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Envi ene bon ti salade melanz? While the average Mauritian is not a huge fruit eater, he/she will hardly ever say no to a freshly prepared fruit salad topped with tamarind sauce and disel pima/ chili salt. A colourful meli-melo of tropical fruits including mangoes and pineapple, our traditional fruit salad is not a homemade entity but derives its popularity from the road side sellers who usually extend their fares to markets and beaches on Sundays and holidays.

It will not be an uncommon sight if you come across one today on our crowded public beaches, which are always so on the eve and the day of a public holiday. And as we are celebrating our Independence Day today, there is, I’m sure, no better occasion to do a post on something we can proudly call as our ‘national’ salad. As the official celebrations unfold this afternoon in Champ de Mars in the attendance of eminent personalities, many will undoubtedly gather in more informal surroundings with the same feeling of being fier d’etre mauricien/ proud to be a Mauritian.

MAURITIAN FRUIT SALAD

Ingredients:

2 semi ripe mangoes

1 medium pineapple

1 small cucumber

10 jamalacs/ love apples

1 carambole/ star fruit

2-3 dried red chilies

1 teaspoon kitchen salt

3 tablespoons tamarind

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Method:

  • Peel mangoes, pineapple and cucumber. Cut each fruit into bite size pieces or chop into thick slices.

  • Cut the jamalacs into halves and slice the carambole thinly. Place all chopped fruit in a large bowl.

  • Crush the dried chilies and salt together in a grinder or in a mortar until it turns into a fine powder.

  • Remove any seeds from the tamarind and soak the pulp in 2 tablespoons warm water for 5 minutes.

  • Combine the tamarind pulp with 1 tablespoon of chili powder. Add more water and grind together.

  • It should form a sauce of slow dripping consistency. Toss this dressing over the bowl of fruit salad.

  • Mix till well combined and leave to stand at room temperature for at least one hour before serving.

  • Top with extra tamarind and serve in plastic cups along with extra salt and chili powder. Serves 4.

Mauritian Fruit Salad

Instead of the clichéd chocolate desserts, get creative this year for Valentine’s day and think out of the box. Impress the man of your life with more than gifts and flowers by cooking for him instead of booking a table for two in some damn expensive restaurant. If you dnt feel like messing your kitchen for dinner, keep the surprise for the following morning with these absolutely divine cinnamon rolls bursting with colour and flavour.

Stuffed with fresh juicy strawberries and smothered in cream cheese icing, these yeasted sweet buns, from Tatyana’s Everyday Food, can be assembled on the eve, defrosted and baked in the morning as you lay the table for breakfast and he gets ready for work. I think it should work just as well for guys who want to win over their lady love with their kitchen skills on V-day.

STRAWBERRY CINNAMON ROLLS

Ingredients:

For the Yeast Dough

1 cup warm milk

2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon kitchen salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Strawberry Filling

1 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup butter, softened

3 cups chopped strawberries

3 to 4 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup heavy cream

For the Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. cream cheese

1/4 cup cold heavy cream

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of kitchen salt

Method:

  • For dough, combine the warm milk and sugar in a large bowl, then sprinkle the dry yeast over the top.

  • Allow the yeast to proof for about 5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Add the melted butter and eggs.

  • Add the salt and whisk it again. Begin adding the flour, whisking at first, then switch over to a spatula.

  • Once dough comes together, turn out onto a well floured surface. Knead for few minutes until smooth.

  • Set the dough in a warm corner of your kitchen area to proof until it is doubled in size for about 1 hour.

  • After proofing, turn it out on a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a large rectangle.

  • It should be about 13 x 20-inches. Spread softened butter over it, making sure to spread to every edge.

  • In small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle the mixture over the butter.

  • Make sure to spread to every edge. Top with strawberries and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of flour.

  • Starting at one edge, gently roll the dough into a Swiss-roll like log, ending with the seam facing down.

  • Using a sharp knife, divide the log into 12 equal pieces. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick spray.

  • Transfer the rolls into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a towel and allow the rolls to proof again.

  • Proof the rolls for about 30 to 45 minutes till they double in size. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.

  • Bake proofed rolls in preheated oven for 10 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, remove rolls from oven.

  • Pour over heavy cream. Return the rolls to the oven and continue baking for about 20 to 25 minutes.

  • Remove from oven when rolls are golden brown. Transfer them to a rack so that they cool completely.

  • Meanwhile, prepare icing. Whisk together cream cheese, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth.

  • For thinner icing, add more heavy cream. Spread icing over hot cinnamon rolls. Makes 12 large rolls.

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

After endless days of scorching heat and limited water resources in many unfortunate areas over the island, we have finally been blessed with heavy showers this weekend. Cyclone Carlos, a severe tropical storm looms in the distance as we reap the benefits of its dense clouds and drop in temperature since a cyclone warning class 1 has been forecast today morning. Though the rainy weather confines us indoors, limiting our range of activities, many welcome the change to pursue their more domestic hobbies like reading, knitting or baking. While I need no excuse to bake, the cyclone did prompt me to put on my old kitchen mitts and apron to try this lovely Orange & Cranberry Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction. With its tender fruity crumb and buttery streusel topping, I feel it would surely be a crowd pleaser at teatime especially with a cup of freshly brewed local vanilla tea on any day, rainy or not.

ORANGE GLAZED CRANBERRY BREAD

Ingredients:

For the Streusel

1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (30g) granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter

For the Cranberry Bread

2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 cup (110g) fresh cranberries

1/2 cup (65g) chopped pecans

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 cup (105g) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

1 cup (240ml) buttermilk

1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest

For the Orange Glaze

1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar

1-2 tablespoons orange juice

As much orange zest as you want

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray or line base and sides with parchment paper.
  • Make the streusel by tossing flour, sugar and cinnamon together. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or a fork.

  • Some large crumbs are ok. To make the bread, toss flour, baking soda, salt, chopped cranberries, and pecans together.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk egg, brown and granulated sugars together until combined. Make sure there are no lumps.

  • Whisk in buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  • Gently whisk until there are no more lumps. Try very hard not to over mix, which will result in a tough textured bread.

  • Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Top evenly streusel, pressing down gently into the top of the bread so it sticks.
  • Bake the bread for 45 minutes to 1 hour, covering loosely with foil about halfway through to ensure even browning.

  • Poke the center of the bread with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. Allow bread to cool completely.
  • Make the glaze by whisking the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice together in a small bowl. Add the orange zest.

  • Drizzle over the bread and cut to serve. Unglazed bread stays fresh covered tightly at room temperature for 5 days.
  • It can also be stored in the refrigerator for 6-7 days. Glazed bread must be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Orange & Cranberry in a Bread

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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