by Manishta Sunnia
I was born and raised on an island in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius is relatively well-known and an ex-British colony. The country was not populated until western traders and sailors visited it and migrant cultures began to settle in due to slavery, indentured labourers and trade. The country has an interesting history and a diversity of cultures and religions. Mauritius was also the only home of the famous and extinct bird Dodo.
Food and culture on the island are heavily influenced by both immigrant cultural traditions and western ones. Food cultural influences range strongly from India, Africa and Arab countries. There is also a strong Chinese presence. The base of many dishes made in Mauritius constitutes of onions, garlic and tomatoes. This dish, however, does not carry that norm.
When I usually offer to make a ‘banana curry’ to many British comrades, I am often treated to puzzled and apprehensive looks. On the island, we often use green bananas as you would treat potatoes in the UK. (Other staple foods are cassava and sweet potato.) In Mauritius, the food culture does not revolve around mashed or roasted potatoes, so that green bananas would not be treated in that format. However, banana chips and crisps are absolutely delicious!
The Mauritian banana curry is a dry and savoury dish.
This is recipe constitutes of cheap ingredients. However, you may find the process slightly complicated.
- Grated green bananas
- Curry leaves
- Diced onions
- Finely chopped or grated garlic
- Mustard seeds
The green bananas need to be peeled and grated. To peel the banana, I strongly recommend the use of gloves. Get rid of the top and bottom end, slide the knife through and remove the tough thick green skin to throw away. Place the bananas in water until needed for grating.
- Grate the bananas
- Sautee the diced onions and garlic for 2 mins, then add mustard seeds and curry leaves (2-3 leaves according to taste and amount of curry).
- Leave to sautee until the mustard seeds stopped to pop then add in turmeric then the grated bananas
- Season with salt (pepper – optional)
- Cook for 15 mins and until the bananas are soft and top with fresh coriander leaves
- Serve warm with chappati, parata or rice. And enjoy.