The National Day celebrations have always been a grand affair and the rehearsals for this year’s ceremony have been going for well over a week at Anjalay Stadium, Belle Vue under the theme Enn Pei, Enn Nasion, Enn Destin/ One Country, One Nation, One Destiny. The guest of honour of the ceremony was scheduled to be the Malaysian Prime Minister but in view of the Malaysian Airlines incident, he postponed the invitation and had the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dato Sri Mustapa Mohammed, step in for him. As per the tradition, the independence day festivities were held on the eve in all primary and secondary schools all over the island with the reading of the PM’s message followed by the flag hoisting ceremony and the distribution of cakes and drinks.

Independence Day

To bring back the pre-independence day nostalgia into my kitchen, I made a big pot of dilé manioc/cassava in milk sauce which used to be quite a popular dish prepared by grandmothers. Cassava was an easily available staple food in those days and was a good source of carbohydrates for the many children of extended families who lived manly on sugarcane and local fruits. The preparation of this traditional dish will give you an approximate idea of the hardships faced my our ancestors; it will take more than 2 hours to get the cassava roots to soften in a pan of water on the stove. But once you are done with step1, you simply have to stir in the remaining ingredients produce this deliciously creamy dessert which tastes even better in this hot weather if you have time to let it chill for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

MANIOC DILE/ CASSAVA IN MILK SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 kg cassava/ manioc

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups fresh milk

1/3 cup sago pearls

1/2 cup grated coconut

1/4 cup almond slivers

5 cardamom pods, crushed

Method:

  • Select good quality cassava. Wear gloves to protect your hands while peeling the outer fibrous layer of the cassava.

  • Cut into large pieces and place in a large pan of water or a pressure cooker. Bring to the boil until the cassava softens.

  • Drain the excess water and transfer the boiled cassava to a large shallow dish. Leave it to cool to room temperature.

  • Mash the boiled cassava well with a fork. Return to the pan and add milk, sugar, crushed cardamom and sago pearls.

  • Bring to the boil over low heat stirring regularly until the mixture thickens, then remove from heat and cool slightly.

  • Toast the coconut and almond slivers lightly, then use them to garnish the dishes before serving. Serves 8-10 people.

Proudly Mauritian!

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