alouda and vanilla tea.
With plenty of sugar cane grown all over the island, rum is a major product. We visited the Rhumerie de Chamarel just to taste their rum varieties. I never knew there were so many. My favorite was the cinnamon rum, which really accentuated that tropical, spice island feel; it was truly Mauritian.
A smaller and sweeter variety of pineapple found in most parts of the world, the Victoria, or Queen, pineapples are found for sale all over the island. We came upon this pile in the charming Mahebourg Central Market. How many pineapples can you eat while you are on a tropical island vacation? My experience? A lot!
Palm trees and beaches…that means coconuts. Another ubiquitous fruit, it will refresh you on the hottest of days. I loved this fresh fruit stand we found right on the Port Louis boardwalk.
Mauritian Chicken Curry
Mauritian curries, although a direct descendent from India, have their own unique taste. We learned that there was more garlic and maybe less tomatoes in a Mauritian curry.
We never pass up an opportunity for a cooking lesson, so we signed up immediately with the front desk for the Mauritian curry lesson. It was taught by Kavita, who we had gotten to know from her amazing Creole omelettes we ordered each morning. The omelettes again used the Mauritian yumminess called mazavaroo, making them just spicy enough to wake us up.
Kavita’s lesson moved quickly. I don’t think we were there more than 30 minutes. She and her staff had already done the mise en place with all of the ingredients as well as setting up the woks and burners, so all we had to do is dump the ingredients into the woks at the right time, stir, and eat!
Mauritian curries, although a direct descendent from India, have their own unique taste. For instance, there is typically more garlic and ginger and less tomatoes in a Mauritian curry.
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast cut in 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup red onion, diced
- 1 cup tomato, diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced
- 8 or 9 small curry leaves
- 4 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- Add the cooking oil to the wok and bring up the temperature on a medium high heat.
- Add the diced onion and the bay leaf, stir frying until the onion is transparent and the leafs are soft.
- Next add the minced ginger and garlic and stir fry into the onion and curry leaf mixture.
- Add the cubed chicken and continue stir frying on medium high heat until the chicken is lightly browned.
- Next add the curry powder and turmeric and mix in until the chicken is evenly coated with the curry mixture.
- Toss in the chopped tomatoes, bring down the heat to medium and cook until the tomatoes are soft (about 5 minutes).
- Add some water, one tablespoon at a time, to start building up the sauce (about 5 or 6 tablespoons).
- Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Continue simmering for about 15 minutes to cook the chicken all the way through. Add more water as needed to keep the sauce from getting too thick.
- Serve over rice or with naan.
Check out the prices for hotels like Recif Attitude here… Save This Delicious Traditional Mauritian Chicken Curry Recipe For Later!