Vetkoek, a traditional kind of cake in South Africa. Photo: I Love 2 Bake
Vetkoek, a traditional kind of cake in South Africa. Photo: I Love 2 Bake

These tasty vetkoeks (fat cakes) make for a lovely dinner or snack. You can make these vetkoeks any size you prefer. They're a great party snack if they are made small and filled with various processed meats, tuna and mayo, syrup, curried minced meat, cheese, or basically anything you feel like. They're fast, easy, and very tasty.

What is VetKoek?

Vetkoek is a traditional Afrikaner pastry. It is dough deep-fried in cooking oil and either filled with cooked mince or spread with syrup, honey, or jam. It is thought to have its origins from the Dutch oliebollen, which go back to the time of the migration period. It is similar in taste to Mexican sopapillas. Vetkoek literally means "fat cake". It is similarly shaped to a doughnut and is made from flour, salt and yeast. The dough is rolled into a ball then deep-fried. It is commonly eaten with butter or filled with jam or a more savory filling, according to Definitions.

In a traditional South African braai, or barbecue, vetkoek may be served alongside boerewors,. Koeksisters are made from a similar, but sweeter, dough but are braided in long strips then coated in a sticky sweet syrup. Similar to a vetkoek, the magwinya is a popular meal for many people living in townships. The term igwinya originates from the historically Black townships of Gauteng in South Africa. Magwinya are vetkoek.

Photo: Foodle Club
Photo: Foodle Club

However, magwinya differ from the vetkoek in that magwinya are never filled like the traditional vetkoek; but are served plain and hot with an optional variety of piquant, umami and salty side dishes such as portions of Cape snoek fish, mango atchar, sausage and salted fried potato chips. Magwinya is fast selling food item since they are popular, cheap, easy to make, and easy to eat on the go. The popularity of this food item is evidenced by the many spaza shops, hawkers at taxi ranks, roadside vendors, and fast food shops located in the Gauteng townships that sell this food.

***Read More: TOP 10 Best Delicious Traditional Cakes Around the World

Here are what you need to make a perfect Vetkoek:

Ingredients for 12 servings:

2 cups lukewarm water

¼ cup white sugar

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

7 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

3 cups oil for frying

How to Make Vetkoek - Step by Step Guide

Photo: ShowMe™ South Africa
Photo: ShowMe™ South Africa

Step 1

Mix lukewarm water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Let stand until yeast softens and begins to bubble slightly about 5 minutes.

Step 2

Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl.

Step 3

Pour water mixture over flour mixture and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic 5 to 7 minutes. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let the dough rise until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Step 4

Pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a tennis ball; roll until smooth. Flatten the ball of dough until it is the size of palm; set aside on a floured work surface. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Step 5

Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Step 6

Fry flattened pieces of dough in the hot oil, 2 to 3 pieces at a time, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Serving suggestions:

These deep-fried small balls are usually served hot with savory mince but are equally delicious enjoyed with butter and your favorite apricot jam, syrup, fig preserve – or even cheese and thinly sliced biltong. Enjoy!

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