The cuisine of Mauritius is an amalgamation of the many cultures that thrive there, and is called Creole.
Mauritius was uninhabited until the Portuguese found it on their voyages through the Indian Ocean. Colonial governments turned the island into a plantation colony. Eventually, people began to migrate there and over the years, the cuisine became an amalgamation of the many cultures that thrived there, and was called Creole.
Mauritian cuisine is mainly a mix of African, Indian, Chinese and French influences. The produce used in Mauritian cooking is both local and imported. Meat is sourced from other countries but venison is local. Seafood is caught locally and also comes from nearby islands like Madagascar.
Local Mauritian biryani is a take on the original Indian dish, and uses different spices. It is made with saffron rice and beef or chicken, and sometimes even marinated fish. Spices include cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise and cumin. Potatoes and fried onions are also added. All the ingredients are slow-cooked in a deg, which is a huge cauldron made of copper.
Made with split peas, turmeric and cumin, dholl puri is grilled on a flat pan called a tawa. Fillings include potato or kidney bean curry. It is often served at weddings, and is available as a street snack, wrapped in paper. Pickled vegetables and chilli add to its taste. It’s popular with both locals and tourists.
Mine frit (fried noodles)
The term mine is Cantonese/Hakka for noodles, and frit is French for fried. It is essentially egg noodles cooked with carrots, cabbage, chicken, shrimps, and thin slices of beef. Seasoned with fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic sauce and chilli paste, mine frit are often garnished with fried egg strips.
Sept cari (seven curries)
Although curries come from India, they are popular with all ethnic groups in Mauritius. Traditionally, seven vegetable curries (which include lima or broad bean curry, dhal, rougaille, pumpkin stir-fry, chouchou or chayote or banana curry, bari or gato pima and jackfruit curry) are served with rice and roti on banana leaves.
Confit (fruit salad)
In Mauritius, fruit salad is called the Creole confit. It is made with pickled mango, with juicy pineapple chunks, olives, jicama (patate chinois), guava, bilimbi, ambarella (fruit de cythère) and cucumber. Locals add chilli, salt and hot tamarind sauce to it. Some people enjoy it with white vinegar.