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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

These must be the best madeleines I must have baked till date with a perfect light and airy texture and a gorgeous nutty hint of browned butter I had almost forgotten. The acquisition of a new madeleine pan for Christmas was purely accidental; I could not resist buying one after setting eyes on the matte black tray in Super U. To test my brand new bake ware, there was no more persuasive recipe than these Christmas-inspired cakes, flavored with gingerbread spices, from the Kitchy Kitchen. My first batch got hopelessly stuck to the ungreased pan though it ended up as a delicious crumb topping over vanilla flecked ice cream and crème Chantilly as my impromptu Christmas lunch dessert. The second try yielded far better results after I went a bit more cautious and coated the pan with a liberal amount of baking spray but I decided against dipping them in the molasses glaze, favoring a dusting of icing sugar for the final look.

GINGERBREAD MADELEINES

Ingredients:

9 tablespoons browned butter

2 large eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1 large pinch kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoons ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Molasses Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

3 tablespoons whole milk

Method:

  • Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess.

  • Place in the fridge. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or with an electric hand mixer), whip the eggs.

  • Add sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat well for 5 minutes until the mixture turns pale and thickened.

  • Whisk together the flour, spices, and baking powder and carefully fold in flour with rubber spatula.

  • Drizzle browned butter into the batter, little at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate.

  • Fold until all the butter is incorporated. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Meanwhile make the glaze by mixing all ingredients until smooth.

  • Plop enough batter in the center of each mold to fill it by three quarter full but do not spread batter.

  • Bake for 9 to 10 minutes until cakes just feel set, they should bounce back when pressed with finger.

  • Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. Cool it to room temperature.

  • When they are cool enough to handle, dip each into glaze, turning over so that both sides are coated.

  • Scrape off any excess and rest them on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the glaze firms up.

If you have a liking for sweet spices, I have a feeling you might get seriously hitched to this lightly spiced milkshake from Delicious, which blends cinnamon and ginger into a refreshing ice-cold beverage they have rightly named as ‘gingerbread milkshake’. My biscuit crumbs unfortunately did not hold up well against the glass rims as I was far too impatient to wait for the decorative edge to set in the fridge before I could fill them up with thick, creamy shake full of festive flavors. As we hit the full blast of summer heat this December, this would be my drink of choice to slurp over on a lazy afternoon as I wrap gifts and hampers for others to discover under the Christmas tree.

GINGERBREAD MILKSHAKE

10 ginger thin biscuits

1/4 cup (90g) honey

4 scoops vanilla ice cream

1L (4 cups) whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons golden syrup

Cinnamon quills, to serve

Method:

  • Whiz the ginger biscuits to fine crumbs in food processor, then transfer the crumbs to a plate.
  • Place the honey on a separate plate. Dip the rim of 4 serving glasses in honey, then in crumbs.

  • Chill to firm up. Place remaining ingredients, except cinnamon quills, in a blender and blend.
  • Blend till smooth and pour into glasses. Decorate with cinnamon quills and serve immediately.

Gingerbread Milkshake

Christmas to me is the ultimate baking season and there is nothing that says it better than homemade cookies. As I set about discovering and experimenting with new cookie recipes for this year’s festivities, I came across this dainty little holiday treat, which is very popular in Nordic countries like Denmark and Germany. Pfeffernüsse, richly infused with the aroma of freshly ground spices, is not as complicated as it sounds though it may take a few trips to the spice aisle of your local supermarket to get all the spices that go in its making.

The recipe, from Daring Gourmet, also guides you through the making of Lebkuchengewürz, the German gingerbread spice mixture that definitely beats any of those store-bought bottled stuff you might think of using. The complexity of flavors in this particular mix gives Pfeffernüsse its deep characteristic quality which improves considerably as they sit around in the cookie jar waiting to be eaten or packed as edible gifts with lots of cellophane and fancy ribbon. The sugar glaze gives a lovely sophisticated bakery-style finish but feel free to omit if you are keeping close count on your calorie intake this December.

PFEFFERNUSSE

Ingredients:

For the Lebkuchengewürz/ Gingerbread Spice

2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground star anise

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Pfeffernüsse Cookie Dough

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

2 teaspoons homemade Lebkuchengewürz

1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper

1/4 cup ground almonds/almond meal

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup pure honey

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 large egg, room temperature

For the Sugar Glaze

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

4 tablespoons hot water

Method:

  • To make Lebkuchengewuerz, combine the spices together and store in an airtight jar in a cool, dark place.
  • This mixture will keep for up to one year but using the freshly ground blend within a few days is optimal.

  • For superior flavor result, make the Lebkuchengewuerz mixture by grinding the spices from whole spices.
  • In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground white pepper and almond meal.

  • Add 2 teaspoons homemade Lebkuchengewuerz to the mixture, mix till it is homogenous and set it aside.
  • Combine the brown sugar, honey, butter, and cream in a medium saucepan and heat, stirring frequently.

  • Stir until melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Stir in flour mixture.
  • Once incorporated stir in the egg until thoroughly combined. The dough should have a nice glossy sheen.

  • It will be very sticky. Turn mixture out onto plastic wrap; wrap dough tightly and refrigerate it overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from the plastic wrap and immediately roll into two strands.

  • Each strand should be about ¾ inch thick. Slice into ¾ inch thick rounds and roll each round into a ball.
  • Each ball should be about ¾ inch large. Work quickly while dough is chilled and place on a cookie sheet.

  • Bake cookies for 15 minutes or till golden brown. Remove and let cookies cool completely on a wire rack.
  • To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and water till it is smooth. Dip each cookie in the glaze.

  • Let them sit until the sugar glaze is fully hardened. Store the cookies in airtight container in a cool place.
  • Cookies will keep for at least 2 weeks and the flavor only gets better over time. Makes about 50 cookies.

Pfeffernüsse – German Iced Gingerbread Cookies

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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Daring Bakers

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