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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > July 2019 > Island kitchen

Island kitchen

Take a culinary tour around the isles of the Indian Ocean and be enchanted by dishes that bring spice and sunshine to your plate

Self-taught chef Selina Periampillai was inspired by her Mauritian heritage to host a supper club in her home, to share the recipes her mother brought with her when she came to London, and introduce people to the vibrant flavours of the Indian Ocean islands. She cooks from instinct, having learned about ‘flavour, tradition and pleasure’ from her family. ‘They’ve shown me how spices work together to create harmony; that rolling out flatbreads is meditative, that seeing them bubbling over a naked flame is thrilling. They’ve given me a treasure: the knowledge that the essence of the island kitchen can come to any home.’

And her simple recipes mean you can bring these dishes into your home, too: try ‘Sticky chicken with garlic and ginger’, ‘Mustard and turmericmarinated tuna’, ‘Seychellois aubergine and chickpea cari’ and ‘Pineapple upside-down cake with cardamom cream’. Most of the ingredients are reasonably easy to find – pineapple, coconut, lychees, sweet potato, jackfruit, manioc (cassava), breadfruit and corn all grow abundantly in the tropical climate of the Indian Ocean and can be found in Caribbean, African and Asian shops in the UK. Periampillai devised her recipes around what is available in Britain, so don’t be daunted – take a small step outside your comfort zone and discover exotic dishes to awaken your taste buds and creativity.

FOUR-SPICE PORK KEBABS WITH PEPPERS

At the lively seafront markets on the west coast of Réunion, you can spot from afar the smoke billowing from large barbecue grill pans lined with sizzling brochettes (kebabs of grilled meats and vegetables). When making these at home, I marinate the pork overnight to get that punchy flavour.

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