This post comes straight from the heart which has had a love affair with the beautiful island that is Mauritius for the last two and a half years. I’ve now spent roughly two weeks here and I’ve come to the point where I can see myself living here. Waking up early, just after sunrise, eating a piece of local fruit and practising yoga in the light. Followed by a swim in the sea and then utilising all the inspiration and focus the sun and beauty here seems to awaken in me to create new recipes and articles to share with you all. Then having a delicious homemade Mauritian curry for dinner across the table from my best friend and person who occupies the biggest part of my heart as I soak in the bounties of a day on the island.
This is of course not the most realistic of scenarios and I know it would feel completely different if I was actually living here as all the day to day commitments and stresses occur. But I love allowing myself to day dream and pretend whilst I’m here, it makes me happy and rejuvenates me. And where I’m going with all this is that some things I can take with me as I return to my roots, and settle into a daily routine again, is the delicious food I’ve discovered.
I love bringing back curry powders and other unique spice blends when I visit Mauritius and I intend to do so this time as well so I can make this recipe over and over and it will still taste like Mauritius. The excitement I had recreating and adapting my favourite food here on the island has been heart warming and I hope this will rub off on you. And as you can see below I’ve made my first cooking video. It is useful in this recipe especially because the dholl puri, a Mauritian type of flat bread, is a little tricky to wrap your head around I think without visuals. I hope you’ll take a look at the video and at my youtube channel. And please let me know what you think, and if you have any requests of what you’d like to see on my new youtube channel – simply let me know in the comments!
The dholl puri is a kind of Indian-Mauritian bread which traditionally is made with wheat flour and you can find it at market stalls sold as a wrap with bean curry and Mauritian chilli paste. As I’m intolerant to gluten, rather than allergic, I can allow myself to have a little once in a while without any major complications in the diestion department. However cooking at home I make it a habit to only use tingredients I know will not affect my diestion negatively.
Therefore I’ve changed the original recipe that lovely Roti who you can see in the video kindly taught me. I use an all-purpose gluten free flour in this recipe, a little different from my day to day flours like buckwheat and brown rice but needed to create a similar taste and texture. The bread is a little more dense than the wheat one which is suspected using gluten free flours but still delicious to scoop up the butter bean curry with.
The curry is traditionally Indian-Mauritian and Roti helped me get the flavours just right. Although eating out her in Mauritius the curries are rarely hot and spicy and usually served with a chilli paste on the side. I decided to make a more hot and spicy version using a medium hot masala curry powder recommended to me by Roti. The french influence on the island I think shine through in the use of thyme in the curry and I like this addition, it makes it a little different from other curries I’ve had the pleasure of trying.
Finally, I have not added any additional vegetables to the mix but this recipe will allow for a variety of vegetables in my opinion. Carrots, bell pepper, peas, green beans, cauliflower, the list can go on. Get creative with what’s on offer this season where you are located and enjoy the heat!
MAURITIAN BUTTER BEAN CURRY W. DHOLL PURI
PORTIONS: 4-5 portions / TIME: 90 min
1/2 cup yellow split peas + 1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp turmeric
3 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I like Bob’s Mill)
Roughly 1 cup warm water (use water drained from split peas first)
4 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup cooking oil (i.e. good quality rapeseed oil)
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
Pinch of salt
2 butter bean cans or equivalent dried and cooked (if cooking your own save the water and use instead of water in the curry)
2 brown onions, sliced
1-2 chilli peppers, halved
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves
2-3 tbsp curry powder (consider droping the frsh chilli if powder has chilli)
1-2 tbsp arrow root powder
Bring yellow split peas and water to a boil with a teaspoon of turmeric. Let simmer on a medium heat for roughly 20-25 min or until you can crush a split pea with gentle pressure between your fingers. Drain, keeping the water for the flat bread dough and leave to cool. Once cool use a hand blender or food processor to process cooked split peas into a dry paste which will crumble when mixed (see video). Leave to one side.
Place the flour into a bowl and mix with a generous pinch of salt. Then start adding the warm split pea water/water little by little working it into the flour. After adding about half a cup of water add the coconut oil and brown rice syrup and work into the dough. Keep adding water until it forms a semi-soft dough (see video).
It’s best to roll the bread out straight away followed by frying in a steady flow, therefore it’s great to be two people for the next steps- one rolling and one frying. For the rolling it’s great to keep some oil and flour at hand and use as you see fit to keep the dough pliable / not too sticky.
Roll some dough into a ball, it will make roughly 15 equal sized balls in total. Make a round out of the ball, roughly a cm thick. Cup your hand and place the dough round into it making the round into a little bowl. Place roughly 1/2-1 tsp of the split pea paste grinds into it, and then close the bowl gently capsulating the split pea mixture inside.
Place a little flour on a flat surface and place the ball on the surface. Dab with a little flour and roll out gently with a rolling pin, flipping the bread a couple of times in the process. Use some cling film to help with rolling if you find that your bread sticks or breaks. The bread should be roughly 10 cm in diameter and rather thin when ready for frying. (Remember that using gluten free flours is tricky and you need to take extra care keeping the dough moist throughout the process.)
Heat a frying pan to a medium low heat and a dd a little oil using a baking brush or a little kitchen paper. Place the bread into the pan and brush/dab a little oil onto the side facing up before flipping it over and repeating the brushing/dabbing. Flip as you see fit until little brown spots appear on the surface of the bread. Keep rolling out and frying, keeping the cooked breads closed into a little kitchen foil to preserve the heat and keep moist.
Repeat with the rest of the balls (see video for visual).
Making the curry can be started whilst the split peas are cooking or it can be left until the bread is done if that is easier. Start by browning the sliced onion and halved chilli peppers in a little cooking oil and a pinch of salt on medium heat, roughly 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato, giner and garlic as well as a splash of water and let simmer away until tomatoes are soft and look mixed into the rest of the ingredients.
Then add canned/cooked beans, curry powder, fresh herbs (or dried) and water to cover by roughly and inch. Let simmer on a medium heat for about 15 min, stir as needed.
Add fresh herbs and check whether youd like your curry a little thicker. If so mix arrow root powder with a little water before adding the mixture to the pot. Mix it in and let simmer again for roughly 5-10 min. You can also give it a taste and see if you require more salt, heat or herbs and add as you see fit.
Serve with some fresh chopped coriander and some plant yoghurt if you want to stifle the heat.