Mauritian cuisine is, typically, a borrowed method of cooking, borrowed cultures, and adapted over years of French, Indian, British, Chinese, and African occupation and habitation. Mauritian dishes are not too spicy, by default, but can be modified to be as spicy as you’d like. On our trip, especially this being the first “trip” we took on the Country Spinner, we went with three dishes, Cheese Fritters, Ojja, and Rougaille. I’m going to split them throughout different posts as to not overwhelm you with text and make it difficult to follow. Also, I’m going to tell you what I messed up on or did very well in true transparency. This is really more of an experiment than how to do everything right. I did mess up some things. We worked around it. I will say that I can’t find any pictures that I took of this recipe and I realize that sucks. I think I have everything else, though. This picture is from someone else. I don’t know who but it isn’t my picture.
Here we go…
Cheese fritter is a snack that Mauritians like to consume during picnics or other occasions. It is also very popular during the month of Ramadan, probably because you can premake the batter and do these really quick after sunset.
These Cheese Fritters came out a little overdone because I had the oil too hot, I think. The lesson was learned and the next time (and there will be a next time) I will make sure to have a candy thermometer or similar to make sure the oil is at a good temperature. One thing, we looked for chickpea flour instead of regular wheat flour as chickpea flour (or more precisely, bessan powder for the recipe) is what the Mauritians use.
- 3 cups chickpea flour
- 1 pinch of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 chopped serrano peppers, seeded
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives*
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- Cubes of cheese**
- Pour chickpea flour, salt, pepper, cumin, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl and mix everything well.
- Gradually pour your water in until you get a very soft and consistent paste. Don’t just dump the water in. Mix vigorously, adding more water if necessary, then leave for 10 minutes.
- Pour coriander, peppers, onions, and chopped chives into the batter and mix thoroughly.
- Heat your saucepan or pot over medium heat and pour in the oil.
- One at a time, add the cheese cubes to the batter, using a tablespoon to cradle it (so you don’t lose it in the batter) but making sure it is completely coated by the batter.
- Dip the battered cubes into the oil and brown for about 2 minutes or just before the cheese starts oozing from the crisping batter.
- Let drain before serving.
*If you don’t have fresh chives, you can use dried, but I’ve found that fresh has a brighter flavor.
** Use a good melting cheese. We used Dubliner and that was not a good melting cheese. You want one that melts but also keeps its consistency. I suggest a fontina, gouda (smoked or otherwise), mozzarella, or gruyere. And, if you have some pimento cheese sitting around, roll some in a ball and use that, I think that would be good.
Thank you for reading!!