Koeksisters Spiced With Cardamom

Koeksisters are a traditional confectionary of the Afrikaans community in South Africa. It is made from braided dough that is fried and then dipped in syrup. A koesister is a Cape Malay treat of yeasted dough that is also deep-fried. Influenced by Indian cuisine they make use of spices such as cinnamon, aniseed, ginger and cardamom as well as dried tangerine skin powder. These too are dipped in syrup and then coated in desiccated coconut. I have used influences from the Malays to make my version of a koeksister.

Head straight on to the Recipe For Koeksisters ♥

Eavesdrop – verb – secretly listen to a conversation. I love reading about the etymology of words. You can learn so many interesting facts about their origin. And how the meanings may have changed over time. ‘Eavesdrop’ is from the early 17th century. It is the back-formation from eavesdropper (late Middle English) ‘a person who listens from under the eaves’. The Friday before our first endurance race I had a conversation with Dave. No-one was there to monitor it, and the discussion we had was resolved with a rule being issued for our racing. I did not agree with the rule, but we knew we had to work with it. On the Saturday when the rule was waived for one team, I continued the conversation with Dave. The first third of that talk was not overheard by anyone, but the last two-thirds were. And the result was not pleasant.

Today’s inspiration ♥ Recipe For Koeksisters ♥ can be found on Lavender and Lime Share on X

My words were twisted into something I had not said. And my point was clearly lost as part of the conversation was totally private. This act of spying resulted in an aggressive verbal attack I did not expect. Or see coming! And it upset me a lot. At first I was not concerned that the rule had been broken. I was trying to use the instance as an example as to why the rule should not have been made. But the person who was involved from the other side totally misconstrued what I had said. I am not sure how to deal with this situation. But I am sure how to deal with these twisted treats. Eat them all! These were perfectly good in both taste and texture and in my mind it was the syrup that made them so.


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5 from 2 votes


These traditonal Afrikaans treats have been spiced up with some Cape Malay influences
Recipe Category: Baking
Makes enough for: 1 batch Koeksisters
All Rights Reserved: an original recipe from Lavender and Lime


For the dough

  • 240 g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 20 mls baking powder
  • 2.5 mls salt
  • 10 mls ground cardamom
  • 24 g butter
  • 130 mls buttermilk

For the syrup

  • 250 g coconut sugar
  • 125 mls water
  • A pinch of cream of tartar
  • A pinch of salt
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 2.5 cm fresh root ginger, peeled and thickly sliced

For the koeksisters

  • Canola oil for frying


For the dough

  • Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and rub in the butter
  • Add the buttermilk and mix to create a soft dough
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes
  • Place into the bowl and set aside while you make the syrup

For the syrup

  • Place the sugar, water, cream of tartar, salt, lime zest and juice into a large saucepan
  • Place onto a medium temperature and stir until the sugar dissolves
  • Bring to a simmer and then cook for 2 minutes
  • Remove from the heat and place into the fridge to cool

For the koeksisters

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4
  • Roll each piece into a sausage shape, 1mm thick
  • Cut into 15cm long strips and using 3 strips, make a plait, making sure to press the strips together firmly at both ends
  • Do this until you have used all of the dough *
  • When the syrup is cold heat the oil for frying
  • Fry one koeksister at a time - when it is golden brown all over, remove from the oil, drain and place into the syrup straight away
  • When the koeksister is nice and syrupy remove and set aside to cool down on a wire rack


* if you have any small amounts left over just roll them into balls
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime March 16:

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21 thoughts on “Koeksisters Spiced With Cardamom

  1. I’ve only ever really bought koeksisters for Pete, they are too sweet for my tooth.
    Have a super weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  2. That sounds unfortunate and unpleasant, Tandy. I am sorry that happened. A super recipe. Charlize Theron is now putting out a cookbook it seems.

  3. That sounds very upsetting Tandy! Sorry to hear that. As for these, I was lucky enough to try some in South Africa and also in Bellingen, a town in Northern NSW and they are delicious. Thank you for the recipe 😀

  4. 5 stars
    These look so delicious Tandy. I’m not familiar with them at all. I love learning about traditional South African food.

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