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Gato dipain or dipain frire is a typical Mauritian snack that is almost invariably found at the stalls of those selling an assortment of fritters/ gato deluile. But has anyone among you ever tried to make this from scratch ? To all my friends currently residing overseas, here’s the recipe for gato dipain to quench any cravings you might be having away from our beloved motherland. A great way to use up bread that has gone stale in the bread bin for a day or two, these fritters can be made within minutes and are to be served hot along with condiments like coriander chutney or chili sauce.

GATO DIPAIN

Ingredients:

baguette or pain viennois

1/2 cup chickpea flour/besan

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon orange food colour

1/2 teaspoon garlic/ginger paste

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups cold water

1 bunch spring onions, chopped

1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped

Vegetable oil, for deep frying

Method:

  • In a large bowl, combine chickpea flour, all purpose flour, baking soda and food colour.

  • Add the garlic, ginger, spring onions, coriander leaves, salt and pepper according to taste.

  • Gradually add water to form a thick batter. Cut the bread slices according to desired size.

  • Heat oil in a frying pan. Take one slice of bread, dip in the batter and place on frying pan.

  • Repeat the process for all the bread slices. Cook on medium heat, then flip to the other side.

  • Cook until both sides turn to a light brown color. Remove and drain on kitchen towel paper.

  • Serve the fritters hot with an assortment of coriander chutney, tomato chutney or chili sauce.

Gato Dipain

If you need to have something “fried”on your table for iftar every evening, there should be a list of go-to recipes for every fasting day of the holy period of Ramadan. Recipes that are easy and can be made ahead include spring rolls, tuna pasties and taro fritters. The latest addition to my repertoire is the crispy potato croquettes, from Bon Appetit, with its creamy cheese filling. For non-veg alternatives, you can stuff your croquettes with cooked chicken, fish, prawns or crab meat and use any mature sharp tasting cheese and fresh herbs you have on hand.

POTATO CROQUETTES

Ingredients:

1 egg yolk, room temperature

1 cup cold mashed potatoes

4 tablespoons grated parmesan

2 tablespoons chives, chopped

1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 large egg + 1 egg white, beaten

1/2 to 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Salt and pepper, to taste

Vegetable oil, for deep frying

Method:

  • Mix egg yolk, potato, parmesan, chives, flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

  • Roll into walnut-size balls; chill until cold, at least 2 hours. Beat eggs in a bowl.

  • Place breadcrumbs in another bowl and pour vegetable oil into a medium skillet.

  • Heat over medium till a pinch of breadcrumbs bubbles immediately when added.

  • Dip potato balls in egg, then roll in breadcrumbs. Fry the croquettes in batches.

  • Turn them over often until they are golden brown and crisp for 3 to 4 minutes.

  • Drain well on paper towels and serve hot. Servings: Makes 18 potato croquettes.

Potato Croquettes

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.

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