Mauritian Aubergine Fritters
The air in Mauritian food markets invokes such intoxicating hunger that one would be forgiven that the elements are in collusion with the gajak (street food) sellers. In fact I’m sure of it, because as soon as we entered Port Louis’ central market our tummies growled to be appeased...which if we hadn’t had breakfast just an hour earlier might be understandable. Queues formed in front of the makeshift stalls, sizzling, frying and cashing in on hunger incitement, wrapping me in temptation.
Temptation appears in many forms, the soft creamy fizz of a glass of Ruinart, the bitter sweet taste of Venezuelan cacao, the soft underbelly of buffalo mozzarella and good shoes. My weakness is street food, if it’s fresh form a sizzling skillet, charring on a grill or crisping on a hot plate, I’m there like some neurotic food stalker desperate to feed an obsession. It’s this addiction which was satisfied by the Mauritian chef Rakesh at Belle Mar’s cafe lounge Seasons, on the east coast of Mauritius. Aubergine rounds coated in spiced Mauritian batter, light crunchy and unforgivingly addictive. Similar to Indian vegetable pakoras but given a slightly different treatment.
The golden allure of their organic shapes beg to be dipped into fresh glistening coriander chutney. Do yourself a favour, give into temptation cook these little beauties as resistance to food as good as this is futile.
How To Make Aubergine Fritters
- 1 aubergine, sliced into 1cm thick rounds
- 500g plain white flower
- 1tbs baking powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 12 fresh curry leaves, chopped (alternatively crumble in dried ones)
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- 275ml water
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil, enough for a depth of 5cm of oil in a large wok.
In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, baking powder, turmeric curry leaves, shallots, seasoning and cayenne pepper, adding water incrementally until the batter is thick and sticky but loose enough to dip a piece of aubergine with the mix sticking to the veg. Test a piece and slip it into a the wok of oil which should be frying over a high heat (if using a fryer set at 120oC) and cook for approximately 5 minutes until golden and crisp. Cook in batches and use a slotted spoon to remove the gateaux, drain on kitchen paper.
Serve with coriander chutney.