Roussi zwanion, lay-zinzam

Name: Audrey Albert
Scran: Roussi Zwanion, lay-zinzam
Mother Language: Mauritian Creole

Sounds Like: Roussi zwanion, lay-zinzam by Audrey Albert
Handwritten Notes: in Mauritian Creole – by Audrey Albert
Audrey Albert’s Gran

Salmon Rougay: prepping and cooking

Salmon Rougay – one of the first Mauritian dishes Audrey cooked in Manchester, with roussi zwanion lay zinzam as a base

Roussi zwanion, lay-zinzam

Enn parfin ki rapel mwa la kwizinn mo gramer se zwanion, lay-zinzam ki pe roussi lor ti dife. Mo gramer kwi so bann pli bon kari dan enn vye karay byin nwar, byin epe, ki paret preske mastok-mastok.

Kan monn vinn ress Manchester, mo ti a peinn konn kwi. Kan monn koumenss apran, grass a bann ressett mo mama, monn realize ki zwanion, lay-zinzam marye ensam pou form baz boukou kari ek manze Morisien.

So parfin mem ase pou fer mo lespri voyaz dan la kwizinn mama ek dan la kwizinn gramer. Kan monn kompran sa baz la, wadire enn zafer in debloke dan mo la tet. Se apartir sa moma la monn koumenss kontan kwi. Se apartir sa moma la monn apran swegn mo “homesickness” ek manze lakaz. Ti kouma dir enn kodd, enn sekre monn tinn ressi dekouver.

Parfin zwanion, lay-zizam. Ti la mizik deluil so fer kan li pe karess sa bann zingredian la met saler dan mo leker. Dan rougay, dan la dob, dan salmi ek dan kari masala. Mo pa pe partaz enn reset me enn sekre byin garde par nou bann mama ek nou bann gran mama Morisien.

Sweated onions, garlic and ginger paste

A smell that reminds me of the kitchen of my grandma is onions, garlic and ginger paste being sweated in a pan on a low heat. My grandma cooks her best food and curries in a black old cast iron wok. Her wok is so dark it looks burnt, it is thick, heavy and seems to be “sticky-sticky”.

When I moved to Manchester, I barely knew how to cook. When I started learning thanks to the recipes of my mum, I soon realised that onion, garlic and ginger were at the base of a lot of Mauritian curries and dishes.

The aroma itself is enough to make me travel in the kitchens of my mum and my grandma. When I started to understand this “base” of Mauritian cooking something unlocked and started making sense in my head. It was then that cooking became an enjoyable task instead of a stressful chore. It was then that I started to cure my homesickness with food from my homeland. I felt like I had cracked a complicated code, like I had uncovered an alchemy secret.

The perfume of sweated onions, garlic and ginger paste. The faint music created by hot oil when caressing the ingredients bring warmth to my heart. In “rougay” (a spicy tomato- based sauce), in stews, in “salmi” (a spicy red wine and tomato slow cooked sauce) and in in masala-based curries. I am not sharing an actual recipe but a well-kept untold but commonly known secret by Mauritian mums and grandmas.

A cyanotype of onion, garlic and ginger by Audrey Albert