I cannot believe 2 years have passed since my time in Cape Town. Crazy. Such great memories, lots of wine tasting, not so much hospital-work, lots of eating, beaching, exploring and more wine tasting. Best. Elective. Ever. My liver must not have been happy. To reminisce, a friend and I got together one evening this past week. We drank wine from the Peter Falke vineyard (in Stellenbosch), which she still had in her cellar from our trip, and made Koeksisters (finally, this had been our plan for the past two years but somehow…..2 years later there we were). Koeksisters are the unhealthiest but most rewarding small spiced balls of fried dough. The first time we ever tasted them was in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of Cape Town, from a small corner shop that sells fresh ones only once or twice a week, usually on a Sunday. They were delish.


A house in Bo Kaap

But just to clarify – there are two types of Koeksisters, the most common ones are shiny braided looking things drenched in syrup or honey, the ones we had in Bo-Kaap which are harder to find, (and tastier in my opinion) are of malay origin. An essential ingredient is ground cardamom, which I knew would be a challenge to find in Switzerland, so a while ago, with this plan on the back of my mind, I seized the opportunity at a local indian shop in Shepherd’s Bush :-). No excuses now – Koeksisters had to be made!! The recipe we used is from a b&b owner we met along the way, so no guarantee for its accuracy – I feel it is more a cross between the shiny braided version and the malay version. In any case, whatever it is we ended up with was tasty 🙂



Makes 20-22 small Koeksisters

You’ll need

For the Dough:
6 Tbsp warm water
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
2 cups All Purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
5 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp butter
For Coating:
1/4 cup icing sugar
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
For Frying:
About 4 cups canola or vegetable oil

  1. Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Place in a warm area for about 10 minutes – the yeast should bubble up.
  2. Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and combine. Beat in egg yolks , mixing well after each addition.
  3. Heat the butter and milk together until the butter has melted. Pour this mixture into flour mixture and combine. You will end up with a very sticky dough. Cover bowl with damp cloth and leave for about 40 minutes or as long as it takes for the dough to double in size.
  4. Once risen, punch down the dough and divide into 20 ping-pong size balls. Arrange on a baking sheet and leave in a warm place to rise for about 20 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the coating and set aside.
  6. Heat oil over medium heat and fry the dough balls till golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per koesister. Do not let the oil get too hot, or else the koesisters will burn and the insides will not cook through.
  7. Once fried, remove using a slotted spoon, quickly blot with kitchen paper and generously roll in the coating sugar mixture. ENJOY.

Rating: 7/10

Not going to give a high high score as I don’t actually have a direct comparison (sadly, my taste buds cannot exactly remember what the ones 2 years were like). Also, I’m not South African, so not in a position to judge/give full marks :-).


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