Some years ago, Taro (Violette), Yam (Arouille), Casava (Manioc) were to be found every where and very commonly used by locals, however nowadays they are becoming very rare and hardly known by the young ones. They are known to be more nutritious than potatoes. As I come across them I will post simple recipes where they can be used to either enhance the dish or as a substitute or simply as a dish on their own.

I do not know anyone around me who does not like Gateau Arouille. I used to think that it is a very Mauritian snack, maybe readapted like a lot of our dishes, but looking around online you can find that it is of Chinese/ Asian origin. Taro is widely grown and consumed in Indonesia, China and several other East Asian countries.

When I was younger, I thought that Gateau Arouille was made out of Arouille (Yam) but it is actually made of Taro (commonly known as Violette in Mauritius).

Nowadays, when you buy Gateau Arouille, you wonder if is really made of pure Taro or is a mixture of bread, yam, or potatoes and a tiny bit of Taro. It tastes different from what it used to. Nevertheless, there are still a few places where you can find the very same Gateau Arouille which we used to have some years back; in Rose Hill near the Hassamal Shopping Centre ( I hope I am not getting it wrong for they used to be at the Rose Hill Bus Station) or at London Supermarket (in Vacoas and Tamarin).

Ingredients (makes about 20 bite sized):

  • 3 medium sized Taro (Violette), peeled and grated
  • 5 cm fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 – 4 tbsp corn flour
  • 2 – 3 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • salt (according to taste)
  • Oil for deep frying

In a bowl mix all ingredients, except oil. Heat oil on medium fire in a think pan/wok. Once oil is hot enough, place the Taro balls which you have already rolled out, carefully. I always fry only one to start, so that I get to taste and readjust seasoning if required. Gently turn the balls once sealed on one side. Remove when balls are brown all over and drain.

To be served hot, with tomato & coriander chutney.

Happy cooking.