Think of Mauritius and palm trees, sandy white beaches and crystal clear water all pop into mind. Yep to all of the above, but the food….THE FOOD. For a teeny island the influences and styles are quite phenomenal, ranging from Creole, French, Indian and Chinese. And boy, did I eat. A word of warning however, if you ask for chilli sauce you will get the chilliest chilli sauce in the whole of chillidom.
My first experience of Mauritian food was Lakaz Maman, a favourite Southampton spot, so I knew I was going to be in for a treat when I hit the island. I stayed on the north-west side, in The Ravenala Attitude, where they host cookery classes once a week in their restaurant Kot Nou.
The chef Haashim had been on board only for a couple on months, but spending a little time talking to him, his passion and knowledge of food was evident. He was cooking with chicken, but having told them beforehand I was veggie, I had potatoes and cauliflower on my bench.
I began my Mauritian cooking class. Firstly in a pan with hot oil, I added onions, ginger paste, garlic paste, onions, turmeric, garam masala, chopped tomatoes and sizzled away for a few minutes until the onions were soft. I then added the potatoes and cauliflower (already pre-cooked). Again letting it fry nicely before adding some thyme, and then cooling yoghurt. The smell was dreamy and all I wanted to do was eat (but had to wait to get the nod of approval from the Chef!
And finally, I could eat – the joy of that first mouthful! All my type of food the heat from the ginger and garam masala was perfect!
The classes are free to guests, and I thoroughly recommend having a go!