Recipe for a homesick Saffer
Vetkoek - amamfechu - amagwinya - fatcakes
I have good news and bad news. Bad news first:
As sad as this makes me, I will not be going home to South Africa for the holidays and will spend yet another festive season in Asia of course there is nothing wrong with spending this time on this side of the world but it’s been forever and I really am feeling homesick and I miss the food the most - sorry fam.
So for the next few weeks I will do my best to ease the pain by preparing some of my favourite South African dishes. I guess I may have to call a lot of these South African inspired dishes since finding some ingredients is almost impossible out here so we will draw inspo from traditional dishes and see what we can come up with.
Today is an easy peasy favourite of mine and so many other South African folk. Traditionally an Afrikaner deep fried bread, Vetkoek pronounced fetkook can be enjoyed with some savoury mince (almost like a sloppy joe) or if you have a bit of a sweet tooth you could have vetkoek with some strawberry or apricot jam. Today since we are in Asia I will prepare a yummilicious Asian style braised pork belly and veggies.
Vetkoek is also lovingly known as amagwinya in Xhosa or magwinya in zulu.
Let’s get started.
2-3 cups of flour
1/14 cup for dusting the table
3 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 generous pinch of salt
1 1/12 cups of water (warm)
2 cups of vegetable oil for frying
The How To:
We are going to make a basic bread dough, start by activating the yeast. In a bowl or jug dissolve the sugar in the warm water and add the yeast stir lightly and and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture starts bubbling profusely. In another large bowl add the 2 cups of flour first, hold back on the remaining cup of flour as you’ll add that gradually while kneading. With a wooden spoon mix in a pinch of salt. Then add half of the yeast mixture to the flour and bring together using the wooden spoon. Don’t add all the liquid at once incase it is too much. Mix the liquid and flour well until you form a sticky dough. Clean the the wooden spoon and prepare to continue with your hands. Gradually add the last cup of flour and knead until the dough is no longer sticking to your hand. Make sure you clean the sides of the bowl lift the dough and add a few drops of vegetable oil in the bowl, spread the oil around the bowl before putting the dough back in the bowl. The oil will make it easy for you to remove the dough later on.
I added a little extra sugar with the flour coz I like my Vetkoek a little sweet.
Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and set it somewhere warm in the kitchen. The dough will rise in about 25-30 minutes. Uncover the dough and knead, and cover the dough for another 15 minutes to rise again.
Next, divide the risen dough into 4 equal parts. On a clean area of your kitchen counter or a chopping board, dust the surface with some flour, take one piece and with flour dusted hands roll the piece of dough between your palms almost as though you’re making the shape of a large churro, you can also put the tube shaped dough on the table surface roll it with your palms and then flatten it using four fingers. Next use a knife to cut the roll, use 4 fingers to measure how much to cut. Continue with all the dough and leave it on the counter for about 5 minutes to rise again. In the meantime prepare a large deep skillet, pour in the 2 cups of cooking oil and heat the oil on a medium heat until the oil is hot.
Next add a piece of the dough at a time until there are enough pieces to fry, don’t fill the pan too much leave space for the bread to be flipped and turned without hassle. fry and turn the bread until it has expanded completely and is brown on both sides.
When you are confident that the bread is cooked through ( after about 3 minutes on each side depending on your heat) then remove from the oil and set on some parchment paper in a container. If you want your Vetkoek crispy on the outside leave the container uncovered and if you are like me and you want soft donut like Vetkoek then just cover the container and let the bread steam up.