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Celebrating the 48th Independence and Republic Day of Mauritius

 Tomorrow is a very special day - the 48th anniversary of Independence and 24th anniversary of the Republic of Mauritius.

It will be a day of celebration including performances by local artists, fireworks, air shows, marching bands and an official programme at Champ de Mars with a flag raising ceremony in the presence of chief guest, the President of the Republic of Madagascar, Mr Hery Rajaonarimampianina.

To celebrate this day of togetherness on the island, we’ve asked one of our favourite Mauritian chefs, Brinda Bungaroo, to suggest a recipe to enjoy with friends. Here’s her take on a Mauritian institution.

mauritius gateaux piments on the Independence day

Gateaux Piments - Mauritian Dahl Fritters with Chilli

Gateaux Piments or Mauritian Dal Fritters are a very easy snack recipe to master and are probably one of the most popular snacks in Mauritius. These beautiful little fritters, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, yield different kinds of heat as you bite into them – one from the chillies and one from the heat itself. I can even make a certain mouth gesture while I’m thinking about eating them that goes ‘ho-ho-ho’ because they are eaten straight from the frying pan.

“Gateaux piments” simply translated means “chilli cakes”. These are made with chana dhall and an addition of chillies and herbs. It’s as simple as that, so one would ask, what’s all the fuss about? But us Mauritians love our gateaux piments and the “sold out” sign tends to be a very common thing when it comes to these cakes. We like to eat them with bread and butter, which makes a lovely breakfast, lunch or mid-afternoon snack with a nice cup of tea. These small, tasty fritters are a real symbol of simplicity and beauty. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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Ingredients - Serves 6-8

• 230 grams of yellow Chana dhal • Bunch of spring onion finely chopped • Green chillies – finely chopped (personal choice depend on how hot you would like the cakes) • 1-2 dried red chilli – finely chopped • Fresh chopped coriander • 1-2 tsp cumin powder • Salt and peppers as per taste • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda • Vegetable oil for frying

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1. Rinse and wash the dhal. Leave to soak in a bowl of cold water, preferably overnight.
2. The next day, drain the soaked dhall in a colander.
3. Once well drained, divide the dhal in three parts. Place one portion in a food processor, blend to a coarse texture, remove and set aside.
4. Blend the second portion now this time to a softer texture, remove from blender add the first batch of ground dhal.
5. Take the third portion blend to a smooth texture add a little of water if needed so you get a rather smoother soft texture paste. By grinding the dhal into three different textures will give you a very crispy, crunchy cake but yet soft on the inside.
6. Mix all together. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Taste for seasoning and as necessary.
7. Heat oil in a deep-frying pan. Make small uneven balls and deep fry the “gateaux piment” in batches until golden brown. (Remember the oil has to be at the right temperature, if too hot it will burn the cakes leaving a rather soggy inside. If the oil is not hot enough the cakes will quickly absorb a lot of oil making them quite oily and greasy cake).
8. Remove the “gateaux piments” drain them on kitchen paper. Serve hot. Or if you fancy with bread and butter.
9. For more information in Brinda Bungaroo visit her website and check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

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