How to Make South African Vetkoek




Introduction: How to Make South African Vetkoek

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Vetkoek (pronounced Fet-cook and literally meaning fat cake, fat cookie or fatty cake) is another traditional South African dish. It is very easy to make. It is bread dough deep-fried in oil. It can be eat just as it is, with butter and jam, or cheese but can be filled with savoury or curried mince, biltong or anything else you think would taste wonderful.

A vetkoek is made from flour, salt and yeast. The dough is then rolled into a ball, deep fried and filled with something. It is normally eaten with butter, filled with jam or a savory filling. If you still don't know what vetkoek is, it is basically deep-fried bread that is shaped like a hamburger bun.

In a traditional South African braai, vetkoek may be served alongside boerewors, which is a South African sausage. Wash everything well before use. The normal food preparation hygiene rules apply.

Step 1: A Typical Recipe for Vetkoek

The Ingredients for vetkoek are:

7 Cups of all purpose Flour
2 teaspoons of Salt
2 tablespoons of Sugar
1 packet Yeast
Some lukewarm water
Some (+/- 500 ml) of Cooking oil for frying the dough afterwards

You are further going to need:

Sauce/Frying pan or Pot
Dish lined with some absorbent paper to put the vetkoek in
Perforated ladle or spoon for placing the dough in the boiling oil and lifting the vetkoek out.

or ...

You could just buy ready made bread dough at your convenience centre and leave the making of the dough for another day.

Remember that you also need to decide what you are going to put on the vetkoek afterwards. Butter, jam, syrup, savory or curry mince, etc. In this case we are going to do a sweet filling and a savory one.

Step 2: How to Make the Dough

Mix the sugar, yeast and some lukewarm water together and leave to foam.Sift the flour and salt together.Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and knead together.Keep adding a little water and knead until you have the consistency of bread dough.
Leave the dough in the mixing bowl for about 50 minutes and cover the bowl with a cloth.The dough should rise to about double its original size, so make sure you have a big enough mixing bowl.

(You could also just purchase ready made, pre-prepared dough from your local bakery or convenience shop and you should be eating vetkoek within 30 minutes.)

Step 3: How to Make the Vetkoek

Pour the cooking oil into a frying pan or pot to have about 4 to 5 cm (1.5 to 2 inches) of oil deep therein. Heat the oil to about 200°C (375°F). Divide the dough into balls about the size of a tennis ball using a cookie cutter, cup or your hand. Please be very careful around the hot oil. Keep your kids away and no open flames near the oil. Adhere to all safety rules necessary when working in the kitchen, with sharp object or heated oil.

Flatten the dough until it is about 3 centimeters thick and about the size of your palm. Place two or three pieces of the flattened dough at a time into the hot oil to fry. Fry each side until golden brown. This normally takes 2-3 minutes per side.

Serve with savory mince, curry mince, butter, cheese or jam.

Step 4: Making the Mince (ground Beef) Filling


Some mince, mine was 500g of lean mince.
One carrot
One onion
Some sauce, I bought a packet of pasta sauce and followed the instructions.

What you are also going to need is a frying pan / skillet.

Chop the onion up and brown it in the frying pan. Put in the mince and fry it until its all a nice brown. Slice the carrot into the pan, add the sauce and let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes while you make the vetkoeke.

Step 5: Serving the Vetkoek

When the vetkoek are done and have been taken out and put on the paper towel in the receiving dish, let them rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then cut them in half with a sharp knife and put on them whatever you like. Traditionally it would be butter (margarine), jam, syrup or savory/curry mince (ground beef).

Step 6: After Thought

Vetkoek is a wonderful dish. Its quick to prepare if you buy the dough. While the oil heats up, you can prepare the filling. Please be very careful when working with the hot oil. The whole thing, photos and video clips, was recorded with my Samsung Galaxy S cell phone.

For those interested, I let the oil cool down after use. I then poured it through a filter back into the bottle it came in to get an idea of how much is really used. The photos show this result.

Go out and make some vetkoek!

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    Question 4 years ago on Step 5

    What is the yield? Many thanks.


    Question 4 years ago on Introduction

    Can this be made ahead and frozen? Then crisped in the oven?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Ek dink ons moet 'n biltong resep hier insit, en sommer hoe om die droer te


    Reply 4 years ago

    Ek laaik die biltong idee!!! Gaan sommer nou vetkoek maak lol. :)

    Andre Coetzee
    Andre Coetzee

    Reply 5 years ago

    Nou praat jy swaer!


    5 years ago

    Hi , thanks for this or I'd be hungry . To much for 1 sitting but put the dough in the fridge & still as good today as yesterday . Made "pig in the blanket " , cheese & apricot jam the other day . Today cut a big flattish one in 1/2 , some marge a smidgen of "marmite" With a fried egg . Awesome . Thank you .


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Makes me hungry! nom nom nom.
    Fresh warm vetkoek with some butter and biltong is my fav.

    Regarding the vetkoek. I learned that you can add some aniseed to the dough. Makes it 10 times more yummy.

    Njom Njom Njom - Mannemarak, dit lyk lekker. Ek dink Saterdag is vetkoekdag in ons huishouding!!!
    To all other ENGLISH literates (and we love all of you! Well, maybe not ALL, but most! :-) ) This is a dish that is to die for, one bite of this and you will be hooked!
    Well Done, and Thank You , Andre Coetzee!
    Jy's 'n Ster! You're a Star!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Sjoe maar dit lyk lekker! Hoe verlang ek nou huis toe!