Mauritius – Focus on our organic Turmeric – A splash of golden goodness

Turmeric, known locally as “safran” holds a cherished place in Mauritian cuisine, infusing dishes with its vibrant color and distinct flavour. From Vasco da Gama (Portuguese explorer who set foot on the island in the 16th Century), Pierre Poivre (French Botanist who once was Intendant of Isle de France in the 1760’s) and the first Indian indentured labourers who arrived in Mauritius between 1834 and 1920, they all contributed to bring the different spices to Mauritius, thus adding rich flavours to our Mauritian cuisine.

This ancient healer has been revered for centuries for its remarkable medicinal properties and health benefits. It also forms part of traditional rituals in Indian weddings in Mauritius. Turmeric holds immense cultural significance and is an integral part of pre-wedding rituals known as Haldi ceremony. During this ceremony, a paste made from turmeric, along with other ingredients like milk and sandalwood, is applied to the bride and groom’s skin to cleanse, purify, and bless them before their wedding day. Normally, the bride and groom are typically not allowed to leave the room on this specific day, nor are invitees allowed to touch them. The application of turmeric is the reason why, the newlyweds will both have a flawless complexion on their wedding day.

Turmeric’s versatility and health benefits make it a beloved ingredient in Mauritian cuisine, where it adds both flavor and vibrancy to a wide array of dishes. Turmeric is used in Mauritian cooking for curries where it adds a rich yellow color. Most of the time, the different ingredients are crushed on the “ros cari” (a Creole term for a thick and flat rectangular mortar, with a “baba ros cari” which is a small cylindrical roller made of stone), leaving hands yellow for a while. We also use “safran” for the “zasar and kutcha” (Pickles and Chutneys) which adds both colour and flavour to these condiments that accompany so many Mauritian meals. Turmeric, this versatile ingredient, is a common element in various Mauritian dishes, including our “dal” (lentils), biryani, “pilao” (pilaf rice), and snacks like “bajya,” (fried dough balls) which are part of our beloved street food culture.

Turmeric, along with a blend of other spices, is also part of traditional remedies and herbal teas crafted by our Mauritian grandmas to address a range of health concerns. We certainly remember as children how we were so reluctant to swallow the undrinkable yellow brew! Little did we know how beneficial it was for our health. Whether consumed as a dietary supplement, incorporated into our culinary creations, or applied as beauty care treatments, its benefits extend far beyond those of traditional medicine.

To conclude, our organic turmeric stands as a shining example of nature’s bounty, offering a holistic approach to health and wellness that transcends boundaries. As we continue to unravel the mysteries of this golden goodness, we invite you to discover this invaluable gift of nature when you happen to be on our shores.


Mauritius – Traditional Cuisine – our organic “Bred sonz” or taro leaves.