Mauritian food includes the range of culinary preparations from Mauritius, an island nation near the south-east coast of Africa. It is known for its strong foreign influences from Creole, Indian, European and Chinese cuisines. A single Mauritian meal can contain dishes from many cuisines.
Foreign Influences on Mauritian Cuisine
French ties of Mauritius from historical times are responsible for French influences on Mauritian food. French dishes popular in Mauritian cuisine include civet de lievre and daube. Wine is also preferred here as a result of French influence. In 1638, the nation was colonized by the Dutch, who brought sugarcane with them, and it was used for the production of rum.
Indian influences can be seen in Mauritian food as a result of Indian workers settling here after the abolition of slavery, during the nineteenth century. The workers came from different regions and brought with them their own respective cuisine dishes. Dal (lentil soup) and achar (pickle) are some examples.
Chinese Influence came in the late nineteenth century, when Chinese immigrants settled here.
Ingredients Commonly Used in Mauritian Food
The commonly used ingredients in Mauritian Food include vegetables and herbs like tomatoes, garlic, onions and chilies. Rice is commonly eaten, and lentils are an important ingredient, often used to prepare the Indian 'dal'. Spices used in Mauritian food include cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, cardamom, etc. Meats and seafood also form a significant part of the diet of Mauritian people.
Popular Mauritian Cuisine Dishes
Mauritian food boasts of a range of dishes with lots of variety. Here are some of the popular dishes of Mauritian cuisine, amongst a host of many others.
- Vindaye is a dish made of dried fish or octopus and spices used to preserve it which include mustard, garlic, chili and vinegar. It is rich in protein and is often served hot or cold as a relish along with other dishes.
- Rougaille is a sauce made of spices, onions, garlic, tomatoes and chilies that is used as a table sauce. It is an important condiment in Mauritian food.
- Gateaux piment is a kind of pea cake that is prepared by frying.
- Dhol puri is a flatbread that is eaten with cooked vegetables, chutneys and pickles.
- Napolitaines are raspberry shortbreads containing jam filling.