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Vetkoek  is a traditional South African fried dough bread common in Afrikaner cookery. It is either served filled with cooked mince (ground beef) or with syrup, honey, or jam. It is thought to have its origins from the Dutch oliebollen, which date from the time of the migration period. The word “vetkoek” literally means “fat cake” in Afrikaans or “fat cookie” in Dutch. It is similar in shape to a doughnut without a hole, and is made from flour, salt and yeast. Dough is rolled into a ball then deep fried. In a traditional South African braai, or barbecue, vetkoek may be served alongside boerewors.

Similar to a vetkoek, the amagwinya is a popular meal for many people living in townships. The term amagwinya originates from the historically Black townships of Gauteng in South Africa. Amagwinya differ from the vetkoek in that amagwinya 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. The popularity of this food item is evidenced by the many spaza shops, hawkers at taxi ranks, roadside vendors, and fast food shops in the  townships who sell this food.

Traditional vetkoek is made from yeast, but this quick and easy vetkoek recipe uses cake flour and baking powder as the raising agent.

Makes 12


140 g / 1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg, well beaten
125 ml / 1/2 cup milk
Oil for frying


Sift the dry ingredients together
Add the egg and mix well
Pour in the milk and mix to make a batter
Heat the oil
Drop the batter by spoonful into the hot oil and brown on all sides
Serve with butter and honey or cut open and fill with curried mince