A traditional Mauritian rougaille (or rougail depending on the region) is a flavoursome tomato based sauce that can be cooked with any meat or vegetable. It is one of the most basic dishes in Mauritian cuisine and because of that, it’s one that tends to vary ever so slightly from one Mauritian family to the next.
The ingredients to our family’s rougaille causes a heated debate between my Mum and her four sisters and brother because even they believe their little additions and substitutes are better than the others. I learnt not to get them started on whether or not to add ginger – my Papa, their Dad, didn’t like ginger so it was never added to his rougaille when he made it but not all of his kids followed suit with that, and they will argue until they turn blue (as many Mauritian families do) over whose is the best. It’s the same with their vermicelli (a dessert), achard legumes (vegetable pickle) and créole rice (a rice dish not dissimilar to a paella) – despite the culinary competition, you are always guaranteed one hell of a feast when my aunts and uncle cook together.
This rougaille recipe is my Mum’s, her adaptation is that she favours passata over fresh tomatoes, purely because the tomatoes we can buy in England aren’t as flavoursome as they are in other places around the world, so passata provides the rich tomato taste the dish requires, oh and as tribute to her Dad, she doesn’t use ginger.
As I mentioned earlier, a rougaille sauce can be cooked with any meat or vegetable, it is even popularly accompanied by boiled eggs in Mauritius. This recipe is for a saucisse rougaille, sausage rougaille, as it’s one of the most simple to make but the option is there to substitute the sausages to make this recipe vegetarian or vegan!
This recipe will serve 5-6 people.
X2 packs of sausages
500g passata (or chopped fresh tomatoes if you can buy them beautifully ripe and flavoursome)
X2 tbsp oil
X4 spring onions/scallions
X1 fresh chilli
X2 garlic cloves
X2 sprigs of thyme
A handful of fresh coriander
1tbsp chopped chives
1tbsp chopped parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
All the herbs can be dry if fresh herbs aren’t an option for you, it will taste better with fresh herbs but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t grow them or can’t buy them fresh.
Large cooking spoon
Baking tray with grease proof lining
1. Cook your sausages in the oven for as long as the instructions on the packet say.
2. Peel and finely chop the onion, garlic, spring onions and coriander leaves.
3. Cut the chilli in quarters – deseed it if you don’t want your rougaille to be too hot, or cook with the seeds if you do.
If you don’t cook the seeds into the rougaille then keep them either to cook into something else or plant them so you can grow your own chillies!
4. Add the oil to your saucepan and sauté the onions and then garlic.
5. Add the spring onions (scallions) and chilli. Keep the heat low as you’re not cooking these ingredients, you’re heating them to bring out the flavour. Let them sit for about 5mins gently tossing them around every minute or so to stop it sticking.
6. Pour in the passata and stir through.
7. Add the thyme, parsley and chives and season it with salt and pepper. Stir it and leave to simmer on the same low heat whilst you prepare your sausages.
8. When the sausages are cooked remove the excess oil by putting them on paper towels or your reusable alternative which will absorb it.
9. Cut the sausages into bite-sized pieces.
10. Add the sausages to the rougaille sauce and stir through. Leave it to simmer for another 5mins.
11. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
12. Right before serving, sprinkle and stir in the coriander leaving some aside for a garnish.
13. Serve with rice, fresh bread or roti (Mauritian flat bread). Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves. Enjoy!
From my family to yours, bon appétit!