And it is the countdown week to Valentine’s. Love is in the air. What have you planned for your significant other? Scattered petals over the honeymoon suite at a four star hotel? Dinner for two on a secluded island in the eating bitter melons and prawns? An eighteen carat diamond ring in her dessert at a Michelin three star restaurant? Whatever you have planned, I hope you guys have fun and love is renewed or new love and respect blossoms and you all remember the reasons why you fell in love with one another.
In the spirit of love, we are on another island of sands, sea and stars – Mauritius. This island, not too far from the French Réunion island is said to be one of the top honeymoon, wedding destinations worldwide. To see more of this beauty, click here.
Since we are by the sea, how about we treat ourselves to some seafood? This week we will be making bitter melon with prawns. If you are ready like I am, whip up your cooking utensils and let’s get cooking.
650 grams fresh bitter melons,
2 medium red ripe tomatoes,
1 medium onion thinly sliced,
1 tablespoon crushed garlic,
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger,
250 grams green prawns,
Chopped red chillies to taste,
2 tablespoons vegetable oil,
1 cup chicken stock,
2 medium size eggs,
3 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions,
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cut bitter lemons in half. Scrape out everything in the centre with a spoon (including the white parts). After scraping, soak in lightly salted water for 30 minutes.
Wash off salt in running cold water then pat dry. Using a knife, cut into small sizes.
Half the onions and slice thinly. Cut the tomatoes into quarters then into eights.
Crush the garlic and finely cut the ginger then set aside to use later.
Shell the prawns and de-vein them. Wash under cold water and when dry cut in your preferred portion sizes. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside for later use.
Over medium heat, add oil to a thick based saucepan. Add the onions, crushed garlic and ginger.
Fry until the onions are transparent then add the tomatoes, crushing them with a wooden spoon until the tomatoes are blended well with the onions.
Add the bitter melon pieces to the mix.
Now add the chicken stock and the sliced chilli peppers. Mix ingredients together and let it simmer over medium heat. Cover the saucepan.
Halfway through the bitter melon being cooked, add the prawns. Mix well and then leave to simmer.
Mix ingredients at intervals to ensure that all cook through.
Stir ingredients from the bottom of the pan to the top to ensure that sauce is not burning at the bottom. Add salt and pepper to your preference.
If the sauce is too watery, leave the pan open to allow it thicken, if too dry, add a bit of hot water to get it to the right consistency.
When sauce is ready, whisk two eggs and pour over cooked bitter melon and prawns.
Allow to cook for a bit before mixing it with the melons and prawns. Allow the eggs to cook.
Take out of the pan and put in a serving dish. Serve with rice or potatoes.
Recipe by: ile-maurice
Yuddie is the go-to girl on all things research for Afro Tourism. When not researching, you can find her perusing through food channels or just whipping out her cooking utensils and creating a ‘classic.’ She has found a new passion for researching on African dishes and hopes to put her twist on it in future recipes.