Happy Independence Day, my beloved Mauritius! It’s been 45 years since the British have left the reins of governence in the hands of residents of this island. Though we must all be happy and proud to have achieved this state of freedom, it should also give us a chance to reflect on how far we have come as a united nation and on the steps to take to shape our future.

The national celebrations were held on a lavish scale at the Anjalay Coopen Stadium where cultural shows and fireworks were the highlight of the event. On a more quiet note, I celebrated the same in my kitchen by attempting to make one of my favourite local sweet dishes, the fat and juicy piaw. Adapted for the beautifully illustrated book, Manzé Lontan, by Malika Kallichurn, this recipe will definitely revive memories from the past for many. I hope that, unlike me, you will be rewarded with more success when making piaw at home. Do keep a sharp eye on the consistency of the syrup so that they do not turn into piaw sec!

PIAW

Ingredients:

For the Dough

375 g all purpose flour

40 g rice flour

5 g instant yeast

10 g white sugar

150 ml water

For the Sugar Syrup

500 g sugar

250 ml water

Method:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl to form a ball of dough.
  • Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes until soft and elastic.

  • Cover and set aside in a warm place for 6 hours or overnight till it puffs up and doubles in volume.
  • Meanwhile prepare the sugar syrup in a heavy based saucepan set over moderate heat.

  • Boil water and sugar together, lower heat and cook to a two thread consistency.
  • Divide dough into lemon-size balls. Poke a finger in the centre to make a hole.

  • Shape roughly into a doughnut and repeat until the dough is completely used up.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan and cook the doughnuts, 3 to 4 at a time, for 1-2 minutes.

  • Flip over and cook for another minute until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  • Place cooked doughnuts in syrup and let them soak for 2-3 minutes before removing.

  • The exterior should remain crisp and sugar coated while the inside turns soft and chewy.
  • Store in an air-tight container for upto 1 week in a cool, dry environment. Makes 12 pieces.

Independent since 1968!

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