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Recipe courtesy of Binta Diallo

Gateau (Puff-Puff)

These fried dough balls are a popular street food in West Africa, served on their own or with a sauce, or in this case, with poached fish.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min (includes rising time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1 tablespoon dry instant yeast

1 cup warm water 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

1/2 cup sugar  

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 pound mackerel fillet, skin removed 

3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1 small onion, diced  

1 medium tomato, diced  

1 clove garlic, minced 

8 cups vegetable oil, for frying 


  1. Combine the yeast and warm water in a small bowl and let sit until the yeast starts to dissolve, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the flour in a large bowl. Mix the yeast and water mixture into the flour with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the sugar, vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon salt, and then cover with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on the dough. Set aside in a warm place and let rise for 1 hour.  
  3. Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the fish. Poach the fish in the simmering liquid until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the fish from the water and set aside in a medium bowl. When the fish has cooled, use a fork to break apart the fish.  
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a medium skillet over medium heat and saute the onions until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the fish to the skillet and stir to fully incorporate, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons more olive oil if needed to keep the mixture from becoming dry. Cook for another 3 minutes and then turn off the heat.  
  5. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil (about 8 cups) to 375 degrees F in a wide heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, carefully add the gateau batter to the oil with a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, turning over frequently until browned, about 2 1/2 minutes per batch. Transfer the gateau to paper towels to drain.  
  6. Spoon the mackerel into a serving dish and serve with the gateau.