Ramadan is an important time for Muslims because it encourages inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. It is also an opportunity to care for those who are less fortunate, thereby fostering feelings of thankfulness and appreciation in the hearts of everyone observing the Ramadan fast. Starting at dawn, this period of strict fasting comes to an end only after sunset and is broken by eating dates, nuts or a light snack, followed by evening prayers.

Gato deluil/oily cakes are very popular during this period and can be found at almost every street corner. Shops stay open till late, selling naan, alouda and deep fried snacks. Though not as common as gato pima and bajia, the melt-in-the-mouth pâté au thon is just as easy to make for iftar or sehri.  The flaky, butter-rich pastry, enclosing a plain tuna [If you do not like tuna, replace with chicken, potato, cheese, vegetable or any other fish of your choice] salad, can be baked if you cannot handle the additional calories.  With Eid only a few days away, it is nothing but a matter of time before you gain extra kilos as you indulge generous servings of briyani and poudine vermicelli.

PATES AU THON/ TUNA PASTIES

Ingredients:

100g cold butter, cubed

1 cup all purpose flour

1-2 tbs ice cold water

1 can tuna fish, drained

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 large red onion, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 small green chilli, chopped

1/2 tsp table salt, to taste

2 cups oil, for frying

Method:

  • In a large bowl, sift flour. Rub in butter until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs.

  • Add water a little at a time until it forms a soft, pliable dough. Cover bowl and set aside.

  • For the filling, combine tuna, chopped onions, tomatoes, chilli, cilantro and salt together.

  • Dump the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 3mm thick with a rolling pin.

  • Cut into squares of 3×3-inches with a sharp knife. Place 1 heaped teaspoon of filling in each.

  • Fold and seal seams with water. Press the tines of a fork at each end for a decorative finish.

  • Heat oil in a large frying pan and gently drop tuna pasties in hot oil, 2 to 3 pieces at a time.

  • Deep fry for 1 minute then flip and cook on the other side until pasties are golden in colour.

  • Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on absorbent paper. Serve hot with chilli sauce.

  • Uncooked pasties can be stored for up to 1 week in the freezer. Makes about 20 tuna pasties.

Hot Tuna Pasties