potatoes in a stew with meat and vegetables

Daube de Poulet (or Chicken daube) is a traditional Mauritian dish of chicken fried with onions, garlic, ginger and spices before being stewed in a tomato-based sauce flavoured with chillies. It is both a comforting home-cooked dish and a one-pot wonder. 

This dish originates from France where they make the classic Daube de Provence. Daube is a stew made with beef braised in wine, vegetables, garlic and herbs de Provence, and is traditionally cooked in a daubière, or a braising pan.

French settlers brought this dish to Mauritius with them and over time it has been adapted to be made with chicken instead. The Provence version is also usually served with vegetables, mash potato or even just fresh bread, but the Mauritian way is with rice. You can even add it to macaroni or spaghetti..

It’s something you will find cooked in the homes of many Mauritians. It’s less heavy than eating a curry – which many people might associate with Mauritian cuisine – so one plate is never enough!Light, fragrant with cinnamon and Provencal herbs such as thyme, I add white wine to the chicken recipe, but red wine would suit the red meat version. Typically, Mauritians don’t add wine to this dish, but I find it deepens the intensity of flavour. Adding potatoes will help to thick the sauce, which is already enriched with chopped tomatoes, chilli and chicken stock.

For best results it should be cooked in stages and cooled for a day after each stage to allow the flavours to meld together. I tend to make it the day before, so it has overnight to rest, soak up the juices and become delicious and intense for the next day.

I found some recipes on Jamie Oliver’s website that have the same feel to the dish – Hunter’s chicken stew (Pollo alla cacciatora) or Special chicken stew – both use wine to deepen the flavours in these dishes and are European inspired (French and Italian respectively).

These are all great dishes, whether cooking for the family or for friends, especially on those not-so-warm days when a soothing pot of goodness goes down a treat.

Chicken Daube (Creole Spiced Tomato Stew)

This is a traditional Mauritian dish, consisting of a tomato-based stew with fresh coriander and red chilli.

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 400ml canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves, keep 1tbsp of stalks (chopped finely)
  • 150ml good quality white wine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 organic chicken stock cube
  • 2 medium-size potatoes, quartered
  • 450g chicken thighs, debones & skinned, cut into pieces

Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and mix it all up. Add in the thyme, chilli, cinnamon stick and chopped fresh tomato and fry for another 2 minutes.

Next, add in the canned tomatoes, chopped coriander stalks, white wine and sugar, then crumble a stock cube into the mixture. Give this a good stir, then let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add in your potatoes and chicken pieces, then cover and simmer on a low heat for around 20-25 minutes. If the sauce dries out, add a little water to loosen it.

Check that chicken is cooked and potatoes are tender then season to taste and discard the cinnamon stick. Take of the heat, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice.

chicken daube

About the author

Selina Periampillai is a British-born Mauritian food pioneer, self-taught chef and food blogger. She runs the successful Yummy Choo Mauritian supperclub from her home in Croydon, plus regular pop ups around London, cookery classes and private catering for clients. With a passionate plan to revolutionise Mauritian cuisine, she loves feeding people! Having appeared in The Guardian, Good Food Guide, Food Network, Good Taste Magazine and more she can always be found in the kitchen cooking up a tropical feast. You can follow her on Twitter at @tastemauritius or check her out at www.tastemauritius.com.

Selina Periampillai