Tahitian Vanilla Sauce

I love cooking and I love eating and I love shopping, I even love supermarkets! The first place I always head for in a city is the market, to meet the people and speak the language of food. I enjoy trying out the local ingredients and experimenting with old favourites and new flavours. Sometimes the products of the galley are not worth recording but other times they are surprise me and I thought it would be fun to share some of them.

In Tahiti and the Society Islands vanilla is available everywhere. I had not cooked with it much before as it is so expensive in Europe but and I found a reasonably cheap supply at the market in Pape’ete. So I adapted a recipe for Vanilla Sauce which the Tahitians serve with fish but goes very well with pork or chicken.

Tahitian Vanilla Sauce


1 medium carrot – finely chopped

1 stick celery – finely chopped

½ onion – finely chopped

1 clove garlic – minced

½ cup Tahitian rum (Rum Doudou was our favourite, or you can use sherry)

4 cups chicken stock

1 vanilla pod

1 bay leaf

¼ cup double cream


Lightly sauté the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes in a slug of canola oil and a knob of butter.

Add the rum and the other remaining ingredients except the cream. Scrape the inside of the vanilla pod into the mix but chuck the pod in as well. Season and simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t cover, let it reduce down a bit.

Strain and divide into two as this makes a lot of sauce. I freeze half to use another day.

Add the cream (¼ cup double cream for half the sauce) and simmer for 5 minutes then add another knob of butter before serving.


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