Slow life down to an island pace with slow-cooked Indian Ocean food where warm spices are given the time they need to infuse delicious dishes.
In the warm sunshine of the Indian Ocean everything tends to move at a more leisurely pace and that includes the cooking.
While in the UK slow cooking often means comforting stews and casseroles, in the Indian Ocean slow cooking has been used to create rich curries with a deep, intense flavour which comes from allowing the meat to cook in a variety of spices at a lower temperature over a longer time.
The health benefit of slow cooking
Many of us choose to slow cook because it saves time standing over a hot stove but there are also major health benefits to cooking food slowly.
Scientists have discovered that legumes and certain vegetables, such as tomatoes, spinach and sweetcorn, actually benefit from heating because it increases the bioavailability of their nutrients.
Equally meat cooked over a long period in liquid can reduce the number of AGEs (cell-damaging
compounds) produced in the meat by up to half.
Slow cooking meat on the bone also means that it absorbs vital nutrients and minerals, which would otherwise be lost.
Indian Ocean slow cooked favourites
Traditionally used as a way of softening tough local meat such as goat and, in Madagascar, zebu, in the Seychelles and Mauritius slow cooking is also used to soften the local delicacy, octopus.
Seychellois Octopus Curry
One of the signature dishes of Seychelles, and equally popular in Mauritius, this dish requires slow cooking the octopus to tenderise it before adding herbs and spices and cooking again.
For an authentic Octopus Curry check out La Belle Seychelloise for a recipe inspired by her mother.
Madagascan Royal Romazava
The national dish of Madagascar is a ritual of slow cooking to create a dish of slow cooked pork and beef. A favourite of our head chef at Constance Tsarabanjina he suggests the best Romazava should be slow cooked on a real fire with glowing embers.
(Although not quite as romantic a slow cooker would work just as well!)
Try out his recipe
Mauritian Curried Goat
This rich, spicy curry relies on slow cooking to create melt-in-your mouth goat’s meat. If you fancy trying to create this at home try Mauritian chef and JamieOliver.com contributor Selina Periampillai’s recipe on Made in Mauritius.