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The mauritian Carri Poule recipe

English is the language for official communications in Mauritius, however the language people use on the streets is the Mauritian Creole, which based on french; for this reason this very popular meal in Mauritius sounds a bit like french. This chicken curry is one of their traditional meals...

Ingredients (for four people):

* 1 lb. chicken breast into large pieces
* 5 small potatoes, about the size of a kiwi
* 2 ripe red tomatoes
* 1 green or red pepper
* 1 onion
* 2 cloves garlic
* 1 inch fresh ginger
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 3 cloves
* 2 cardamom pods or about 24 seeds
* 3 and 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
* 3 tablespoons oil
* 10 curry leaves (this is optional, if you can find them)
* 6 sprigs fresh cilantro
* Salt, pepper


1) Peel the potatoes, cut them in four quarters and keep them in a pot filled with water. Cut the tomatoes in cubes or coarsely blend in a food mixer. Remove seeds and veins from the pepper. Coarsely chop the onion. Finely chop and mix together the garlic and ginger. Heat over medium heat oil in large skillet. Fry the onion for 1 min.

2) Put in the garlic and ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom seeds. Fry the spices for 2 minutes until the spices begin to release their fragrance (beware of overheating because if your heat setting is too high the spices will burn, so it is advisable to fry the spices over very low heat).

3) Mix in a bowl the tomatoes and curry powder (and chopped curry leaves if using them). Pour all this in the pan, stir and cook about 3 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to disintegrate. Then pour 1 cup and half hot water over the mixture. Add the pepper, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Boil about one minute then reduce the heat.

4) After this time, put the potatoes in, cover and cook 10 minutes over low heat setting. Once the 10 minutes has passed, lay the chicken pieces in this sauce. Mix and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and cook over low heat for another 15 mins. Do not forget to check from time to time and if necessary, add more water. The sauce should be creamy, not liquid. Using a sharp knife, check whether the potatoes are cooked.

5) Mash one potato in a bit of sauce with a fork or a wooden spoon and mix it in to bind the curry sauce; your mauritian Carri Poule is ready!

When serving take out the cinnamon stick, and possibly cloves and cardamoms and pour your carri poulet in a large serving dish, with chopped coriander sprinkled on top. NB: You can cook the chicken in a little oil before putting it in the sauce. But cooking chicken in the carri as I present here will keep it more tender.