Vetkoek translate literally to fat cake and are a yeasted dough bread. The dough is deep-fried and served in two ways. Either with curried mince or with apricot jam. This is South African street food at its simplest.
Dave and I were watching a television show where the British Telecom Tower was mentioned. It was noted that the tower itself was top-secret which I found quite amusing. This building is 191 meters high which is approximately 57 story’s. Due to its protection by the Official Secrets Act it did not appear on many ordnance survey maps. And I gather that because of this, you were not meant to notice the building. Neither were you allowed to take photographs of the round tower. I can only wonder what would happen to a tourist if they did so? This tower formed a chain of communication structures across which top-secret information was transmitted. From 1962 to 1980 this was the tallest building in London. If that was not enough to make it visible, it also housed a restaurant.
This revolving eatery was on the 34th floor and was well frequented. I thought it would be interesting to share this with you as I found it fascinating. Today’s recipe is about sharing part of my South African heritage. I am collaborating on a book where I will be providing local recipes. I was specifically asked for baking recipes, but to me vetkoek and curried mince are as traditional as koeksisters and melk tert. For sure these would have been brought to the country by the Dutch settlers. Oliebollen are Dutch doughnuts very similar to our fried dough bread. You will find them served at a braai (BBQ), at festivals and by road side vendors. Be sure to look out for them in spaza shops if you visit South Africa.
Click on the links for conversions and notes.
- 250g flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1.25mls salt
- 2.5mls fructose
- 16g butter
- 2.5mls instant dry yeast
- 185mls water
- Canola oil for frying and for greasing
- Place the flour, salt and fructose into a stand mixer bowl
- Rub the butter in to the flour, using your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs
- Add the yeast and using the dough hook, give it a quick mix
- Add the water and start kneading on a slow speed until a dough forms
- Continue kneading for 10 minutes
- Cover and set aside to prove until doubled in size
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knock back the dough
- Divide into 8 pieces, weighing approximately 50g each, and roll into balls
- Place each one onto a floured baking tray, leaving enough space for them to rise
- Cover with lightly oiled cling film and set aside for 30 minutes
- Place enough oil into a wok (or sauce pan) so that it will come half way up the vetkoek
- Heat over a medium to high temperature
- Lightly dust the top of the vetkoek with flour and then gently drop one ball into the oil
- When it is golden brown on one side, flip it over and then add the second ball
- Remove the first ball and set aside to drain on kitchen towel
- Continue with this frying process until all your vetkoek have been cooked