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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

While you can make use of your good, old coffee machine to brew fresh granules for this sensational summer drink, I tried to adapt it for those who do not have or cannot be bothered with filtered coffee. For those purists who swear by the genuine stuff, go straight to the unaltered recipe on Epicurious.com. Those who are not so squeamish over instant coffee, grab your jar of regular Nescafe and start by making the coffee jelly which is the magic ingredient in this drink. I would suggest that you go for a stronger dose than you are used to as the freezing process will, to some extent, numb the intensity of the coffee flavour that comes through. Chill for a couple of hours, then stretch yourself under a beach umbrella and sip lazily through a bubble straw [ideally with a view on the beach] on a scorching summer day.

FROZEN ICED COFFEE + COFFEE JELLY

Ingredients:

For the Coffee Jelly

1 tablespoon agar agar

4 teaspoons instant coffee

2 tablespoons caster sugar

2 cups cold water

For the Whipped Cream

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frozen Iced Coffee

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 1/2 cups cold whole milk

1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Dissolve agar agar in 3 tablespoons cool water in a small bowl. Let stand till bloomed, about 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile combine cold coffee and sugar in a large container. Gently stir agar agar mixture into coffee.

  • Do not stir too vigorously else air bubbles will appear. Chill the mixture until it is firm for about 2 hours.
  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or whisk, whip cream in a large bowl till soft peaks form.

  • Add sugar and vanilla and whip to medium peaks. Chill whipped cream while preparing the iced coffee.
  • For the iced coffee, blend coffee, cocoa, milk, syrup, vanilla, and 3 cups ice into a blender until smooth.

  • To assemble, cut coffee jelly into 3/4″ cubes and fill serving glasses with 1/2 cup cubed coffee jelly each.
  • Spoon 3 tablespoons of whipped cream over each and spread it around to create a solid layer of cream.

  • Divide frozen iced coffee (about 1 cup each) among glasses and carefully pour on top of the cream layer.
  • Top glasses with more whipped cream and serve immediately with bubble tea straws. Makes 4 servings.

Frozen Iced Coffee

There is no easy way to say what we’re about to say but we sadly have to tell you that the Dec 2016 challenge will be the last daring kitchen challenge. Through the past two years we have tried everything we could think of to breathe life back into the daring kitchen but sadly the interaction and the number of members who actually take part in each challenge have been on a steady decline. We no longer see the point in asking hosts to put all that time and effort into making, photographing and writing challenges only to have a handful of people take part in them. It is really no one’s fault but unfortunately it seems that the time for the daring kitchen has come to an end.

It has been a true pleasure to be part of the daring kitchen for all those years and an honor to run it in the past two. We just have one last favor to ask of you, we need your in help moving the archive. We are planning to move all the daring kitchen archives to a wordpress blog – for each recipe, the text needs to be copied, the images and pdfs saved, then everything rebuilt on wordpress. It will be a huge job, but worth the effort – we can then share the url and password with anyone who wants to pitch in, then publish once it is ready and rolling.

If you would like to help, leave a comment here or send an email to Rachael (rachael@pizzarossa.me) or to Sawsan (thechefindisguise@gmail.com). Finally, we would like to thank each and every one of you. The daring kitchen has been an amazing community through all these years. We have learnt so much from each other and there aren’t enough words to express our gratitude for the kindness and support that you all showed us through these past two years.

This final Daring Kitchen Challenge is hosted by Francijn Brouwer, from Netherlands who blogs on “Koken in de Brouwerij” and has previously hosted challenges including “Stuffed Speculaas” and “Baumkuchen”. This month she challenges everyone to bake oliebollen, commonly called Dutch Donuts. Nearly every Dutch person eats oliebollen on New Year’s eve. Everywhere in The Netherlands you will find mobile oliebollen bakeries during the winter months.

The historical roots of oliebollen can be traced back to the Batavians and Frisians around the start of this era. At that time they were not round but flat, cooked in a small amount of oil and were called oliekoeken. In the middle ages a tradition was born of giving the poor people oliekoeken when they came to wish you a happy new year. Only in the wealthy 17th century people started to use more oil, and make these round oliebollen. Olie (pronounced: ow-ly) means oil and Koeken (singular: koek, pronounced: cook, cooken) is something like big cookies.

The cheapest oliebollen are just plain without filling and the worst are cooked in too cold or old oil, and are soggy. As I usually steer clear of fried stuff, I might have skipped this challenge, had it not been our very last chance of baking together with my fellow Daring bakers. I deliberately scooped my oliebollen smaller than the regular ice cream scoop size to create mini versions which I served warm with mango & pineapple jam on the sides.

OLIEBOLLEN

Ingredients:

300g / 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

200g / 1 1/2 cup plus 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour

10g / 3 teaspoons instant yeast

10g / 1 1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

25g / 2 tablespoons caster sugar (light brown)

3g / 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

150ml / 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown beer

175ml / 3/4 cup water (room temperature)

175ml / 3/4 cup milk (room temperature)

50g / 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

1 small egg, room temperature (beaten)

200g (7 oz., or 1 1/3 cups) raisins (without clumps)

1 small apple or half a big apple (firm variety)

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl mix flours and yeast with a whisk. Add salt, sugar and cinnamon, and mix again.
  • Add beer, water and milk, melted butter, and egg. Attach the paddle to your mixer (or the dough hook).

  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly until the dough becomes elastic, a few minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime cut the apple in small cubes. Add raisins and apple to dough, mix well with a spatula.

  • Put a wet towel over the bowl, and let the dough rise for about an hour until it is nearly doubled in size.
  • Put the oil in your deep fryer. Heat it to 180°C / 355°F. Have a timer handy to keep track of frying time.

  • To get ready for cooking: place baking tray on the counter and cover it with two layers of paper towels.
  • Have something ready to place scoops/spoons on so as to not cover your working counter with grease.

  • Once dough has doubled in size and the oil is hot, dip your ice scoop in the oil to avoid it from sticking.
  • Fill with dough, leveling against the side of the bowl. Take care to include reasonable amount of filling.

  • Release the dough ball carefully into the hot oil, by sticking the scoop into the oil and pulling the lever.
  • Start timer and observe the oliebol. It will start floating around, and after some time, should turn over.

  • If the oliebol does not turn over, help it by flipping it when the frying time is halfway over, using a fork.
  • After five minutes of frying, take it out of the oil and put it on the tray with paper towel. Wait a minute.

  • Cut it through the middle with a sharp knife and check the centre of oliebollen for a bread-like texture.
  • If you are satisfied with the doneness of the texture, start again, but now with a few oliebollen at once.

  • Keep frying till no dough is left, and make sure the oliebollen are all same size for even cooking times.
  • Oliebollen are best when eaten when they are still hot and crunchy and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

  • Makes 25 oliebollen (each around 6cm / 2.5″ in diameter). Do not store oliebollen in the refrigerator.
  • Oliebollen freeze very well. Just put them in an airtight container and you can enjoy them for months.

Daring Bakers December 2016 Challenge

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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