I recently made a trip to Mauritius and revisited Le St Géran, who is celebrating its 40th Birthday. I can’t believe how time flies. I was there 30 years ago. I have to say I could not get over the fact that South African Airways has been flying there for 50 years – gosh, I’m really starting to feel old.
I’m not surprised that they are still flying there. Mauritius is a quick four hour flight from Johannesburg and remains a favourite holiday destination for South Africans young and old alike. We chose to stay at The One & Only St Géran, because we have been there before and you go where you feel happiest.
It’s not just about the sun and sea and glass bottomed boats and snorkelling; it’s also about good service, fabulous food and wonderful staff.
Speaking of food, Mauritian food is a delicious combination of native African, French, Chinese and Indian.
And all of these delicious cuisines either stand alone, or come together in a wonderful, mouth-watering fusion of flavours. We had a lot of that at Le St Géran. (In fact, maybe a little too much for this greedy girl – I’m sure I’m at least ten kilograms heavier.)
I had the pleasure of a personal escort to the fresh food market in Port Louis. What luck to be in the capable hands of local Mauritian born chef Vikash Coonjan, who is the executive chef at Prime, the restaurant at St Géran. He introduced me to the little suppliers he supports for his fresh produce. We ate delicious street food and stopped at little stalls selling the most delicious dim sum filled with a local staple and one of my all-time favourite vegetables, the shoo-shoo, served in a light and tasty broth. I could not have asked for more. The light and crispy Puri was filled with fat, buttery, unbelievably delicious beans and dal – I want that recipe. Then wonderful, chewy, glutinous deep fried sesame encrusted sweet Chinese balls – oh, I want more of that too. I could go on forever about the food.
Vikash and I really hit it off. We share the same passions and food philosophies. I’m really excited to be cooking a Mauritian dinner with him and Reuben Riffel on June 10 at the One&Only Hotel at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
If it doesn’t have chilli and lots of it I’m told by the local Mauritian folk it’s not Mauritian, so here goes – hot and tasty!
Potato, Pea and Paneer Curry
- 4 tbls olive oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 1tbls chopped fresh ginger
- 4 cloves crushed garlic
- 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 500g potatoes peeled and cubed
- 500g tomatoes, grated
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 3 green chillies chopped
- 309g Paneer
- 200g frozen peas
- 3 tbls chopped coriander
Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onions till they are translucent. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant. Add the spices and cook till fragrant, adding a little water if the spices look like they might stick.
Add the potatoes and tomatoes, stock and chillies, season with salt and pepper and simmer till the potatoes soften. Stir in the paneer, peas and fresh coriander.
Serve with steamed rice.
© Jenny Morris 2015