Mauritius, where I grew up, spells stretches of beautiful beaches in the Indian Ocean. But what you probably do not know is that the islander’s staple foods run into two : rice, and rougaille, a delicious tomato stew in Provencal herbs and garlic. It is the base for many sauces, carrying meat, sausage, salted fish, paneer, octopus, peas, crabs and even ‘gateaux piments’ … you name it, rougaille is game !
So, tomatoes hold high estime to me and my basket never runs empty of them. Seasonal tomatoes, and recent Vintage varieties turns me into a compulsive buyer when they peak at the local green grocer. Chillies is part of the rougaille, the hotter the better.
- This is a typical ‘Mauritian Creole’ sauce using plum tomatoes, garlic, thyme and chilli, completely compliments the delicate flavours of the prawns.
- Recipe: 1 medium white onion finely chopped
- 1 red birds eye chilli finely chopped
- 2cm of peeled and grated ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and grated
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 400g tin of plum tomatoes, the best quality you can afford
- 200g of king prawns de shelled and de-veined
In a big frying pan, heat some vegetable oil on a medium heat. Add the white onions and cook until you get a slight colour on them, add the ginger, garlic, chilli and thyme and cook and stir for approximately 3-4 minutes, then finally add the chopped coriander stalk. Add the tin of plum tomatoes including the juice and cook down for around 10 – 15 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked all the way through. At this point season with salt.. Add the king prawns and let them rest on top of the rougaille, do not stir, cook for approximately 1 minutes, turn the heat off and let it steam for about 5 minutes in the pan. This prevents the prawns from over-cooking and drying out. Serve with hot steam rice and a broth of greens