Spices of the Indian Ocean: Cinnamon

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Forget warming winter treats, in Indian Ocean cuisine cinnamon is used to add a rich depth of spice and flavour to soups, curries and spice-rubs.

Pineapple and watermelon sandwich with cinnamon french toast

The warm, spicy fragrance of cinnamon infuses the cuisine of the Indian Ocean and is used in both savoury and sweet dishes across the region.

Grown originally in Sri Lanka, cinnamon is one of the oldest spices in the world with evidence of its use stretching as far back as Ancient Egypt.

Versatile spice

By the 18th century it was so popular amongst Europeans that cultivation of the Cinnamomum tree was introduced to other Indian Ocean islands including Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius.

In Mauritius, the cinnamon bark is used to add an aromatic depth to dishes including fish curry cari poisson, while in the Seychelles cinnamon leaves are often used in traditional chicken curries. In Madagascar cinnamon is often paired with the nation’s famous vanilla to create delicious puddings and sweet treats.

Recipes to try at home

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