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Vetkoek with Roast Beef and Horseradish Sauce


Vetkoek, pronounced “fet-cook” in Afrikaans, means “fat cake.” These small, unsweetened balls of deep-fried dough can be filled sweet with butter and jam, or savory with ground curried beef, curried vegetables or whatever you have a taste for. I’ve sometimes filled them with peri peri chicken livers and chopped liver! This is a traditional South African treat enjoyed by a number of cultures, not just Afrikaans. Magwinya, as they are known in the townships, are sold to commuters on their way to and from work at just about every taxi rank and bus stop.


Prepare the Vetkoek with Roast Beef and Horseradish Sauce

1. To make the dough, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water a little at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon until a wet dough forms.
2. Knead in the bowl for five minutes or until the dough springs back after you press it with your finger.
3. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow the dough to rise for 30–45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
4. Divide the dough into 14 to 16 portions of equal size and set aside.
5. To deep-fry the vetkoek, heat oil in a deep pot. Once the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium.
6. Gently drop four vetkoek into the oil and cover the saucepan with a lid. This allows the vetkoek to steam partially while frying.
7. Cook for two minutes, or until golden on one side; then turn and cook the other side. When they are cooked through and golden, remove the vetkoek from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the remaining vetkoek in the same way.
8. Slice the vetkoek through the middle.
9. Slice the meat into strips and serve in the vetkoek.
10. Serve with horseradish sauce, either in the vetoek or on the side for dipping.


Photography by Michael Smith