Atleast that the sound they make , the sound of pure delight and that of butterflies in the stomach. Crunchy , crispy , savoury tasty and of a total addiction! Just like the title says it all , a Street Food second to none really. Every bite takes you back to the best of memories made and to the sweet reminder of childhood days. I can’t even stand the sight of them to be honest. Luckily Mum can no more drag me away like she used to when I was a child upon seeing these because she knows I would ask to buy for me. Taro fritters are my absolute favourite way to sin if I can allow myself to say here! They are the most classic and delightful street food/snack you can find yourself munching onto here in Mauritius. Being selectively sold most precisely at small Chinese retailers shops, they have become almost legendary. Seasonal yet a true luxury to have , you can also find them in all their splendour during Chinese Spring Festival in Port Louis ( Capital city of Mauritius ).
Lovingly called as ‘’Gato Violette’’ here in Mauritius and best served with a fragrant Coriander Chutney. One place around the Island that you are sure to find them is at Rose Hill, big ball sized really and so fondant. Ouff! To note that ‘’ Gato Violette’’ – Taro fritters and ‘’Gato Arouille’’ – Yam fritters are totally different kind of fritters even if sometimes they look all the same. Let me try to clear the confusion a little for you. Taro roots come from the Taro plant ( big elephant leaves plant ). There are as such a lot of varities of Taro from small to large and from white flesh (Arouille ) to purple flecked ones (Violette).
They have been largely present since the days back then as the main source of carbohydrates/starch. My mum used to narrates how they were among the most looked forward meal of the day. Sometimes steamed and eaten plain with just a chutney for breakfast or sometimes as a curry for dinner. They have a nuttier and very rich flavour compared to potatoes. Same goes for Yam ( Arouille ) which nowadays is more present on the market compared to Taro roots. And can be used into many dishes as substitute to potatoes for example in casserole or as chips. In short both are root vegetable but from a different plant really. And to add Cassava ( Manioc ) is another produce and not at all similar to these two.
A Street Food second to none – Taro root fritters / Mauritian Gato Violette
Preparation : 20 mins
Cooking time : 25 mins
Yield 25 fritters ( approx. )
- 500 g of freshly peeled taro roots
- 3 tbsp of corn starch
- 2 tbsp of ginger paste / ¼ ginger
- 1 tbsp of brown sugar
- 1 tbsp of tamarind paste (optional)
- 2 dry red chillies
- ½ cup of breadcrumbs (optional)
- ½ cup of finely chopped chives
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying
- In a large bowl , grate the taro roots and reserve.
- Add ginger and dry red chillies to a blender and grind until a smooth paste is obtained by adding a little water at a time.
- Combine the paste , breadcrumbs , corn starch and tamarind sauce as well as the sugar to the grated taro roots.
- Mix thoroughly until everything is well incorporated to the grate taro roots.
- Heat a heavy based pan with vegetable oil and leave to a medium hot.
- Drop the taro roots mixture , ball sized into the oil and stir from time to time.
- Strain when golden brown and serve with any chutney or chilli sauce of your choice.
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