This weekend will be a long one for those who do not work on public holidays as they get to enjoy Friday and Saturday off work followed by Sunday. This year the Spring Festival and the 179th Anniversary of Abolition of Slavery fall on consecutive days hence allowing me to enjoy a short break from work and spend more time in the kitchen. I am sure our friends from the Chinese community must be busy preparing a large assortment of dishes for the New Year including the traditional gato la cire, gato zinzli, gato crabe and spring rolls and poutou sinoi. Another popular snack served on this festive occasion is the gato arouille, a crisp, deep fried delicacy made from grated violette/taro roots.

It was great favourite of mine during my childhood days when I was led to believe that it was made out of arouille because of the misnomer. There used to be quite a rush to get to the old lady selling gato deluil/fritters right outside the school gates as we were all invariably hungry after the long hours of private coaching. She would be sitting there, ready to take our orders and would prepare the cakes on the spot by dropping teaspoons of batter into an enormous pan of hot oil and scoop them out with a huge jharna, wired laddle when they bobbled up to the surface, all crisp and golden. Gato arouille was not a daily feature so it was more of a treat kind of thing when she did bring it. Ah, the good old days!

GATO AROUILLE

Ingredients:

500g taro/violette roots

2 tablespoons unrefined sugar

2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

2 tablespoon corn flour

2 tablespoon biscuit crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups vegetable oil

Method:

  • Peel taro roots and grate them coarsely using a box grater. Place the grated taro in a large mixing bowl.

  • Add sugar, salt, ginger, biscuit crumbs and corn flour. Combine until it forms a sticky glutinous mixture.

  • Shape the mixture into ping pong size balls. Heat oil in a deep frying pan or wok until it smokes lightly.

  • Deep fry the taro balls, in batches of 3 or 4, in hot oil for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown in colour.

  • Drain well between sheets of absorbent paper and serve them hot with chili sauce. Makes about 20 pieces.

Childhood Memories

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