Masterchef 2012 winner Shelina Permalloo sets up a cookery school at Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa in her native Mauritius, and shares a Mauritian ‘January Blues’ recipe for you to try at home.

They say it’s a bad idea to watch a Masterchef on an empty stomach, though the residents of Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa in Mauritius would do well to stay hungry as they watch a Masterchef in action. That’s because the Masterchef in question is Shelina Permaloo, Mauritian chef and winner of last year’s nailbiting series, who has launched a Mauritian cookery school at the 5-star resort.

Bringing innovative techniques and plates of sunshine back to her native home, Permalloo will train guests to turn the exotic and vibrant flavours and spices so intrinsic to the island into proper haute cuisine. Maradiva – recently voted ‘World’s Leading Luxury Island Resort’ at the World Travel Awards 2012 – cultivates its own organic garden, and is recognised for its culinary inventiveness. Participants will also venture out to the bustling market in the capital of Mauritius Port Louis, in search of fresh local ingredients.

Permalloo says: “I can’t wait to work with Maradiva, not only because it’s a Mauritian-owned hotel with amazing produce on its doorstep, but because I get the opportunity to teach people about the food I’m passionate about. Teaching and cooking in Mauritius is going to be incredible and I’ll get the opportunity to carry on learning about the ever-changing food culture on the island.”

A series of three-day cooking classes begins with an inaugural set from 11-14 March 2013.

The price of the course includes two cooking classes per day, a day trip to Port Louis and the market, ingredients, your own embroidered apron and a recipe pack to bring home from Mauritius.

King Prawn Rougaille Recipe


King Prawn Rougaille, from Shelina Permalloo

King Prawn Rougaille, from Shelina Permalloo

Try out Shelina Permalloo’s recipe for a little Mauritius heat this winter. A perfect ‘January Blues’ dish, the king prawn recipe involves none of the copious amounts of meat, cheese or pate on which you’ve gorged over the last month.

Similar to a spicy Creole sauce, Mauritian rougaille’s tomato, thyme, garlic and chilli hit complements the plump prawns perfectly.


– 1 medium white onion finely chopped
– 1 red birds eye chilli finely chopped
– 2cm of peeled & grated ginger
– 2 cloves of garlic peeled & grated
– 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
– 1 400g tin of plum tomatoes
– 200g of king prawns


“In a big frying pan, heat some vegetable oil on a medium heat. Add the 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 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. Serve and enjoy!”

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