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Shelina Permalloo won Masterchef in 2012 and her cookbook ‘Sunshine on a Plate’ is just that. Her recipes are so fragrant, fresh and the taste of them really does transport you to a warmer place, let’s call it Mauritius. It is a purely Mauritian cookbook, and I was given it as a present from my mum this Christmas just gone.

As some of you know, my partner in crime is half-Mauritian, and we had the trip of a lifetime last year when he got the chance to see his family on his mother’s side, most of whom he hadn’t seen in 10 years, and for me, I got to experience it for the first time. It is a jewel of an island, I could sit here for a week telling you how precious this island is, but instead for now, I will just say that one of the most prominent memories I took away from our 3 weeks there, was the food. From Loums’ grandmother’s cooking to meals out, to food on the go, to ananas au piment on the beach, the combination of flavours were like none other that I’d tried before and I’d really missed them, thank goodness for Shelina!

I’ve changed a couple of ingredients comme d’habitude, I added a bit more water than was in her recipe as the sauce did start to look a bit thirsty when I added in the potatoes, but the recipe is hers and it is a wonderfully original cookbook.

Ingredients:

– 2tbsp organic coconut oil
– 500 lamb shoulder, organic, trimmed and cut into chunks
– 1/4 saffron powder or a pinch of saffron strands
– 3 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
– 3tbsp freshly chopped coriander
– 3tbsp freshly chopped mint
– Freshly ground black pepper
– Organic sea salt
– 800ml hot water

For the marinade:
– 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 2 shallots, finely chopped
– 3tsp ground cumin
– 3tsp garam masala
– 3 green birdseye chillies, finely chopped
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1tsp ground turmeric
– 5 cardamom pods, crushed
– 170g organic greek yoghurt

Method:

– Combine all the ingredients for the marinade into a bowl. Add the lamb pieces and stir together, best to use your hands, to ensure that all the pieces are truly covered and the spices can sink into the lamb. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
– Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb and cook for 5-10 minutes until browned.
– Dissolve the saffron in 400ml of hot water before adding to the pan. Cook for 40 minutes.
– Stir in the potatoes and the rest of the water. If you’re going to serve this dish with brown rice, put this on now. Cook the potatoes for 25-30 minutes.
– Sprinkle over the coriander and mind, stir, season with the sea salt and pepper, and serve.

I can’t wait for you to try this, it’s well worth the marinating time!

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