Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mauritian Halim

Mauritian halim is very different to the Indian Halim. Ours is less thick and only black lentils and cracked wheat are used as opposed to multiple grains. The Halim is more like soup rather than a porridge and of course with our french heritage Halim is thouroughly enjoyed with a french baguette ! This is also a very common street food.


1 kg beef with bones and marrow cut into big chunks
3/4 cup of black lentils soaked in cold water
1 cup of cracked wheat (medium to fine ) soaked in cold water

1 medium onion (fried till crispy and golden brown)

1 small onion
1 tsp of grated ginger
5 cloves of garlic
1 stick of cinnamon
2-3 whole cardamom
3 cloves
2 green chillis

1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder (optional)
1 tbs of ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
chopped coriander and mint leaves
chopped green onions
3-5 tbs of oil

- Crush the small onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves , green chilli into a fine paste (add water if required)
-Boil wheat in water till soft
-Fry the medium onion till crispy and brown


  • Marinate the beef with the paste and salt
  • Heat 1-2 oil in a pressure cooker (if you do not have a pressure cooker use a big heavy bottom pot but the cooking time will increase considerably)
  • Add the marinated beef and fry for a few mins
  • Add all the rest of the spices except the garam masala powder (turmeric powder, cumin powder and chilli powder )
  • Add the soaked lentils
  • Add about a litre of water and cook till both meat and lentils are cooked through
  • Once meat and lentils are cooked, add the wheat to the soup and allow to cook covered on low heat
  • Soup will thicken at this stage (adjust salt and thickness by adding more water according to taste)
  • Add chopped coriander and mint as well as fried onion
  • Simmer unconvered and lastly add the garam masala
  • Serve immediately with finely chopped green onions and lemon juice and fresh baguette !


Pudding Maïs et Pudding Vermicelle !

There are two very common sweet treats in Mauritius that usually go in pair and they are corn pudding and vermicelli pudding. These are extremely simple treats that are commonly eaten as a dessert , with the afternoon tea or a quick snack after school. I remember my mum used to make these and I would gobble them after school before heading to private tuitions ! Very easy to make , they do not require a lot of ingredients . Give it a try !


1 cup of ground corn
1 cup of water
4 tbs of sugar
2 cups of whole milk
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of unsalted butter
3 tbs of grated coconut


  • Soak corn in some water for 15 mins and wash well and drain
  • Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Keep stirring
  • Once the water has been absorbed , reduce the heat and add the whole milk , sugar and the butter . Keep stirring to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan
  • Add the vanilla extract and more sugar according to taste
  • When all the liquid has been absorbed , put in a greased tray and sprinkle with the coconut on top
  • Refrigerate and serve cold



1 Cup of  vermicelli
3-4 cups of water
3 tbs spoon of clarified butter or ghee (unsalted butter can be used as well)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp of cardamom powder
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tbs of raisins (optional)
1 tbs of finely slivered almonds (optional)
3 tbs of grated coconut

  •  Melt clarified butter in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat
  • Add vermicelli and roast until golden brown
  • Add cinnamon stick , raisins, almonds and cardamom powder and fry for 30 seconds
  • Add water slowly and bring to a boil
  • Add sugar
  • Stir frequently until all liquid evaporates
  • Put the pudding in a lightly greased tray and sprinkle with coconut . Refrigerate
  • Cut into segments and serve cold

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dhal Puri - The most popular street food in Mauritius !

Where do I even start with Dhal Puri ?! It is undoubtedly the most popular street food in Mauritius. If you ever visit the island , you will see long line ups on the streets , where people are willing to wait for the special paper thin treat from the best street sellers.
Dhal Puri is one of my favourite food as well, the best thing about it is it can be served with savoury dishes like the typical spicy "Rougaille Mauricien" which is basically a tomato based sauce or with sweet dishes like kheer (Rice pudding) more so on special occasions. The combination of the salty dhal puri and the sweet kheer is divine !!!


500g yellow split peas, soaked in water overnight
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2kg plain flour
800ml warm water
50ml vegetable oil, plus 50ml for cooking
Salt to taste


  • Soak split peas in cold water for at least an hour
  • Toast cumin seeds in a hot pan
  • Strain and rinse soaked split peas. Cook in water with turmeric, cumin seeds and salt until just tender (Do not overcook)
  • Strain and blend to a paste (coarser rather than fine paste)
  • Keep the hot water aside and allow to cool just slightly
  • Place flour, 2 pinches salt in a stainless steel bowl and mix well.
  • Add warm water and mix to form a smooth dough.
  • Cover dough with a damp cloth for 30 minutes.
  • Form dough into medium sized balls, make an indent in the centre and stuff with split pea paste. Seal dough around filling.
  • Roll dough out as thinly as possible into rounds on floured surface.
  • Place on hot flat griddle (Tawa) or non stick pan
  • Brush nonstick pan with oil and cook over high heat for approximately 2 minutes. Brush top of dholl puris with a little more oil, flip and cook on other side for another 2 minutes.

Knead your dough really well until it is glossy , smooth and elastic
Allow to rest
Make golf size balls with your split pea paste and put in the freezer for a few mins to set, this makes it much easier and less messy to fill in the flour dough
Do not overcook the the dhal puri in the pan or flat griddle (see picture for color)


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flan Caramel

Who does not like a good caramel flan ? There is probably one version is most countries around the world from Spain to France ! And Mauritius is no exception. Creamy, with just the right amount of sugar , the caramel taste , it's the perfect ending to a great meal. I usually make mine in a pressure cooker ! Yes pressure cooker :) I use a tin container with a tight lid and it takes 15 mins or less to cook in the pressure cooker. If you do not have one, you may do it the Bain Marie way (put pan with caramel custard cream in another container , fill with hot water half way and place in oven at 350 F) that's how you will get the best result.


6 tbs of sugar for the caramel
5 large eggs
5 cups of whole milk
2 tsp of vanilla extract or vanilla paste
5 tbs of sugar


  • Put 6 tbs of sugar in a pan and allow to cook on really low heat until caramel is formed (beware it is VERY HOT at this stage !)
  • Gently pour in a deep dish pan that is oven proof or if you will use a pressure cooker pour into a tin container
  • Beat eggs and milk together
  • Add sugar and vanilla extract / paste
  • Strain in container with caramel
  • Cook au bain marie for 45-1hr or 15-20 mins in the pressure cooker !
  • Allow to cook and run a knife on the edge and invert on a plate
  • Refrigerate and serve chilled

Chicken pot pie

Chicken Pot pie is comfort food at its best ! Making them is as easy as A B C and the best part ? You may use left over chicken from a roast you made or even turkey after Thanksgiving. You may use all vegetables on the ingredients list below or just what you have in your fridge. Make is as mild or as spicy as you like !


3 cups cooked chicken cut in cubes
1 cup onion chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 cup celery,finely chopped
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup peas
1 1/2 cups evaporated low fat or whole milk (skim, low fat or whole)
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tbs of coarse dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large sheet or 2 smaller sheets of puff pastry


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add in onions, garlic, celery and carrots, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Stir in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for one minute until flour turns light brown.
  • Stir in chicken stock followed by milk. Bring just to a simmer, than decrease the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in the chicken meat, peas, the dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour filling into a 9 or 10-inch deep dish pie plate.
  • Take puff pastry dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to cover the top of the pie plate. Cover filling with pie, pressing it down around the edges of the pie plate and cutting 4-5 slits in the top to allow steam to escape
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until filling is bubbly and the pie crust is golden.
If you like everything spicy like I do , add some chopped jalapenos for a nice kick !

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hummus with a twist

Since I don't particularly like the taste of Tahini which is an important compoment in the making of Hummus , I came up with my own twist ! and it is toasted sesame seeds instead of tahini. I made this and brought to work and everyone loved it to a great extent . Many have asked me for the recipe. So here you go !


  • 2 cans of chickpeas washed and drained
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbs of toasted sesame seeds
  • coarse sea salt to taste
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • Pulse chickpeas in food processor
  • Add sesame seeds and garlic
  • Add oil slowly while alternating with lemon juice until you achieve a smooth paste
  • Add salt to taste

Drizzle with more olive oil and smoked paprika, serve with toasted pita bread

My Grandma's signature dish- Dhal Bhaat

Dhal is yellow split peas and Bhaat means rice in bengoli. This is my grandmother's signature dish and the recipe has been passed from generation to generation. We used to gather around this meal on many Sunday dinner nights and enjoy great family time together.


500 grms basmati rice
1/2 kg beef
4-5 potatoes - sliced and fried
150 grms yellow split peas (matar dal)- boiled in water with 1/2 turmeric powder, 1/2 cumin seeds and salt
4 boiled eggs- sliced
2 tomatoes
1tbs tomato paste
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 garam masala
2-3 green chillies
chopped coriander leaves
chopped mint leaves
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 large onion- sliced and fried
1 small onion
2-3 tbs oil

1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 garam masala powder
3 tbs yoghurt

  • Soak rice in cold water for at least an hour
  • Marinate meat and set aside for half an hour
  • In the meantime, grind together the small onion, tomatoes, green chillies and the tomato paste
  • Cook meat in pressure cooker (or in a large pot with 2-3 cups of water) until done
  • Heat oil in a pot, add slice onions and fry until golden brown- set aside
  • Add 1 tsp of the cumin seeds in the oil followed by the tomatoes
  • Allow to cook on low heat, add ginger garlic paste and the rest of spices
  • Once oil starts to leave the side of the pot , add half of the fried onions and the meat with the gravy and simmer on low heat and remove from heat after 10-15 mins
  • Bring water to boil, add salt, 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • Add rice and cook until 3/4 done. Drain
  • Add half of the split peas in a layer on the meat in the pot
  • Layer the fried potatoes so that it covers the meat and split peas
  • Layer the sliced boiled eggs on top
  • Add the chopped coriander and mint leaves
  • Add one layer of rice followed by the other half of the split peas
  • Add remaining fried onions
  • Cook covered for 20 mins


Crab Bouillabaisse

"Bouillon crabes" in creole is just a cousin of the french soup bouillabaisse. There is also the fish version and a bit of a twist from the original french recipe that makes it very uniquely mauritian. Enjoy during the crab season with french baguettes !



-1 Kg of Crabs cleaned and separated into big pieces
-3 tbs oil
-1 onion chopped finely
-6 ripe tomatoes
-4 cloves of garlic
-2-3 green chillies
-3 curry leaves (optional)
-1 tsp of tomato paste
-Thyme leaves
-Salt and pepper

  • Puree tomatoes with the tomato paste, curry leaves and the green chillies
  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Add chopped onions and garlic
  • Fry until transparent
  • Add the crab pieces and fry until it changes in color to a bright red
  • Add the pureed tomato
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Now add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil
  • Add thyme leaves reduce heat and simmer for at least 30-45 mins
  • Adjust salt if necessary


Fish broth can be used instead of water
Use fish instead of crab (Red Snapper works really well)


Rasgoolas or Goolab Jamuns ?!

What we call Rasgoolas in Mauritius is called Goolab Jamuns in India. So what is our Goolab Jamuns called then ? I am not sure it even exists ! Mauritian Rasgoolas is a treat made with milk powder , flavoured with cardamom and soaked briefly in sugar syrup. These are so good that if not careful enough you could see yourself eating a dozen in no time !



-2 Cups milk powder
-1/2 Cup of all purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp cardamome powder
-1-2 tbs of melted clarified butter
- Liquid milk
-Oil for frying

  • Boil 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water

  • Mix all the ingredients together and make a dough with the liquid milk (do not add too much but just enough for the dough to come together)
  • Make golf size balls and set aside
  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Deep fry the rasgoolas on low to medium heat (watch out as these may burn very easily)
  • Dip in the sugar syrup, remove immediately and set aside
  • Enjoy warm or cold

Add milk a little at a time to make sure you are getting the right consistency
Allow Rasgoolas to soak a little bit longer in syrup if you like them softer and more spongy
While making the golf size balls with the dough it might dry out pretty fast, just add a little bit more liquid milk to soften


Monday, September 24, 2012

Aubergine( Eggplant) Fritters- Beignets d'aubergines

Mauritius being a tropical island, we are unfortunately more often than we'd like faced with tropical cyclones. When a cyclone hits the island it is with heavy rain, strong wind and no electricity. The family would gather together and the elders would tell us stories from the past. We would also listen to the radio for the lastest news on where the cyclone is at , this till the battery on the radio would die on us....
One of the most memorable part of cyclones besides not having to attend school is of course the yummy food my mother and grandmother would prepare using the gas stove. Beignets d'aubergines or Aubergine fritters would be very common. Eating the piping hot treats while hearing the rain pounding on the windows and the wind blowing is one amongst many memories that linger on .......
Today I still make beignets d'Aubergines, specially on stormy winter days. Sitting in front of the fire place and watching the snow fall from the window is quite an experience as well and somehow reminds me of the "cyclonic" days back home !
***My colleague at work mentioned to me that Aubergine is not very commonly used in North America , it's more Eggplant ! Thanks Raoul :) *****

- 1 big aubergine
-200 grm gram flour (also referred to as chickpea flour or Besan- easily available in regular stores)
-1 tbs all purpose flour
-1 chilli finely chopped
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp garlic paste
-Oil for deep frying
  • Slice Aubergine into thin rounds and keep in salted water
  • Sift flours and baking powder in a bowl
  • Add all other ingredients except oil and mix with enough water to a thick batter
  • Dip each slice of aubergine into the batter and coat on each side evenly
  • Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown
  • Drain on kitchen paper and serve with chutney or hot sauce

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese Mauritian style

As mentioned previously on my blog , Mauritius cuisine is a fusion of many different cultures and our pasta dishes do not escape this ! My aunt used to make this macaroni and cheese dish all the time when we were younger and we would eat it with hot sauce and tomato salsa (recipes for Mauritian tomato salsa or Chutney de pomme d'amour will be posted soon) ! It is such a comfort food.
The herb that is used profusely in Mauritius is Thyme . Very fragrant, Thyme is used in many dishes and is once again from the french influence (Thyme is a component of the herbes de provence and bouquet garni in french cuisine). Thyme is sometimes even used in making curries in Mauritius and adds a delightful twist to many other dishes !


- 500 grm macaroni
- 400 grm of ground beef
-2 tomatoes crushed
-3 cloves of garlic
-1 onion chopped
-1 cup of breadcrumbs
-2 cups of grated cheddar cheese (or more according to taste)
-1-2 green chillies
-2-3 tbs oil
-Salt and Pepper


  • Boil macaroni as per instruction on the box and set aside
  • Heat oil in a pan
  • Add chopped onions and garlic
  • Fry until light brown
  • Add meat , salt and pepper
  • Fry until meat turns golden brown and there is no more water
  • Now add the crushed tomatoes and green chillies
  • Allow to cook on low heat until you see the oil around the side of the pan
  • Time to add the thyme !
  • Now you may add your macaroni and mix well
  • Add the grated cheese and breadcrumbs and mix properly
  • Serve hot with a tomato salsa or hot sauce
  • You may add more cheese on top and put under the broiler until bubbly ! The more cheese the better is the rule here !


Bol Renversé or Upside down bowl you say ?!

How do you want your egg on the Bol Renversé ?
Not quite sure about the origin of the Bol Renversé except that it tastes really good and might be uniquely mauritian as this is a dish I have never seen anywhere else. Rice , stir fried vegetables and meat and a fried egg on top ! The whole combination is very tasty. There is definitely a chinese influence in this dish but I would not call it a chinese dish per se. I am sure if you go to China and ask for something similar they will certainly not have a clue what you are talking about !

Ingredients : (Makes 4)
- 3 chicken breasts
- 4 portions of cooked rice preferably basmati rice
- 4 eggs
- 1 can of young corn

- 2 carrots
- 1 small can of bamboo shoots
- A few Chinese shitake mushrooms
- 3 pieces of garlic
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbs soya sauce
- 2 tbs oyster sauce
- 1 tbs of cornstarch


  • Soak mushrooms in cold water
  • Slice chicken thinly , add salt and pepper
  • Slice bamboo shoots thinly
  • Cut young corns to bite size pieces
  • Cut carrots into preferred shape
  • Slice mushrooms
  • Crush garlic or mince with a knife

  • Heat oil in a wok , add chicken and crushed garlic
  • In a small bowl, mix soya sauce, oyster sauce and the cornstarch and 2 tbs of water
  • Add this sauce to the chicken while cooking on high heat
  • Add vegetables
  • Mix well
  • Add more soya / oyster sauce if required or according to taste
  • Fry 4 eggs and keep aside
  • Place one egg in a small bowl yolk facing down, then pour the stir fry on top
  • Now add rice and flatten with a spoon
  • Invert bowl gently onto a plate , add a few green onions and voila ! you have your Bol Renversé
  • You can use shrimps and any other vegetables in this dish. This is a perfect clean your fridge dish . You can use any left over rice and vegetables from your fridge !


Tarte à la Bananes or Banana Pie

I am originally from the island of Mauritius , a piece of paradise in the Indian Ocean East coast of Southern Africa. Mauritius was uninhabited then taken over by the French and subsequently the British . Indians were brought to the island as indentured labourers and the chinese came to invest in small businesses. Slaves were brought from Africa. The beauty of this multicultural society lies in the fusion of its food . The food of Mauritius is a unique blend of French, indian , african and chinese cuisines. French baguette is quite a staple in Mauritius and not at all uncommon to eat with a spicy curry ( Pretty similar to the Vietnamese Banh Mi).
The french influence has left its mark with great pastries. Mauritians in general have a sweet tooth and when it comes to pastries one that stands out from everything else is undoubtedly the Banana Pie or Tarte à la Bananes. Rich buttery flaky crust with a sweet smooth banana paste . One of my most favorites mauritian pastries like many others. This is a must have with a great cup of tea on any afternoon while chillaxing ! Very rich , this is a treat to be enjoyed on rare occasions :)

For the Tart Shell
150g [1cup] all purpose flour and a little extra for dusting
100g good quality unsalted butter, cubed
For the banana filling5-6 ripe bananas
5 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Lattice150g [1 cup] all purpose flour
75g good quality unsalted butter, cubed
Milk, for glazing (To achieve the golden color on top at the end - Milk + 1 egg yolk can also be used)

  • Place 100g butter in a bowl and sift over 1 cup flour.
  • Knead into a soft dough. You may need to add extra flour to achieve the correct consistency.
  • You can use a food processor for this step, just pulse a couple of times only until crumbly and knead by hand until dough comes together , do not overwork dough, try to handle as little as you can. This will give you a flaky shortcrust shell.
  • Press dough into a 9 inch fluted tart pan.
  • Refrigerate the crust for about 45 mins
  • Now prepare the lattice in the same way as you did for the tart shell. Kead into a soft ball and flatten into a disc.
  • Remove tart shell from fridge and prick all over with a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 325F for 15-20 minutes.
  • Mash bananas and cook in a pan with brown sugar under medium heat till it turns a shade darker and comes together in a mass. It will stop sticking to base and sides of pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.Add vanilla extract
  • Your tart shell should also be done by now. Remove from oven.
  • Drop tablespoons of filling in the shell and level surface. Do not overfill
  • Remove lattice from fridge. Roll out between sheets of parchment paper until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into long strips 1 cm wide
  • Layer strips in a crisscross pattern over filling. Press ends into crust.
  • Brush lattice generously with milk glaze and return to oven.
  • Bake at 325oF for 45-60 minutes on lower shelf till crust is golden.
  • Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Slice with a sharp knife.
  • Serve warm or cold with a cup of tea/coffee.
  • You can also make individual tarts using single mini tart moulds or a muffin tray and use lattice in a similar manner


Thursday, September 20, 2012

About Cannelle et Cardamome-Mauritian cuisine and beyond !

How it all started

I love cooking ! This, since I was probably 7-8 years old when I first started my culinary experience in my grandmother's kitchen. I would follow my grandmother in the kitchen and watch her every moves while she made intricate dishes such as Biryani. As I grew up, the passion increased even more and then I saw myself doing food photography of all the dishes I made. I am inspired by many celebrity chefs on TV. Anthony Bourdain being my most favorite, I also love Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, David Rocco to name a few and of course Julia child !

I have been planning to blog for a very long time but never got to it. I have always posted my food photography on Facebook . It was easy and quick. No matter how much my family and friends told me I should have a blog I kept postponing ......out of laziness. However, recently I have been going through a lot of food blogs and have been amazed by the incredible blogs out there. I was finally motivated to have my own . I thought I could just upload the pictures I already have and everyone would have easy access to the recipes on the blog itself.

So, Happy blogging to me and I hope you all enjoy my site . Visit often and share ideas ! What you will find on this blog is a lot more than just Mauritian cuisine !