The Seychelles are a group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean situated off the eastern coast of the African continent. Like many other island countries, seafood features predominantly as does locally grown produce such as breadfruit, coconut, yam, cassava, papaya and several varieties of bananas including plantains. The food has a mixture of influences from Indian, Chinese, African, French and British cuisines. Fiery hot Creole styled curries are commonly eaten based on a spice blend called massalé which is unique to these islands.
After encountering several dodgy websites that promised recipes from the Seychelles and ended up offering malicious software instead, I came across a suitable recipe on BBC food, a far more credible site. The recipe was for a Seychelles fish curry which I planned to make with tofu and vegetables. Part of the appeal of this recipe was that it used its own blend of freshly ground spices as this always enhances the flavour of a curry. Spice blends are easy to prepare when you have whole spices in the pantry and a grinder to whiz up them up into a powder.
My favourite type of tofu for adding to curries and stir-frys these days is the Savoury Baked Tofu from Vegan Eats World. I cannot speak highly enough of this recipe, the salty, sweet, sour and slightly spicy marinade is a cinch to put together and then its just a matter of baking the tofu in the oven. I make a batch almost every week, usually a day or two before I'm planning to use it as I find it easier to slice after it has cooled down. If you own Vegan Eats World, you should definitely check this recipe out if you haven't done so already. My only advice is to ensure that the tofu fits snugly in your baking dish otherwise the marinade will burn.
With a freshly made spice blend, delicious baked tofu and a couple of favourite vegetables, I was confident that this curry would be a wonderful meal. Unfortunately this wasn't the case! In addition to the massalé, the recipe included ground anise/aniseed, tamarind water and fresh thyme. I used dried thyme instead of the fresh herb and substituted tamarind puree for the tamarind water. What I thought would be a moderate amount of tamarind turned out too be slightly too much giving it too much sourness for my liking. The dried thyme also dominated and the blend of spices didn't resonate with any of us. It was definitely not a disaster, just a slight disappointment as I had such high hopes for it.
I would have liked to attempt another dish from the Seychelles but time is short with Christmas around the corner so I'll bid farewell to the islands and move on to the next country.
Did you know?
The Seychelles is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site called Aldabra. Aldabra is the world's largest raised coral atoll which boasts the largest population of giant tortoises in the world and is home to the only flightless bird in the Indian Ocean, the White-Throated Rail.