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Ultimate Cari Gros Pois Masala

Updated: May 22, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Cari Gros Pois Masala: A Must-Try Dish in Mauritian Cuisine


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Cari Gros Pois Masala, an iconic and irresistible dish in Mauritian cuisine. In this article, we will delve into the rich flavors, cultural significance, and traditional preparation methods of this beloved Mauritian delicacy. Whether you're a culinary enthusiast or simply curious about diverse cuisines, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know about Cari Gros Pois Masala.

History and Cultural Significance

Cari Gros Pois Masala holds a special place in the hearts and palates of Mauritians. This dish is deeply rooted in the country's history, reflecting the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Mauritian cuisine over the centuries. The origins of Cari Gros Pois Masala can be traced back to the Indian subcontinent, specifically the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It was brought to Mauritius by indentured labourers during the colonial era, and since then, it has become an integral part of the local culinary tapestry.

Ingredients and Preparation

To prepare an authentic Cari Gros Pois Masala, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 500 grams of dried pigeon peas (gros pois)

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 3 tomatoes, diced

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated

  • 2 green chilies, sliced

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder

  • Salt to taste

  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Step-By-Step Cooking Instructions

  1. Start by soaking the dried pigeon peas (gros pois) overnight in water. Drain and rinse them before cooking.

  2. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until they turn golden brown.

  3. Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and sliced green chilies to the pot. Sauté for a minute or until the aromas are released.

  4. Incorporate the diced tomatoes and cook until they soften and release their juices.

  5. Now it's time to add the ground spices: turmeric, coriander, cumin, and chili powder. Stir well to coat the ingredients evenly.

  6. Add the soaked pigeon peas to the pot and mix them with the spice-infused tomato mixture.

  7. Pour enough water to cover the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 1-2 hours or until the pigeon peas are tender.

  8. Throughout the cooking process, check the water level and add more if needed. The consistency of the curry should be thick and rich.

  9. Season with salt according to your taste preference.

  10. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves before serving.

Serving Suggestions and Accompaniments

Cari Gros Pois Masala is traditionally served with aromatic basmati rice, roti (Indian flatbread), or white rice. For a complete Mauritian experience, you can also pair it with pickles, chutneys, and a refreshing salad of cucumber and tomato slices. The combination of flavors and textures creates a harmonious balance that will satisfy your taste buds.

Health Benefits

Besides its delicious taste, Cari Gros Pois Masala offers several health benefits. Pigeon peas are a good source of dietary fiber, plant-based protein, and essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and iron. Additionally, the spices used in the dish, such as turmeric, ginger, and garlic, have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making Cari Gros Pois Masala a flavorful and nutritious choice.

Variations and Regional Influences

As with many traditional dishes, Cari Gros Pois Masala has evolved over time, adapting to regional tastes and ingredient availability. In some variations, cooks may include additional vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or green beans to enhance the texture and flavors. Each region within Mauritius may also have its own unique spin on this classic dish, influenced by the local culinary traditions and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I use canned pigeon peas instead of dried ones? A: Yes, you can use canned pigeon peas as a convenient alternative. However, keep in mind that the texture and taste may differ slightly from the traditional recipe.

Q2: Is Cari Gros Pois Masala a spicy dish? A: The level of spiciness can be adjusted according to personal preference. The recipe provided here includes green chilies and chili powder, but you can reduce or omit these ingredients if you prefer a milder version.

Q3: Can I freeze leftover Cari Gros Pois Masala? A: Absolutely! This dish freezes well and can be stored in airtight containers for up to three months. When reheating, add a splash of water to maintain the consistency.

Cari Gros Pois Masala is more than just a dish; it's a reflection of the cultural heritage and culinary diversity found in Mauritius. By following our step-by-step guide, you can recreate this beloved Mauritian delicacy in your own kitchen. The combination of aromatic spices, tender pigeon peas, and rich flavors will transport you to the vibrant streets of Mauritius. Explore the world of Mauritian cuisine and savour the delightful flavours of Cari Gros Pois Masala.

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