A foodie journey into Indian Ocean Cuisine

The island nations of the Indian Ocean are united in a cuisine inspired by the rich scents and flavours of the spice route, the influences of their African neighbours and a variety of settlers from across the globe.

Indian Ocean cuisine

Indian Ocean cuisine

The food of Mauritius, Maldives, Madagascar and Seychelles are all infused with culinary traditions which stretch from India and Asia to Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Each of these nations has drawn these rich international influences into their own unique national cuisine to create a heaven of gastronomic discovery for the foodie traveller.

Take our tour of Indian Ocean cuisine.

Mauritius

With its rich culinary history, Mauritian cuisine is inspired by the array of fresh produce which grows on this lush, fertile island as well as the seafood caught in its clear, calm waters.

Settlers from India, Africa and China and its past as a French colony mean that you are likely to enjoy croissants alongside samosas for breakfast and dim sum or fish vindaye (a curry to rival the Indian vindaloo) for lunch.

The favourite flavours in Mauritian cuisine come from the gentle heat of chillies such as the cari chilli, turmeric, garlic, tamarind, ginger and vanilla (most of which are grown on the island). Chilli is so popular in Mauritius that it is even sprinkled on pineapple and sold as a popular street food.

Seychelles

The Creole cuisine of the Seychelles is a blend of African, French, Chinese and Indian influences warm with spices and rich with flavour.

Historically the colonial producer of spices for the British Empire the Seychelles has a tradition of food flavoured by chilli, garlic, ginger and cinnamon.

The Indian Ocean also plays a central role in Creole cuisine with seafood flavoured by Seychellois spices including lemongrass (citonel), chilli (pima) and onions (la ke onyon).

Another key ingredient are the luscious tropical fruits which grow on the islands including mango, pineapple, banana and passion fruit.

Seafood in the Seychelles

Seafood in the Seychelles

Maldives

Ninety-nine per cent of the Maldives is ocean so fishing is at the heart of this nation of small islands which explains why seafood plays such a major role in Maldivian cuisine.

Largely influenced by neighbours in India and Asia, the Maldivians have embraced many traditional Indian and Asian dishes such as curries and laksas and adapted them into uniquely Maldivian dishes.

Tuna plays an important role in Maldivian cuisine with tuna curry proving one of the nation’s favourite dishes. Fresh tuna soup (garudhiya) made with hot chillies and onion is another spicy favourite.

Madagascar

The food, like the wildlife, on Madagascar is vibrant and unique with influences largely from France, Africa and Asia.

Almost every meal in Madagascar is made up of rice (vary) and an accompanying dish (known as laoka) of fresh seafood, zebu (meat from a local cattle) or vegetables.

Madagascan cuisine is flavoured with local spices including cloves, vanilla, black pepper, ginger, nutmeg and curry powder with onion, garlic and tomato added to create rich, warm flavours.

Madagascans like their food hot and often add sakay (a pepper sauce) to what they’re eating to turn up the heat.

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Cookery holidays in Mauritius and the Maldives

Food has always been an integral part of a holiday, a chance to literally immerse yourself in the flavours of a new country.

Sample the Mauritian cuisnine on offer at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Sample the Mauritian cuisnine on offer at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Cookery holidays

Cookery holidays, on which you spend a few days in a Tuscan villa or French farmhouse slaving over a stove to master the intricacies of their cuisine have become increasingly popular.

But what if you actually want a bit of holiday in your holiday, or you want to know how to cook something a bit more exotic than a Quiche Lorraine?

For those who are interested in broadening their culinary horizon with the warm heat of exotic spices but still want time to lie on an idyllic beach, a cooking class in the restaurant of a 5* Indian Ocean hotel could offer the perfect solution.

Learn to cook in Mauritius or Maldives

At Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius and Constance Halaveli in the Maldives, our chefs offer the opportunity to learn directly from them.

In morning classes – available to book just a day ahead – you will discover the key ingredients and spices that make up the core of the region’s cuisine, and how to delicately combine them to create some of the sumptuous dishes you’ll enjoy in our restaurants.

Fine dining at The Deer Hunter

Fine dining at The Deer Hunter

Le Prince Maurice

Discover the secrets of Mauritian cuisine with the hotel’s Chef Pravin, Chef Ah Youne and Chef Boucher.

Some of the dishes you may learn to cook include:

  • Mauritian cuisine – Guests will learn to cook Creole style fish salad and vegetable samoussa
  • Pastry – Guests will learn to make coconut and pineapple macaroons with Chef Boucher
  • Asian cuisine – Guest will learn to prepare sushi and Chinese shrimps sumai

Belle Mare Plage

Learn about the traditions of Mauritian cuisine in the kitchens of the Deer Hunter restaurant or Blue Penny Café with classes run by Chef Frederic Goisset and Chef Patrick Travady.

Included in the two hour class will be a 15 minute session with the head sommelier who will explain how to pair the perfect wine with the food you are learning to prepare.

Some of the dishes you may learn to cook include:

  • Learn to cook steamed prawns with kaffir lime, pineapple with spicy salt, tapioca and coconut milk at The Deer Hunter
  • Spice Experience – Learn to cook chicken with garam masala and discover the secret of cooking with local spices
Exquisite asian cuisine on offer at Constance Halaveli

Exquisite asian cuisine on offer at Constance Halaveli

Halaveli

The food of the Maldives is an intoxicating blend of flavours from across Asia and Africa so it’s no surprise that the classes on offer cover cuisines from around the region – we’ve even got a French pastry chef to teach desserts.

Some of the dishes you may learn to cook include:

  • Maldivian tuna curry, steamed rice, chapatti and papadum or Mugh Makani (Indian chicken curry), Kashmiri palau and papadum taught by Sous Chef Hammed Siddiq
  • Indonesian chicken satay with peanut sauce, lontong and achar or red Thai beef curry and fragrant rice, taught by Chef Handhi Wijaya
  • Lemongrass infused crème or croustade vanilla poached pear taught by pastry chef Pascal Galette
  • Private one-to-one classes are available on request as are learning to prepare special ingredients such as lobster, caviar and Wagyu beef.

Find out more and book now

Rougail of sea bass with cèpe mushrooms and black lentils

This warming and nutritious fish rougail, served with rice and lentils, is perfect for a weekend meal when you can take your time preparing, and then enjoying. your food.

Beach dining at Constance Moofushi Resort

Relaxed beach dining

Serves 4
Preparation time:
1 hour
Cooking time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Soaking time for lentils: 30 minutes

For the rougail

  • 4 seabass steaks
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 400g small tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp thick tomato coulis
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs parslety
  • 5 curry leaves
  • 1 fresh green chilli
  • 5 sprigs fresh coriander, chopped
  • 300g fresh cèpe mushrooms
  • salt and pepper

For the fricassed black lentils

  • 100g black lentils
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 3 curry leaves
  • 3 tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

1. Soak the lentils for 30 minutes.
2. Prepare the rougail by cutting each fish steak into 4 pieces. Peel onion and garlic, chop them separately, as well as fresh coriander and curry leaves. Finely dice the tomatoes.
3. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides, then fry them in oil for 2 or 3 minutes on each side until golden. Set aside.
4. In the same pan, sauté onions, garlic and ginger for 3 minutes without colouring. Add tomatoes, let stew and reduce for 15 minutes on low heat. Add thyme, parsley, curry leaves, chilli and tomato coulis. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat.
5. Slice the cèpes, add salt and pepper, then pan-sear them on high heat for a few moments. Add fish and cèpes to the sauce and let it stew for 10 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water. Correct seasoning, then sprinkle with chopped coriander.
6. Prepare the black lentil fricassée: peel the onion and garlic, chop them separately. Finely dice tomatoes.
7. Fry onion in a little oil in a saucepan, then add chopped garlic and ginger. Stew for 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, let them stew and reduce for 10 minutes.
8. Add black lentils, thyme and curry leaves, 50cl water, salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, then correct seasoning.
9. Serve the rougail hot, with plain boiled white rice and the lentils on the side.