Our first recipe comes from Mauritius — brought to us by Lewis Nadal:
This dish was passed down to him by his grandmother: Called bol déviré (upside-down bowl), some Mauritians also know it as bol renversé (magic bowl).
Bol dévire is a fusion of Chinese and Mauritian cuisine, and is very popular among Mauritian families. It’s one of the Nadal family’s favourites, too. This basis of the dish generally consists of shrimps and chicken, pork or beef, fried in a wok with a sauce (oyster, soya and fish sauce) and vegetables. The final step is to cover everything with fluffy basmati or fragrant rice, and turn it upside-down onto a plate. The dome-shaped dish is topped off with a fried egg, and some chopped coriander.
Let’s hear what Lewis Nadal has to say about it: “My grandmother would cook this dish a lot on Sundays, and as a child I really loved watching her closely as she did so. Today it’s something I enjoy making for my own family, and now my little granddaughter likes to watch and help me, too.”
In Mauritius there are various ways of preparing this dish; this one is my grandmother’s recipe.
Preparation time: 30–60 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
500 g chicken breast, pork and/or beef cut into strips (any combination if that’s to your liking)
250 g ready-to-cook shrimps or 4 peeled king prawns per portion
4 tbsp. sesame or vegetable oil
1 tbsp.soya sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce1 piece of ginger (about the size of a thumb) grated or finely chopped
5 stems of parsley
4 sprigs of thyme (pluck or strip off the leaflets)
1 red onion finely diced
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
2 tbsp. cornflour
250 g brown or white mushrooms thinly sliced
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 bunch of pak choi coarsely chopped
3 carrots cut into thin strips (tip: use a Julienne slicer)
350 g uncooked, washed basmati or fragrant rice
2–3 tbsp. vegetable oil
a handful of fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
What else do you need:
4 bowls, each with approx. 400 ml capacity
Cook rice until done, then set aside.
Heat the oil in the wok. Add the prepared garlic, ginger and herbs, and fry for 2 minutes. Then mix in the meat with the pepper, and add the shrimps together with the mushrooms, and fry for another 2–3 minutes. Now the sauces are added. Continue cooking over a medium heat, stirring continuously. Stir 2 tbsp. water into the cornflour to make a smooth paste, and stir into the wok. Keep stirring continuously, mixing all the ingredients, adding salt to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Fry the eggs separately in a small non-stick frying pan, place a bowl over the pan, and turn over quickly (Warning: please be careful not to burn your hands at this point). Scatter a little coriander in the bowl with the fried egg, then add the shrimps and portion out the meat and vegetable mix from the wok into each of the bowls using a ladle. Then fill each bowl to the rim with rice. Place a dinner plate facing down over the bowl, and serve. Next, the masterpiece is flipped over at the dining table (hence the name bol déviré – “upside-down bowl”). Now gently turn the bowl back and forth before removing it.
Lewis Nadal says “Bon appetit”.